Contact Center

Call Center Regulatory Compliance in the USA

Labeeb Ajmal T
August 18, 2023
7
 mins read

Last modified on

September 20, 2023

Call center regulatory compliance has become a top priority for most organizations. Why?

Compliance violations increase fines and litigations, negatively impacting the company's reputation.

"Compliance budgets of organizations in the US are increasing every year with JPMorgan Chase spending roughly double of the previous years budget in 2014" - Bain & Company

Compliance violations and their shocking consequences are pushing call centers to find ways to meet compliance regulations. 

At this point, compliance regulation in call center platforms is the best bet for organizations when building their compliance checklist.

Let's examine why call center compliance is essential and how to ensure your organization complies with call center regulations.

An In-Depth Guide to Call Center Compliance

What is Compliance Regulation in a Call Center?

Call center regulations are rules and standards designed to protect customer’s rights. These standards focus on the privacy rights of customers by ensuring data security.

All actions that pertain to customer data have regulations related to them. These aim to reduce sensitive data being leaked via data breaches.

Several laws are built and implemented in the United States to safeguard customer privacy. The US is not the only country with strict regulations; most developed countries invest in similar law & order.

Let's understand them one by one. 

Automate call center compliance.

What are the Regulatory Compliance Requirements?

There are different acts and regulatory standards that organizations have to comply with.

Agents should follow all call center regulatory compliance to improve compliance rates
Major call center regulatory compliances in the US

Here are the 4 major regulatory compliance acts in the US.

1. PCI-DSS

PCI-DSS, which stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, is mandated by credit card companies to ensure that all card transactions are performed securely. This reduces the chances of credit card data being involved in data leaks.

The PCI Security Council (PCI-SSC) has a set of 12 rules that are to be followed in the payment industry. This protects sensitive data like credit card details.

The 12 rules dictate technical and operational aspects that focus on protecting cardholder data and eliminating security risks.

Convin avoids the PCI-DSS violation by redacting information during a customer conversation. Want to learn more?

An example of an infamous PCI-DSS violation is the 2013 data leak of customer data storage collected by Adobe. Adobe had to pay $1 million as settlements for the leak of over 3 million credit card records.

2. HIPAA

The "Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act" (HIPAA) is a set of rules that dictate how protected health information (PHI) is to be handled by certain entities.

These entities mentioned in HIPAA regulations include healthcare and insurance providers. 

HIPPA compliance is applicable for companies storing the personal information of patients. These businesses must prohibit the sharing of personal information with other parties.  

The regulatory compliance warrants that all covered entities need standard training programs that teach new joiners how to handle protected health information.

A Georgia-based dental provider, Great Expressions Dental Center of Georgia, P.C. (GEDC-GA), had to pay a penalty of $80 thousand for excessive charges on accessing a patient’s PHI in 2020, causing delays in providing these records.
Get on a call to ensure compliance in your contact center.

3. TCPA

The "Telephone Consumer Protection Act" (TCPA) is a federal law that regulates the commercial usage of telephones.

This call center regulation states that consent should be taken before making any telemarketing calls. This consent also has to be obtained before pre-recording calls. 

TCPA also sets limitations on using automated dialing systems and pre-recorded messages.

Besides regulations on placing telephone calls, the TCPA rules also allow customers to request companies to stop calling and put them on the do not call registry.

A multilevel marketing company ViSalus was fined $925.21 million for making around 1.8 million automated calls which broke regulations. This verdict in 2019 is considered one of the largest TCPA verdicts in history.

4. FDCPA

The "Fair Debt Collection Practices Act" (FDCPA) is a set of regulations restricting how debt collectors collect debts. The FDCPA compliance checklist applies to credit card payments, mortgages, medical debt, and other personal debts.

These regulations help the debtor from being harassed at work and untimely hours.

With various rules and regulations to follow, it can be difficult for call centers to ensure thorough compliance. Let's look at creating a process that reduces the chance of compliance risk.

The world’s operation in largest debt collection, Expert Global Solutions and its subsidiaries, had to pay a $3.2 million civil penalty for harassing customers with debt collection calls that broke FDCPA regulations.

5. GDPR

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a comprehensive data privacy and protection regulation implemented by the European Union (EU) in May 2018. The call center regulatory compliance introduced stricter rules and standards for processing personal data within the EU and the European Economic Area (EEA). The GDPR rules focus on obtaining consent for data processing, reporting data breaches, implementing data protection measures, and more. All businesses(even those not in the EU) must comply with GDPR if handling EU and EEA data.

In 2022, the Irish Data Protection Commission levied the highest GDPR fine against the social media giant Instagram. Instagram was fined €405 million sum for publishing personal contacts like children's email addresses and phone numbers.

We have now discussed the most popular and essential call center compliance laws. Here’s a list that is often overlooked but necessary for contact center compliance.

6. Do Not Call Registry

The Do Not Call (DNC) Registry is a list maintained by government agencies, such as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the United States, that allows consumers to opt out of receiving telemarketing calls.

7. Call monitoring consent

Call monitoring consent laws vary by country and region. In general, these laws require businesses to obtain the explicit consent of individuals before monitoring or recording their telephone conversations.

In the United States, some states follow a "one-party consent" rule, where only one party (typically, the person conducting the monitoring or recording) needs to consent to the call being monitored or recorded. Other states follow a "two-party consent" rule, which requires the consent of all parties involved in the call.

8. Truth in Lending Act

The Truth in Lending Act (TILA) is a federal law in the United States. It was enacted to promote the informed use of consumer credit by requiring lenders to provide borrowers with clear and transparent information about the terms and costs of credit.

9. The Dodd-Frank Act

Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, often called the Dodd-Frank Act, is a comprehensive financial reform law in the United States enacted in response to the 2008 financial crisis. It aims to strengthen financial regulation, increase transparency in the financial industry, and protect consumers from abusive financial practices.

10. Sarbanes-Oxley Act

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act, often abbreviated as SOX, is a U.S. federal law enacted in 2002 in response to corporate accounting scandals. It aims to enhance corporate governance, financial reporting, and accountability by imposing strict rules and requirements on publicly traded companies and their auditors.

11. Equal Credit Opportunity Act

The Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) is a U.S. federal law that prohibits creditors from discriminating against applicants based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age, or other protected factors when making credit decisions. It promotes fair lending practices and ensures all individuals have equal access to credit.

12. Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act

The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) is a U.S. federal law that governs the privacy and security of consumers' personal financial information held by financial institutions. 

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How to Create a Call Center Compliance Checklist?

Call centers follow different processes to ensure that the possibility of compliance violation is minimal. Some call centers use quality assurance software while others focus on comprehensive agent training.

Different steps in a call center compliance checklist
Creating the right compliance regulation checklist

Let's look at how to create a checklist that helps in call center regulatory compliance.

1. Detailed Agent Training Sessions

The best way to start making a call center compliant is by ensuring agents receive the correct training. Besides product knowledge, an efficient training program trains agents on the relevant regulations and how to comply.

Frequent training on call center compliances helps agents never forget them and reduces the risk of compliance violations.

 Educate agents on call center compliance standards through automated coaching
Educate agents on call center compliance standards through automated coaching

2. Call Center Software to Flag Compliance Violations

Many call centers operate on manual auditing processes. Since manual auditing has limited call coverage, many violations are overlooked.

Using automated quality assurance software can help in identifying non-compliant conversations. When call centers have eyes on the agents that are causing these violations, it becomes easier to train and assist the contact center agents.

Automated quality assurance methods to catch violations and fatal behavior.
Call violation alerts and indicators help catch call center compliance violations

3. Strict Security Policies

Since many of these regulations pertain to sensitive information handling, call centers need to evaluate their data security. Every file used to store sensitive data should be encrypted and not be accessible by everyone–enforcing role-based access helps.

Call centers should invest in software like antivirus, cloud security, and unique agent login IDs. A strict data security policy ensures that the possibility of a breach is minimal.

Implement Call Center Compliance Standards

Ensuring that your call center complies with all these regulations involves a lot of work. Different aspects like agent training, investments in the right quality assurance software, and security policies come together to reduce the risk of violations.

Convin has assisted several businesses in streamlining contact center compliance. 100% call coverage and unbiased scoring make compliance monitoring and feedback a reality. Managers receive timely violation alerts and reports, which help take proactive and remedial actions.

Let’s help you understand the importance of regulatory laws and how to avoid call center violations with a quick demo.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why Should Call Centers Follow Compliance Regulations?

It is mandatory for a call center to ensure that sensitive information of customers are secure. These regulations help call centers to ensure the safety of such information.

2. What are Examples of Regulatory Compliance?

If a customer says that they don't want to receive any telemarketing calls from a company, any telemarketing call in the future is a compliance violation.

3. What are the Major Standards that Call Centers Should Comply With?

There are different regulatory standards like HIPAA, PCI-DSS, TCPA, and FDCPA that call centers in the US have to comply to. Call centers in Europe have to comply with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) laws.

4. What is compliance in a call center?

Compliance refers to certain regulatory standards that need to be followed. They’re usually related to customer privacy.

5. What does it mean to meet regulatory compliance?

If a call center has call compliance or regulatory compliance, it means that they follow the regulations and violations aren’t made.

6. Are BPO Compliance Requirements the Same as Call Centers?

Irrespective of customer support being administered internally or outsourced, the compliance requirements remain the same.

7. What is Risk Management in Call Centers?

Risk management refers to identifying and strategizing against known risks to a call center.

8. What is Risk Assessment in a Bank’s Call Center?

This refers to measuring the potential threats against a financial institution.

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