Here are 5 ideas:
The contact center industry is rife with challenges. On any given day you might experience anything from extreme customer meltdowns to actual hardware meltdowns (it’s happened!). The longer you stay in business, however, the more you learn to anticipate the kinds of issues your call center might face. If you haven’t faced any legal challenges yet; that’s great! We hope you never do. That being said, a bit of proactivity and some maintenance along the way can make a huge difference in outcome, should legal issues ever come your way. Let’s look at five tips that can help prepare you for the unexpected.
1) Ensure you have quality insurance plans in place.
Risk management is key. Insure your business against liability, account for worker's compensation, and more. Be sure you’re using a carrier known for good quality care, who fully covers you and has your back when you need them. Do your research, talk to others, and read reviews, so you can see how the carriers have responded to issues arising with other companies who have similar coverage. You'll want to see how employers have been protected during liability claims, worker's comp claims, and/or lawsuits, and see how they've fared in comparison with other carriers. Don’t let price be the determining factor when it comes to choosing insurance; examine the quality of your coverage and know exactly what you are and aren't covered for.
2) Properly train all employees and members of management on the legal aspects of customer accounts. Be sure they fully understand and follow your company's policies.
As a part of management, it’s your responsibility to ensure everyone knows how to deal legally and ethically with client accounts and information. Whether or not your staff is provided with exact scripts or specific wording when speaking with customers, they need to know what they can and can't say, when to say it, and who to say it to. Some individuals that call in or answer the phone will not be authorized to access data you have on file. Others may be granted access, but their identity may need to be confirmed to a reasonable degree before giving out any confidential information.
In the event that an employee disregards your policies and training on certain procedures, you may be able to free yourself from accountability, as long as you can prove your staff member went against policies they were clearly informed of (this is where it comes in handy to have a company policy handbook, along with some kind of record or proof that you shared it with your staff and that a reasonable effort was made to ensure full understanding of its policies by all employees). This will also show your employees that while your goal is not to nitpick, you are firm when it comes to following applicable laws and procedures.
Additionally, you and all other management-level employees need to stay up to date on any changing laws and regulations, and pass that information along to any employees who might be affected. If additional training is required to remain compliant, be sure to plan ahead to account for it.
Speaking of compliance; is your call center PCI and TCPA compliant? If not (or if you don’t even know what these terms mean), do your research and learn how these very important rulings can affect your contact center’s legal status with regards to federal rules and regulations.
And don’t forget to regularly check on your IVR and your predictive dialer! It’s important to ensure that your automated systems aren’t sharing information with the wrong individuals or harassing people with too many calls, as you could be held liable.
3) Secure your website and systems.
Maybe you’re not the NSA. Or the Pentagon. That doesn’t mean that the data you you access, process, and/or store doesn’t need to be safe and secure. You want to make sure your computers and website are always protected, especially when they contain customer information. This includes any online portals or features on your site that customers can use to pull up their information. The last thing you want is to be vulnerable to hacking, or have private data leaked to the wrong person. Utilizing a trusted IT service can come in handy for keeping your systems secure.
4) Get your policies up-to-date and accurate.
Review all your customer-facing policies. Are they well-written? Are they up to date? Review business agreements and contracts, too. These policies may contain information on how you handle refunds, how you resolve issues, how you protect client information, and more.
5) Get expert legal advice or assistance when needed.
Don’t forget about the legal aspects of your responsibilities; if you don't address them now, you may have to deal with problems later that could have been avoided with a bit of legal expertise. If your management team is finding it difficult to keep up with the necessary legal knowledge that affects your field, or if it's difficult for you to implement the accompanying required changes, that's completely understandable. Just be sure you fill in the gaps by finding someone else to take on the responsibility if your current management team can't. This means you could either hire an additional member for your management team that has this expertise, or you can seek out a legal attorney or professional that can properly assist you. Some call centers go as far as keeping a lawyer on-site during certain hours.
These are just a few ways you can protect your call center from legal issues. You’ll most likely have to deal with legal situations on occasion, but if you’re prepared with the right tools and resources, you’ll find yourself well-equipped for the challenge.
If your existing contact center software doesn’t ensure compliance, it’s time to look elsewhere for solutions that keep you covered. At Connect First, our cloud based call center solutions are designed with compliance and legal adherence in mind. Contact us today to learn more about how our solutions can work for you.