Many decisions made within companies come down to the question of risk vs. reward. While taking some risks may bring a company an extreme competitive advantage or a much larger sales quarter, other risks are simply not worth the threats or detriments they may bring.
When it comes to managing your company’s call center, disregarding regulatory and brand compliance is one of those risks you shouldn’t take.
Compliance challenges in call centers
Nowadays—especially during a time of financial crisis—companies may have their call centers open 24/7, manned with hundreds or thousands of agents at a time, all over the world. The challenge with this is making sure those hundreds or thousands of people do and say the right thing, every time to ensure regulatory and brand compliance.
Some of the largest compliance issues within call centers stem from the turnover of employees and the lack of accountability in training and oversight on the company’s part. If an organization is lacking in agent training or monitoring, that’s where the risks arise.
Typically, a company will hire new agents and put them through an intense training program to get them up to speed on the company’s product or service, the technology used, and the script they should stick to while speaking with consumers.
However, as a new agent is thrown onto the floor, even the best training can seemingly start to crumble as reality sets in—dealing with difficult customers or facing situations that weren’t covered in training often have reps trying to figure out what to do. Many turn to a more experienced rep who offers guidance, who may not always stick to the corporate script —“this is what you say, instead.”
That "wisdom" the seasoned agent spreads can end up becoming common practice throughout the call center. If your organization does not have a way to monitor for those going off script, you could find that language proliferating quickly and spreading potential compliance issues.
In a majority of call centers, it’s not that these agents have poor intentions or feel they get more out of exaggerating or pushing the customer over the phone, but more so that they don’t understand the threat of non-compliance and what it can truly mean for the agent, the company, and the consumer.
Consequences of non-compliance
The cost of non-compliance can be extremely high from both a monetary and reputational standpoint.
On the regulatory side of things, failure to comply with the government’s laws and guidelines could lead to some hefty fines from the regulators (like Dish Network’s record-breaking $280 million fine back in 2017), specifically from the FTC who focuses heavily on TCPA, the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR), the Do Not Call registry, and robocalls.
On top of this, agents who habitually fail to make proper disclosures (like Mini Mirandas), omit critical script elements (such as Customer Identification Program), or engage in any misleading, deceptive, or abusive practices are a huge liability to your organization and increase your compliance risk tenfold.
Not only are these monetary penalties devastating to your organization’s bottom line, but they can lead to reputational damage as well. Once your organization is hit with these fines, consumers may be wary to do business with you and have a hard time trusting you. Especially when it comes to their finances, consumers want to work with those who they can trust to have their best interest in mind.
Even further, agents that fail to adhere to their scripts could harm your customer service initiatives. If they are not taking care of requests properly, are rude, or are just not equipped to handle certain situations, it could lead to frustrated and angry customers. These customers could then share their negative experiences online, on social media, with their friends, etc., all of which leads to even more reputational damage.
Compliance is good business
Call centers are always going to be an essential part of business and are necessary functions that help drive business in a way that other departments can't.
It’s worth it upfront to be diligent in developing a strong compliance program. Not only will it potentially save your organization a lot of money on possible penalties and remittance, but will lead to increased sales, conversions, customer satisfaction, and brand reputation.
A good compliance program in your call center should include (but not limited to):
- A strong culture of compliance established by top management and reinforced by middle management
- A system in place to continuously review calls for any instances of non-compliance (such as script adherence, making proper disclosures, using deceptive or abusive language, etc)
- Continuous training of agents to keep them performing their best
Learn more about building a strong compliance management program (in your call centers and beyond) from Rich Cordray, former Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) here.
Automate compliance in your call center
Implementing an automatic monitoring system in your call center can help take the burden off of supervisors for manual review and at the same time provide deep insights into your agents’ performance.
Technologies like PerformLine automatically review and score calls for both compliance AND performance, and create structured data around these that can be used to improve rep training and share best practices across the organization. An automated monitoring system has the power to discover your call center’s agents' best and worst practices in a way that manual QA review simply cannot.
Speak to one of our experts today and learn how PerformLine can help you optimize your call center performance and compliance.