Contact Center

In-depth Guide: Call Center Compliance Challenges, Standards & Best Practices

Abhishikha Chatterjee
November 23, 2022
8
 mins read

Last modified on

August 2, 2023
Certain states in the US have restricted Do Not Call (DNC) dates. Telemarketers calling on those dates commit a potential state violation and invite unprecedented punishments to the organization. 

Call centers are an easy target of violations and malicious activities. 

Some organizations regularly intercept and process essential, sensitive customer data across industries. In some cases, the call center agent readily break rules to meet targets faster. 

Internal and external on the call centers are widespread and increases with technology strengthening. 

This is why Governments and regulatory agencies have developed call center regulatory compliance rules for businesses to protect consumer data and remain fair and equitable. Call centers can leverage this and design internal policies. Thus, following specific compliance requirements to manage sensitive customer information and avoid call center violations.

This article will cover an in-depth understanding of call center compliance, significant challenges & the best practices to tackle them. Also, keep a lookout for our FREE speech analytics evaluation checklist in this blog.

  1. What is Call Center Compliance?
  2. Role of Compliance in Call Centers
  3. Call Center Compliance Challenges 
  • ~~Monitoring Calls Without Consent
  • ~~Inappropriate Recording of Payment Information
  • ~~Failing to Comply With HIPAA Rules
  1. Call Center Compliance Checklist: Best Practices
  • ~~Secure Your Network
  • ~~Perform Audits
  • ~~Authenticate Customers
  • ~~Provide Mandatory Disclosers
  • ~~Adhere to TCPA Regulations
  • ~~Manage Sensitive Information
  • ~~Offer Ongoing Training

What is Call Center Compliance(Meaning)?

Call compliance in a contact center is the strict adherence to the rules set by a regulatory body or an organization. These rules may be internal or external, or a mix of both, formed by a regulatory body. 

Call center compliance laws can differ in different countries. For instance, the restricted DNC dates in the US. A failure to follow them can lead to unbearable fines and affect a company's reputation.

The primary areas where contact centers need to be compliant are:

• Protecting credit card data (PCI DSS compliance)

• Protecting customer data (data protection act)

• Not generating nuisance calls (OFCOM compliance)

• Protecting hearing loss (noise at work regulations)

Adhering to compliance regulations can be difficult because rules can be difficult & expensive to keep up with.

Contact center compliance is a complex subject, and as such, many centers fail to adhere to strict regulations.

For example, call centers that take payments over the phone must take steps at every possible stage to protect the customer's sensitive payment data, ensure that their identity is protected, and prevent fraud. This means that card details are kept confidential and handled safely.

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Role of Compliance in Call Centers

Why Is contact center compliance important?
Why Is call center compliance important?

A single failure can ruin an organization's brand image and reputation. In digital-first times, customers don't want to be associated with companies that can't protect their personal information. Besides, a compliance failure can lead to fines and penalties from regulatory agencies.

A study reveals that businesses lose an average of $4 million in revenue due to a single non-compliance event. 

Thus, compliance is critical, especially to call centers.

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Call center compliance requires participation from every individual in a company. Call center managers shouldn't assume that agents always follow proper regulatory compliance procedures or that their existing processes work. 

Both managers and agents must be wide alert to see if something does not seem right. Call center compliance issues must be immediately identified & raised with the concerned individuals.

That isn't a lack of a complete list of the relevant laws and regulations. However, it's still very prevalent to see call centers overwhelmed by their compliance responsibilities. 

Fortunately, advancements in call center technology have been able to automate a significant amount of compliance tasks. For example, call center compliance technology can translate every call into text, analyze it, and flag it, possibly because of what the agent said or didn't say. 

Additionally, call recording software is also inbuilt with the ability to pause the recording while the customer is providing their credit card's security code. Call center compliance features are often built into outbound dialers. For example, in Convin, the quality management system offers auto-redact to hide confidential customer data.

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What are the Call Center Compliance Challenges?

The call center is the face of your business & is key to building customer relationships. This is precisely where you can foster loyalty to turn customers into your brand's advocates.

Starting from greetings and complaints to resolutions, every interaction in the call center plays a crucial role in your business success. And with expanded business comes an ever-growing need for data security. 

If you are dealing with call center compliance challenges, you are not alone. 

Let's explore some significant call center compliance issues & actionable tips to solve the same:

1. Monitoring Calls Without Consent

It is crucial to let customers know about the kind of their personal information being collected. If you are recording, monitoring, or evaluating calls, you must disclose this information to the customers & offer an option of opting out.

  • Challenge: If companies do not comply with monitoring disclosure requirements, the significant risks include class action lawsuits, messy litigation, and severe reputation damage.
In the U.S., call recording laws are classified in two ways: One-party consent and Two-party consent. In one-party consent, only one-party consent is necessary. While in two-party consent, both parties must notify their acceptance in recording the conversation.- Convin
  • Solution: It is essential to always disclose customers whenever you are collecting any information. Inform the customer, agent & any other parties involved in case the conversation is being monitored. Moreover, establishing a quality assurance program that helps coach agents to follow compliance guidelines is always helpful.

2. Inappropriate Recording of Payment Information

Protecting your customers from cybersecurity attacks and fraud is your sole responsibility, and several regulations exist around payment collection. For example, the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Rule prohibits contact centers from obtaining credit card information like CSV numbers, pin codes, and other data.

  • Challenge: There are various compliance risks involved if payment information is captured. Besides regulatory consequences, like significant fines and fraud charges, failure to follow payment collection processes can mean a reputation hit for your business. Customers will identify discrepancies and eventually lose trust in your company.
  • Solution: It is best to create rules preventing agents from noting cardholder information on paper. It is also equally important to train agents on practices like the need to pause the recording while taking identifiable information. Moreover, firewalls to prevent data from being misused or stolen can aid in call center regulatory compliance.

3. Failing to Comply With HIPAA Rules

A few guidelines prohibit the transfer of private information in the United States that protect the customers from discriminatory business practices. They include rules like Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Fair Debt Collection Practice Act (FDCPA), The Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) & Truth in Lending Act.

Call center agents must follow stringent guidelines such as  HIPAA, SOC 2 Type 2, PCI DSS, GDPR, and CCPA processes to ensure compliance
Call center agents must follow stringent guidelines such as HIPAA, SOC 2 Type 2, PCI DSS, GDPR, and CCPA processes to ensure compliance
  • Challenge: If any contact center fails to keep the health information confidential,  it can be subject to fines, massive lawsuits, and reputation damage.
  • Solution: All agents must be aware of the call center compliance standards and checklist. Should be able to deal with the responsibility of it no matter what.

Moreover, proper encryption and other security measures must be utilized while taking private information.  

Before we land on the best practices, it’s important to learn about all the standard call center regulatory compliances.

Find out Convin’s call center compliance software pricing.

What Are The Contact Center Compliance Acts?

In the USA, customer interactions demand adherence to some key contact center compliance acts and regulations:

  1. Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA): Regulates telemarketing and the use of automated dialing systems, pre-recorded voice messages, and unsolicited faxes. It requires businesses to obtain prior written consent from consumers before making certain types of calls or sending marketing messages.
  1. Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR): Enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), TSR sets rules for telemarketing calls, including call time restrictions and requirements for providing specific information during the call.
  1. Do Not Call Registry: Managed by the FTC, this registry allows consumers to opt-out of receiving telemarketing calls. Businesses are prohibited from calling numbers listed on the registry.
  1. PCI-DSS- Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard for call centers is a set of security standards designed to protect customers credit card data of during phone transactions. It is mandated by major credit card companies such as Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, and JCB to ensure that organizations handling payment card information maintain a secure environment.
  1. Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA): Governs debt collection practices, including restrictions on the time and frequency of debt collection calls, as well as prohibitions on abusive or harassing behavior by debt collectors.
  1. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Regulations: CFPB has regulations that govern consumer financial interactions, including restrictions on unfair, deceptive, or abusive practices.
  1. California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA): State-level regulation in California that provides consumers with certain rights regarding their personal information collected by businesses.
  1. HIPPAA Act-The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act applies to call centers and healthcare providers that handle protected health information (PHI) over the phone. The rule mandates strict guidelines for the privacy and security of PHI to safeguard patient information.

These are some of the major contact center compliance acts and regulations that should be followed in the USA. Any call center violations detected around them is punishable by law.

Call Center Compliance Checklist: Best Practices

Companies can't achieve compliance with a single tool or process. An ideal way to go about it is using a multifaceted approach that integrates technology, methods, and procedures.

Below are mentioned certain best practices in the call compliance checklist that can serve as a starting point for call center managers as they seek to comply with internal and external requirements:

1. Secure Your Network

We live in times when agents are working remotely & there is a constant struggle to maintain physical security, as remote agents don't always have secure workstations. 

It is more critical now than ever for companies to use network access control to limit people from physically & logically accessing system hardware & software.

2. Perform Audits

Audits, especially those that happen physically at the workstation city, enable a company to review a remote employee's work environment and ensure it supports basic rules and meets compliance requirements. 

Call center managers can also use video conferencing tools when physical visits seem challenging to perform audits.

 Call center regulatory compliance checklist and best practices
Call center managers must ensure their agents follow best practices, and a compliance checklist

3. Authenticate Customers

Customer authentication is a process to prove who the individuals claim they are. In most cases, customers provide a single piece of information to confirm their identity, known as single-factor authentication.

However, many companies have recently adopted a process where customers provide multiple pieces of information including a password and a code sent to the mobile device, to confirm their identity known as multi-factor authentication. These are recognized as the call center authentication best practices.

4. Provide Mandatory Disclosures

Call center agents must provide mandatory disclosures, which act as legal statements to explain specific processes, rules, and options to callers. T

The regulation requires mandatory disclosures when agents record customer calls, perform collection functions or make financial transactions. This process reduces call center violations to a large extent and keeps the organization safe.

5. Adhere to TCPA Regulations

Call center agents must provide mandatory disclosures, which act as legal statements to explain specific processes, rules, and options to callers. 

The regulation requires mandatory disclosures when agents record customer calls, perform collection functions or make financial transactions.

6. Manage Sensitive Information

To be PCI-DSS & HIPAA compliant, companies must protect sensitive customer data. This data includes PII, credit card numbers, or confidential health information.

It is imperative to encrypt all data, minimize the volume of stored data & use automation, such as IVR (Interactive Voice Response), to perform sensitive transactions.

7. Offer Ongoing Training

Companies must offer call center training on proper compliance procedures and guidelines. All employees should be aware of specific compliance rules to understand how to protect their company and its customers better.

Learn more about Automated Agent Training For Better Call Compliance.

Treat Call Center Compliance Seriously

Contact center technology advancements have automated many compliance tasks as we continue to thrive in a digital-first era. A call center compliance checklist can help organizations avoid call center violations. 

Are you ready to put these guidelines into action? 

You can utilize the above checklist to evaluate your company's compliance protocols and ensure that agents follow proper guidelines.

We know understanding call center compliance & the risks involved can feel overwhelming. Therefore, we at Convin aim to help businesses navigate compliance issues and expand their customer service standards.

If you want to learn more about Convin's Call Center Compliance solutions, all you need to do is reach out to us & our experts are ready to help.

FAQs

1. What is compliance in call center?

Call compliance in call centers refers to adhering to the relevant laws, regulations, and industry standards like HIPAA and PCI-DSS when handling customer interactions. Companies proactively monitor and enforce call compliance to avoid call center violations.

2. What are call center standards?

Call center compliance standards refer to the set of guidelines, regulations, and best practices that call centers must adhere to in order to ensure ethical, legal, and secure operations while providing excellent customer service. 

3. Who can benefit from a call center compliance checklist?

  1. Customers
  2. Agents
  3. Supervisors
  4. Leaders
  5. Business owners

4. What is the industry standard for call center adherence?

We have discussed the industry standards for call center regulatory compliance in the blog. 

5. What is compliance role in BPO?

In the BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) industry, compliance ensures that the outsourcing organization meets all regulatory and contractual requirements. BPO compliance requirements encompass a wide range of aspects, including data privacy, data security, confidentiality, industry-specific regulations, and client-specific agreements.

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