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Article : Contact Centre Legislation Update for 2004 - Keeping Your Contact Centre Legal is not Enough

When ContactCenterWorld.com previously highlighted the legislation issues surrounding contact centres we looked at some of the directives, regulations, codes of practice and guidelines in place in the United Kingdom.

What Has Changed In The Past Few Months?
As forecast in that earlier article, at the formal, technical level a number of new regulations have come into force. Most notably for mixed media marketers, the Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications came into force placing strict limits on e-mail and SMS marketing. A further change is that the duties of one key regulatory body – Office of Telecommunications (OFTEL) - have now been inherited OFCOM – the Office of Communications. There has been change but if your contact centre was legal last year it is probably legal now; but it might not be next month!

More significantly there is growing awareness amongst consumers of compliance issues and increasing calls from the press and broadcast media for stronger enforcement.

Do Not Call Lists And The Consumer
The UK's Telephone Preference Service is designed to protect consumers from unsolicited calls. Increasing promotion of this facility as a method of preventing nuisance/silent calls facility to consumers has, naturally, led to an increasing membership of the Do Not Call list. In turn this is leading to a diminishing population of available telemarketing targets; according to the Direct Marketing Association there are over 3.5 million consumers registered with the Telephone Preference Service.

The key driver for consumer Telephone Preference Service registration is silent calls. Rostrvm Solutions believes that a silent call is not just a statistic to be monitored and managed. A silent call impacts an individual. Our dialling solution conforms to all the guidelines, but perhaps more importantly, our dialler is simply one element of an integrated contact handling solution delivering a holistic, personalised customer service.

If our dialler generates a nuisance call then, if the consumer calls back, our inbound call handling can identify the caller and ensure that the agent who answers is informed and able to handle the call sympathetically.

Do Not Call Lists And Businesses
As forecast in last year's article we anticipated extension of do-not-call/Telephone Preference Services to include corporate bodies as well as consumers. The regulations have yet to be finalised but, according to the Information Commissioner, will be put in place over the next month (May 2004). This will clearly impact business-to-business marketing and will require a systems-based approach to ensure compliance by all contact centres.

The Offshore Debate
The role of legislation has also come into play in the offshore call centre debate. Over the past few months the debate has raged about the benefits to consumers of delivering contact centre services offshore.

The bulk of the debate has centred on consumer perception. However from a legislative perspective the issue of conformance to the UK's Data Protection Act and other regulatory considerations have been strongly raised. Watch this space!

The Multimedia Challenge
Text-based communication, and particularly email, is increasingly important in the contact centre communications mix. And emails fall into a legislative black hole; when is an email legally binding?

In all practical senses the legality of an email is almost irrelevant. If your call centre agent sends an email to a customer then it needs to be both legal and consistent with best practice.

Rostrvm Solutions has partnered with Smart Analytics to integrate the SmartAgent email automation system in a holistic contact centre environment. SmartAgent is able to reliably decide on the nature of the incoming enquiry and initiate an appropriate, consistent response or workflow.

Looking Forward
Legislation to protect consumers and businesses is on the increase. In parallel your customers will expect ever-faster responses from you contact centre across an increasing range of media.

Clearly call centres must continually monitor processes and training to ensure compliance, but at the same time you should ensure that your technology infrastructure supports you.

  • Can you track all of the interactions with your customers?

  • How do you comply with current and future 'Do Not Call' guidance?

  • If you use automated diallers how do you manage nuisance calls?

  • How do you achieve consistency?

  • What will happen if you don't focus on these issues?

The last point is easily predicted… at the moment, whilst there is a plethora of regulations and guidelines, UK call centres are in practice operating in self-regulated environment. But if we don't deploy best practice and the right processes supported by the right technology the regulators have the power to make life difficult.


About Ken Reid:
Ken Reid is Rostrvm Solutions’ Marketing Director. Before joining Rostrvm he was a founder and director of Optium, the UK call centre consultancy.

About IMImobile:
Company LogoIMImobile is a cloud communications software and solutions provider that enables companies to harness mobile and digital technologies to better communicate and engage with their customers. Organisations that trust us to deliver smarter digital customer engagement solutions include Vodafone Group, O2, Telefonica, Aircel, Airtel, EE, AT
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Today's Tip of the Day - Disability Laws

Read today's tip or listen to it on podcast.

Published: Wednesday, May 5, 2004

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2024 Buyers Guide Business Continuity

 
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This simple approach means the customer effectively types their own payment information into the agent’s payment screen, but with the card details being shielded from the agent’s view. It’s simple, and highly effective.

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CCaaSSync – Contact Center Disaster Recovery Solution
CCaaSSync is a comprehensive solution to help businesses prepare for unforeseen disasters that may impact their Genesys cloud contact center infrastructure. Our disaster recovery solution ensures that your business remains operational and continues to provide seamless customer service even in the event of catastrophic failure of your primary infrastructure.

Our disaster recovery solution is a cloud-based service that allows you to synchronize your primary Genesys cloud contact center infrastructure with your disaster recovery Genesys cloud contact center infrastructure, allowing you to quickly and easily switch over to the backup infrastructure in the event of a disaster. This ensures tha...
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VADS Business Continuity Plan
VADS provides a business continuity plan by providing full outsource services and manage services. we've provided this to several clients. You can contact us for a detailed study case.
 

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