The ever-evolving world of regulatory compliance is complex at the best of times, even for organizations with vast resources.
It becomes even more complex as businesses continue to transform their customer service—and their contact centre operations in particular—to meet new digital-first, cloud-based realities.
As a result, call centre compliance today requires businesses to choose their partners thoughtfully and ensure the vendors they work with don’t negatively impact security.
To avoid call centre compliance issues, leaders must choose their cloud software carefully. That means selecting vendors committed to maintaining compliance standards through customer privacy and data security.
In addition, compliance requires an ongoing commitment of resources and time to stay on top of regulatory changes.
The Basics of Call Centre Compliance
Call centre compliance means a company adheres to the rules relating to consumer data and privacy set by regulatory organizations.
Contact centres must comply with guidelines laid out by a wide range of regulatory bodies, so the rules around collecting and using data vary based on companies’ customers, industry and location.
This includes adherence to Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance, which protects cash, credit and debit card transactions and the misuse of cardholders’ data.
Contact centre leaders must strategically manage the data that flows in and out of their call centre to achieve compliance.
That means following regulatory guidelines at every step, including when a company receives, collects and stores sensitive information.
Getting this right can help businesses strengthen customer trust, increase revenue and build their reputation with consumers.
However, failing to adhere to these guidelines can result in heavy fines and penalties, significant brand reputation damage and even criminal prosecution.
call centre compliance depends on various factors, some of which affect nearly every contact centre, and others which only apply to businesses in specific industries or locations. call centre compliance regulations include:
The Dodd-Frank Act
The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act requires contact centres to record all phone conversations with customers.
These conversations must be saved with a timestamp and date that makes them easily discoverable. The act was written to target issues that led to the financial crisis in 2008 and aims to prevent risky economic activities and protect consumers against practices like predatory lending.
National Do Not Call Registry
The Do Not Call Registry (DNCR) enables consumers to opt out of phone or telemarketing calls from contact centres. Failing to comply with consumers’ opt-out requests can result in hefty fines.
The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) imposes data privacy and security regulations on any company that targets or collects data related to people based in the EU.
Under the law, companies collecting and processing data must abide by seven accountability and protection principles to ensure accountability, data confidentiality, fairness, integrity and transparency.
The regulation, which took effect in May 2018, levies harsh punishments against businesses that violate its standards, with maximum fines of €20 million or 4% of global revenue, whichever is higher.
Contact centres operating in the healthcare industry must adhere to the guidelines set out by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
The act restricts the use and sharing of personal health data and requires businesses to secure and encrypt consumer data where needed.
Call centre PCI compliance aims to ensure the security of the credit card ecosystem, which includes computers, eCommerce applications, mobile devices, point-of-sale systems, servers and wireless hotspots.
Securing this relies on meeting multiple requirements that cover a company’s use of antivirus software, data access, encryption, firewalls and network monitoring.
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) restricts telemarketing and automated phone equipment use.
The act was introduced in 1991 amid the rise of unregulated telemarketing calls and faxes and made consumer consent a primary focus for companies that communicate directly with customers.
It ensures companies adhere to strict rules around solicitation in line with the DNCR, allowing customers to sue in certain cases.
The Role of Compliance in Call Centres
Call centre compliance is crucial to the success of a contact centre. Complying with various compliance regulations, including those listed above, is vital to maintaining customer satisfaction and securing sensitive data.
To achieve this, contact centre leaders must create a call centre compliance checklist that includes everything from cutting-edge technologies to employee training.
Creating and Implementing a Compliance Checklist
A call centre compliance checklist can help companies monitor the various rules and regulations they need to adhere to. And, depending on the industry and size of the company, this checklist may include a wide range of steps.
Assessing Your Compliance Needs
Your call centre compliance checklist should assess the specific needs of your business. This will depend on factors like the industry your company operates in, the size of your business, the geographical locations you operate in and have customers in and the specific needs of your customers.
It may also depend on how your call agents contact customers, be it via phone calls, chat functions or email, and the processes you already have to secure customer data.
Key Elements to Include
With that in mind, your call centre compliance checklist needs to cover the following critical elements:
Ensuring Data Security:
Maintaining the security and privacy of consumer data is vital for any call centre compliance checklist. This includes implementing network security technologies like antivirus, anti-malware and firewall software and regularly testing them to discover and mitigate potential vulnerabilities.
It also includes verifying the methods used to store information and ensure data sovereignty.
Protecting Financial Information:
Any organization that takes payments or records customers’ financial data must secure that information.
For example, it’s critical to have processes in place to encrypt credit card and payment information to adhere to PCI compliance guidelines.
It’s also crucial to abide by the rules around communication and telemarketing regulations. That includes deleting phone numbers belonging to people who’ve requested not to be contacted or are listed on the DNCR.
In addition to putting processes and new technologies in place, ensuring employees understand their compliance requirements is vital.
Call agents must be trained on the company’s new compliance standards and communication and telemarketing guidelines.
Tailoring Your Checklist to Your Industry
Some call centre compliance requirements are only relevant to companies in specific industries. For example, a legal firm doesn’t need to concern itself with the ins and outs of HIPAA, but both will need to abide by GDPR if they operate in or have customers in Europe.
So, your call centre compliance checklist needs to be tailored to the specific industry you work in and the regulations that govern that sector.
Identifying and Addressing Compliance Challenges
With that checklist formulated, you can begin addressing your compliance requirements. But to do that, it’s critical to consider some of the most common compliance challenges businesses face.
Top Compliance Issues in Call Centres
Some of the most significant compliance issues that contact centres encounter include:
Financial Data Loss:
The loss of customers’ financial data can be catastrophic, helping hackers clone credit cards or commit crimes like identity theft. PCI compliance is critical to preventing call centres from retaining sensitive financial data like PIN numbers, magnetic stripe data or CVV2 codes.
The PCI Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) prevents companies from capturing credit or debit card information in its entirety, which lessens the damage if a security risk was to occur.
Recording Calls Without Consent:
Companies must obtain customer consent before carrying out call centre compliance monitoring or recording conversations.
Be it incoming or outgoing calls, the contact centre must tell customers their call will be recorded and give them the option to opt-out.
Violating Dialing Restrictions:
Consumers now have greater control over who can contact them thanks to regulations like the TCPA and the DNCR.
Specifically, the TCPA outlines that customers can withdraw consent at any time, restricts automatic dialers, limits interactions to between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. and prohibits using artificial intelligence and pre-recorded telemarketing calls.
Exposing Health Data:
Acts like HIPAA exist to prevent healthcare firms from exposing patients’ sensitive health data. HIPAA compliance relies on increased network security and greater control over network and data access.
Network Security Errors:
Network security is crucial to maintaining call centre compliance and protecting sensitive customer and financial data.
Companies should look to security technologies like firewalls, anti-malware and anti-virus, encryption and network monitoring and regularly test them to protect their network.
Failing to Follow Regulatory Requirements
It’s critical for call centres to comply with the various regulations that affect them, be it industry-based or geographical. For example, under GDPR, companies must explicitly receive user consent and provide valid reasons for recording calls. Failing to follow GDPR rules can result in significant fines and penalties.
4 Effective Compliance Monitoring Strategies
To avoid the pitfalls of call centre compliance failure, you should look to new technologies and best practices that simplify the process. These include strategies like:
Many organizations struggle to deliver the user experience their customers expect with the tools and resources available.
But call centre automation and artificial intelligence (AI) enable you to connect with customers, continuously improve processes and empower employees to deliver world-class customer experience.
Embedding automation into your contact centre compliance process can not only help you eliminate agent-related compliance errors; it can also simplify your self-service experience, dramatically reduce call times and eliminate frustrating hold queues.
Pairing automation with conversational AI unlocks a host of advanced benefits that can drive business outcomes, including call centre compliance.
Conversational AI can analyze calls for compliance issues in real-time, flagging compliance-related keywords and prompting agents to make required disclosures and/or take additional actions if compliance requirements are not met.
Call agents should receive regular, hands-on training to understand and keep pace with relevant regulatory requirements, call centre policies and best practices.
Regular workshops should cover communication guidelines and relevant compliance needs to ensure all employees understand the importance of complying with various regulations.
Use a CRM:
Customer relationship management tools (CRMs) can help contact centre leaders manage and maintain call centre compliance.
They are effective for securely managing and recording customer data in line with regulatory requirements, but also help to automate processes that enhance customer service.
Most CRMs are also designed to help you meet regulatory compliance guidelines, making them vital to managing data security.
Delight Customers While Maintaining Compliance
Delivering a customer experience that users love while maintaining strict data security and call centre compliance may sound challenging, but new technologies and approaches can help you easily transform your contact centre processes, empower your call agents and negate any call centre compliance issues.
The approach you take will depend on the jurisdiction your business is in and the sector-specific rules it must abide by. However, all contact centre leaders can achieve optimal efficiency and increase customer satisfaction with tools like automation and conversational AI.
Find out more and discover a few top tips in our guide to best practices for call centre monitoring.This blog post has been re-published by kind permission of Uniphore – View the Original Article
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Call Centre Helper is not responsible for the content of these guest blog posts. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of Call Centre Helper.