Just How Important Is Compliance in the Call Center?

Contact Center compliance
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Federal regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) all have different rules and guidelines that agencies are expected to be in compliance with at all times. Many individual states have their own compliance requirements and international business may have to adhere to regulations set forth foreign governments.  Failing to adhere to one or more of these laws can result in a hefty fine, so call centers are doing everything they can to ensure call compliance from top to bottom.

Technology and people have to act in compliance at all times

For instance, collections agencies are mandated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding the times and frequencies they are allowed to attempt a collection. In many instances, it takes numerous attempts to reach the consumer, and the collector also contends with factors such as busy signals or answering machines. But collections agencies can’t just dump their call lists into an automated system and hope for the best. Capital One, for instance, made was caught placing debt collection calls to about 21 million cell phones without first obtaining the necessary consent. Now, the company has agreed to a settlement of $75.5 million for violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) of 1991. If your technology isn’t set up properly with updated DNC lists, call time windows and so forth than you technology could actually get you in trouble!

A collections agent is prohibited by law from providing false or harassing statements, so a call scripting system supplies correct scenarios for the agent to set up payment plans or discuss different payment options, initiate payment reminders or establish automatic payments while using compliant language Meanwhile, a call recording system allows the screen and call to be recorded ensure agents were compliant with federal collections laws should an audit ever be done. There were over 11,000 FDCPA lawsuits filed by consumers in 2011 according to WebRecon. Every call needs to be monitored to identify any compliance risks based on content of the conversation. Real-time alerting systems can guide the agent through a call, as well as give supervisors the chance immediately intervene when complaisance issues arise.

Many call centers, including collections agencies and those that process payments for retailers, are struggling to remain compliant with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), which requires file encryption, secure storage of data and the mandatory deletion of specifically sensitive information such as the credit card security code. According to the PCI Security Standards Council, recorded calls are subject to the same rules as any other method of capturing and storing customer card authentication data. Some call recording systems provide allow agents to pause the recording when credit card numbers are spoken. This way the call recording system has no record of that credit card on file, keeping the contact center compliant, while still keeping the main body of the call recorded for future reference.

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