Easing the contact centre compliance burden
by Gary Williams, Director of Sales and Consultancy at Spitch
With Covid-19 meaning that many of the call centre operators that were working out of large offices are now working from home, compliance is now an even more difficult undertaking than previously. Managers that were sharing an office space with their agents were able to get a feel for how calls were going in real time. Without that access, assessing compliance and general “best practice approaches” becomes much more difficult and time consuming and existing compliance procedures become even more important. A manual approach, where specialist audit teams are responsible for listening back to calls, means that not only is it more expensive in terms of the resources needed but it is also far more difficult to vet all of the calls. Calls with deviations for crucial scripts might pass through unmonitored, leading to fines and a missed opportunity to improve customer service.
In this article we explore how an automated approach to compliance can make the transition from the office to home working smoother for call centres businesses and help to maintain standards of work during this difficult time.
The cost of compliance
With the increased regulation and the desire for a higher standard of service in the industry, compliance has become an increasingly hot topic for call centre operators. Strict compliance procedures are now the norm for many call centre operations and because of this, so are auditing procedures.
Previously the only way to maintain adherence to regulations was by manually auditing calls and this is a costly endeavour for call centres. It is a huge drain on resources as they take the time and cost to transcribe recorded calls for audit. For a start, regulation across Europe tends to require a large proportion of calls to be recorded. Even though this does vary by industry it is still a substantial endeavour in a call centre that can often have 200 to 250 agents. This also means that many companies, using manual auditing procedures, audit at random. This means that not all calls are monitored which can lead to increased fines for BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) call centres. Once these calls have been transcribed, the sample texts, along with the corresponding calls go to the internal audit team, a group of highly skilled and experienced industry professionals which varies in size according to the type of business and the scale of the audit task required. Therefore, this is not only a cost to the business but also affects operations as it reduces the call taking capacity of the company as calls are passed across. It is a double hit to the company as costs increase and revenue is reduced putting huge pressure on the margins for the business.
A digital reprieve
Previously the analogue nature of compliance has meant that the associated costs were large. In the digital era, however, it is possible to automate many of the steps needed to complete these procedures. Automated compliance monitoring allows businesses to combat the increased costs associated with call monitoring. This type of technology automatically checks call adherence to the corresponding script and flags any deviations. This means that only calls that have deviations need to be checked and within those, the software highlights the areas of concern for the auditor.
The Benefits of Automated Compliance Monitoring
Automated compliance monitoring reduces the time needed to audit calls, lowering costs and increasing the value of employees for the call centres. Reduced auditing times also benefits employees as the time that they spend on repetitive auditing tasks can be reduced too. This means that a high level of motivation is easier to maintain as employees can focus on more cognitively rewarding tasks. Other benefits include:
- Reducing costs, improving margin and making Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) call centres more competitive
The time spent monitoring calls is minimised due to the efficiency of the automation process. Fewer staff are required thus substantially reducing costs and for BPO’s this means they can expand their business more easily.
- Better use of time
AI-driven solutions are able to screen calls quicker and more effectively than humans and can also do this 24/7. This means that the process of compliance is more efficient and is able to give managers a better picture of the business in real-time. This gives managers the ability to focus on specific tasks when in the office or remote working.
- Better accuracy
The improved quality of recorded calls in the digital era also means that solutions that have adapted recognition engine models to audio patterns that are able to recognise the content of the audio easier than human ears could. This makes them not only faster than their human counterparts, but also more accurate as well. This level of accuracy is particularly important in the BPO contact centre setting, where compliance failures can be met with penalties that threaten the overall margin levels of the business. Greater accuracy in the compliance process can reduce the risk of such failures and can even be used as a selling point when engaging with businesses who are keen to ensure their chosen BPO is able to guarantee high levels of compliance and quality control when speaking to their customers. This means that accuracy whilst remote working could actually improve when compared to compliance auditing when in the office.
Automated compliance monitoring is part of a range of technologies that are helping to reduce the burden on our call centre professionals, brought by such necessary but mundane tasks. They free up employees to focus on customer-facing, more engaging work. Employee satisfaction is raised whilst reducing costs and improving sales figures. Managers and business owners are provided with a more detailed and up-to-date view of the company, helping to improve overall productivity and profitability. This means that they can be assured of compliance even when working away from their team.
Gary Williams is director of sales for Spitch in the UK. Gary has a wealth of experience in the technology sector and is excited to bring Spitch to a new market.’