Communications Blog • 5 MIN READ

The Sleeping Giant - Contact Center Compliance

Eric Bauer

Written by Eric Bauer

“Please be advised that your call may be recorded”. With those words I was put through to an operator to help sort out my latest phone bill. We've all heard this before, contact centers have been recording calls for many years, whether for quality and training purposes or to record contractual agreements, but what happens when that recording doesn't actually work?

  • 73% of interactions with Call Centers are done through voice. By 2020 that number will dip to 15%.

I've had some experiences working behind the scenes with companies facing millions of dollars in fines because calls that should have been retained in their contact center weren't actually recorded. They didn't know there was a problem until an audit came through and they were tasked with going back and retrieving the recordings. Everything indicated that things were working at the time, but a year later when they went to retrieve the calls, they simply weren't there.

I view compliance requirements for contact centers like a sleeping giant. Whether it's in the financial industry where broker licenses are on the line, or in healthcare and insurance where government funding is involved, calls must be recorded and retained for a certain period of time. There's a very real need to understand this space because of the potential for liability. If you don't understand what's going on in your environment, the sleeping giant can wake up at the least opportune time.

When it comes to making sure you meet compliance regulations, the cost of inaction can be huge. With every call, you're rolling the dice, saying, “I don't think I have a problem. I believe I'm doing everything that I need to, but until I go through an audit and actually have to retrieve those calls, I won't really know.” You're talking about the potential for millions of dollars in fines and even repercussions on a personal level. If you look at the financial space, brokers are doing trades with clients on a call. If those calls aren't being recorded, there's personal liability potential where the broker could lose his or her license.

Many organizations have compliance departments whose single focus is to understand all the regulations they must adhere to. Some of the biggest challenges come from translating that information from the compliance department over to IT, who are responsible for actually making sure it all happens flawlessly.

Big Problem

International contact centers face some unique challenges as well. We talk about regulatory compliance in the US, but imagine an international contact center with customers from many different countries. There are even some regions within the same country that have different regulations. It's now the compliance department's job to translate the information for those different jurisdictions. All these different issues continue to snowball and grow even larger.

Interestingly enough, I try not to pitch products when giving advice on how to be proactive. Instead, what I really recommend is getting a handle on your call recording environment. Understand what makes it tick from end-to-end. This is more than just the call recording itself. It requires a near real-time view of what's going on. If you have that level of understanding, you might be able to tame that sleeping giant.

It's not just about calls anymore—now it's about recording every interaction. Right now, about 73% of interactions with call centers are done through voice. One of the latest studies says that by 2020 that number will dip to a mere 15%. Considering that shift away from person-to-person interaction via voice, it seems inevitable that how contact centers document customer interaction must also shift accordingly.

Here's a great story that illustrates this fact. My sixteen-year-old son recently had a problem with a product that he bought. He went online and did everything possible not to make a phone call. He was able to resolve everything completely through email, chat, and website interactions. In fact, he solved his problem very quickly. He left me sitting there, scratching my head, I asked him, “Why didn't you just call?”

He replied, “Well, Dad, it was so much easier this way. I was sitting here on my smartphone and I could take care of it without having to place a phone call.”

This is a prime example of why I think call recording assurance is starting to meld into customer interaction assurance. All of those interactions need to be recorded for legal and regulatory requirements, even as they transform or become more sophisticated.

Organizations are set up to record calls, but they're not always set up to record all these other interactions. When a customer starts with a phone call, moves to texting, chat, web interactions, or email, you'll need to be able to keep all those things together as one interaction even though it took place on multiple different channels.

Topics: Communications Contact Center

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