Meeting customer and regulatory expectations in contact centres

Like any business, contact centres have specific regulations and expectations to adhere to, from both a legal and a customer service perspective.‘Compliance’ is a broad term for the various regulations that affect businesses, such as health and safety, corrupt practices and social responsibility, and it is essential that these are upheld so thatboth businesses and their employees are protected from legal threats.

Contact centres have numerous regulations to consider, and these can differ depending on the companies’ industry. For example, some have to comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), an information security standard for organisations that handle branded credit cards. The ‘Do Not Call’ list is something else to be aware of. This gives consumers the opportunity to opt out of receiving telemarketing calls and failure to comply can result in fines of over $40,000.

More recently, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was introduced in May 2018. This EU regulation has had a significant impact on contact centres when it comes to the personal information of their customers.

Essentially, under the GDPR, consumers can obtain full access to their data and can request erasure of it at any time. The fines for data breaches are substantial – companies can be fined a maximum of €20 million or 4% of annual worldwide turnover for the previous year, whichever is highest. Therefore, it is important that contact centres are efficient enough to have operations in place so they can meet the various legal expectations, which include processing, tracking and completing any data requests quickly and professionally.

For certain regulations, specific steps can be taken to ensure compliance. For example, if a contact centre intends to accept card payments, which would entail storing, processing and transmitting cardholder data, they need to host that data securely with a PCI-compliant hosting provider.

Another step to consider is having data security audits and risk assessments administered – these will identify and evaluate relevant risks and determine the likelihood of certain scenarios happening. A specialist team will be required to do this – this may seem like a sacrifice in terms of sales performance, but prioritising customer expectations and consent over sales metrics will build a stronger consumer relationship and a more engaged database.

Employees also need to be trained consistently in compliance-related issues; knowledgeable employees who are kept up to speed with new regulations will be able to meet customer expectations to a higher standard. Training agents will also prevent legal action and costly fines, which have a significant effect on efficiency in a contact centre. Due to compliance being a broad topic, there are many areas of training to be covered. This might include:

  • How to deal with consumer requests to access their personal data
  • How to deal with consumer requests to correct personal data errors
  • The consumer’s ‘right to be forgotten’
  • How to gain consent to use consumers’ personal data

Although initial training can take the form of workshops or classroom sessions, the use of a solid reinforcement tool like Wranx can ensure important knowledge is continuously strengthened. This is the basis that Wranx works on – our ‘daily drills’, which are tailored to each organisation’s learning objectives, can be completed in 2–3 minutes a day at agents’ desks or remotely. Wranx training is based around Spaced Repetition, where information is repeatedly exposed to learners at specific intervals – which means vital knowledge is committed to their long-term memory for quick recall when communicating with customers.

In addition to Spaced Repetition training, assessments can also consolidate learning. Using pre and post-assessments establishes both the learner’s baseline knowledge prior to completing their module and their overall progression once the training has finished.

The use of Certainty Based Marking (CBM) assessments is particularly beneficial for embedding compliance knowledge. CBM requires the learner to rate how certain they are that the answer they have given is correct, giving a true indication of workforce ability. This is said to stimulate a higher level of thinking and create more competent workforces, which is essential when dealing with legal regulations. It proved effective for the The North Face® – 80% of learners improved in their CBM score following a month of learning with Wranx, showing that they were more certain of their correct answers.

Meeting customer and regulatory expectations is vital for a contact centre – adhering to regulations not only reduces the chance of substantial fines, but it creates an efficient working environment. From a customer perspective, if expectations surrounding sensitive topics, such as personal data, are met quickly and competently, this builds a strong relationship and trust in the company, which will create repeat business.

Due to the erratic nature of legal regulations, it is important to run regular risk and security assessments within the contact centre to ensure operations are running smoothly and agents are performing their roles correctly. Continuous training can reinforce an employee’s knowledge and CBM assessments can help increase employee competence, which results in them feeling more confident in their own knowledge when providing excellent customer service and navigating the minefield of regulatory compliance.

Written by: Persia Shahkarami

Published: 15 Jun, 2022