Building Contact Centre Compliance
Author: Simon Black | Date: 28/10/2022
In an increasingly competitive landscape, contact centres play a central role in boosting customer satisfaction and retention. For example, did you know that 89% of customers are likely to make another purchase after a positive customer service experience?1
But for contact centres, keeping customers happy is just one of the problems they face. In addition to a swift and friendly service, customer support agents must ensure that they adhere to strict compliance standards.
For those that can’t, there are numerous negative repercussions — everything from heavy fines to reputational damage that can have a long-term impact on their business.
In this article, we’ll explain what compliance involves for contact centres — and how you can best ensure adherence across your customer support team. Let’s dive straight in.
Suggested reading: Learn more about ensuring your contact centre provides outstanding customer service in our free eBook — Your Contact Centre Could Operate Better. A Lot Better
What is compliance in the contact centre?
Compliance is a serious matter in any sector. For a business to survive and thrive, it needs to be able to play by the rules.
In the world of customer support, staying compliant comes with its own unique challenges. To keep on the right side of regulations, contact centres must:
- Protect customers’ sensitive data while also making it available to the right people at the right time.
- Provide a friendly and efficient service while often delivering lengthy compliance scripts.
- Ensure that agents are trained to handle ever-changing compliance requirements in what is already a high-pressure job.
Managing all of the above while also keeping customers happy and delivering positive outcomes is a tough task.
Important compliance regulations
There are various compliance regulations that contact centres must adhere to. In this section, we’ll highlight three key examples that contact centre managers and team leaders should be aware of.
Protecting credit card information
Contact centre agents regularly deal with payment issues such as refunds and blocked transactions, all of which may require customers to pass on sensitive information relating to credit cards.
Naturally, there are international compliance standards in place to ensure that payment card data is protected at all times. These are known as the Payment and Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) and are overseen by the PCI Security Standards Council (PCI SSC).
PCI DSS compliance involves adherence to 12 requirements, covering a range of technical and operational matters, and companies are required to undergo a compliance audit once a year. Failure to adhere to PCI DSS compliance can result in severe financial penalties and reputational damage that is hard to recover from.
Protecting customer data
Data protection is another critical area of compliance to get right. Ultimately, customers need to know that if they give you their data, you will use it responsibly and fairly.
It’s a matter of trust, and businesses that fail to adhere to data protection legislation will struggle to regain their customers’ loyalty.
In the UK, data protection regulations are set out in the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA 2018) as well as the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR).2 To make matters more complicated, businesses that operate in or sell to customers based in other countries will likely have to adhere to their particular data protection regulations as well.
Noise at work regulations
Call centres are also responsible for ensuring that employees’ hearing is protected at all times in the workplace.
In the UK, the requirements for this are set out in the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005, which requires employers to:
- Assess the risk to their employees’ health if noise levels reach 80 dB(A).
- Provide protective equipment if noise levels reach 85 dB(A).
- Ensure that employees are never exposed to noise exceeding 87 dB(A).3
Where the first two regulations are all about protecting customers, this one focuses on the well-being and safety of employees in the workplace, with heavy fines in place for businesses that fail to adhere.
How to ensure contact centre compliance
With so many requirements to understand and meet, how do you ensure that your contact centre remains compliant at all times?
In this section, we’ll look at two of the specific strategies that you can implement to safeguard your customers, employees, and business.
Implement comprehensive agent training procedures
Comprehensive training is perhaps the most obvious way to ensure compliance throughout your contact centre. By providing your agents with a solid understanding of the importance of compliance and the standards they must adhere to, you reduce the risk of breaches and mistakes.
Ideally, new-starter training should include a module dedicated to compliance, with regular updates for all staff as standards and requirements change. In addition, there are several ways you can build a compliant workforce:
- Ensure that managers keep up to date with the latest changes in laws and regulations. If they aren’t sure how to stay on the right side of regulation, how can they expect their agents to?
- Appoint mentors with a solid track record to train new hires on compliance best practices.
- Bring in external experts who specialise in compliance monitoring to carry out internal audits.
- Recognise and reward employees who demonstrate outstanding performance in relation to compliance. This will help motivate your team to do the same.
- Train managers and agents to be vigilant at all times and spot compliance red flags in their colleagues and work surroundings.
Deploy the latest contact centre technology
To ensure compliance at all times, contact centre managers must be able to monitor activity. But manually tracking every aspect of a contact centre simply isn’t feasible. This is where technology can help.
Modern technology has the ability to keep track of all contact centre activity all the time — every call, message, and process — while ensuring that employees are supported to take the right actions at the right time. Here are some examples:
- Speech analytics: By analysing the words contact centre agents use, speech analytics can flag instances of suspected non-compliance and notify managers in real-time, allowing them to take swift action to rectify the situation. This process also helps managers to identify areas where agents may need additional training or support.
- Intelligent scripting: Contact centre scripts help agents remain compliant by guiding them through interactions and advising them on the next best step to take. Besides ensuring call centre compliance, scripts also help simplify training while providing better employee and customer experiences.
While old-school training offers a solid foundation of knowledge, it can never eliminate human error or lapses in concentration. This is why technology is so powerful. By not only monitoring but supporting all employees in real-time, the right contact centre tech vastly reduces the risk of compliance breaches.
Manage compliance procedures in your contact centre
Ensuring compliance at all times across a busy call centre is a tough job. But with the right technology, you can guarantee that standards are met, activity is monitored, and agents are supported to work in line with the latest regulations.
For this to work, it’s important that you partner with the right technology provider — one that understands the needs of contact centres and has the features you need to deliver the best possible service.
At Awaken, this is exactly what we offer. With decades of contact centre experience among our leadership team, we know what your employees, customers, and business need to succeed.
Whether it’s detecting when PCI DSS processes are not being followed or guiding call centre agents safely through complex processes, our platform can help you ensure compliance at the highest standards, with breach and fraud alerts that protect your brand reputation and remove the risk of heavy financial penalties.
If you’d like to find out more about how Awaken could transform the way your contact centre functions, get in touch with us today and book a demo.