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GOVERNANCE, RISK, COMPLIANCE: GRC More Important Than Ever in Contact Centres


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Contact centres need to factor in changes on two fronts: new consumer privacy protection regulations are coming into being and call costs are coming down. What these two seemingly divergent factors have in common is that they make it important that business risk is mitigated and that governance and compliance requirements are being met within the business.

Spescom DataVoice offers some insight through Kgabo Badimo, MD of Spescom DataVoice, a company that develops proprietary solutions for the contact centre and enterprise telephony market: "At present, a large portion of contact centres' revenues come from direct sales. New privacy laws mean that contact centres will come under greater scrutiny in terms of their interactions with customers, the legitimacy of the data they use and how they use and store that data. At the same time, new national fibre infrastructures and the commissioning of the EASSy and WACS undersea cables will at last enable local contact centres to compete in terms of call costs with other international off-shoring and outsourcing players. In both instances, risk, compliance and governance issues need to be attended to.

"Interactions with customers need to be recorded to ensure business risk is mitigated and legislative compliance requirements are met. Access to recordings will provide assistance if contact centres are challenged by consumers in terms of overstepping privacy laws or even with regard to transactions concluded. With regard to winning new international business, the ability of the contact centre to meet international standards - including risk, security and legal requirements -- will affect its competitive positioning and chances of success."

To achieving the right balance between cost and service quality, workforce optimisation and the use of performance enhancing technology solutions like Interactive Voice Response (IVR) need to be exploited, suggests Badimo.
"However, ensuring world-class capabilities will mean not just putting in place solutions for risk mitigation, governance and compliance purposes but creating a holistic and integrated solution that will enable the contact centre to operate efficiently and effectively."

Spescom DataVoice has for more than two decades developed proprietary solutions for the contact centre and enterprise telephony markets. Its offering includes voice and screen recording solutions, and a workforce optimisation solution tailored for the contact centre market. These solutions are complemented by selected third party technologies and applications that enable the company to create solutions that meet the unique needs of contact centres in the public and private sector, emergency centres, retail and financial environments.

Says Badimo: "Individual technologies, like voice recording solutions, are largely commoditised and easily accessible. The real challenge is to create a holistic integrated solution that meets business requirements at an enterprise level."

"Take for example workforce optimisation and voice recording. Workforce optimisation ensures contact centres can do more with less and still improve on quality of services to customers. It not only enables assessment of performance, but also enhances productivity and improves client service. IVR can facilitate routing of calls to the right agents and can take some of the load off agents by automating some processes, such as providing latest invoice totals or status of query resolution, directly to customers.

"Recording of calls, on the other hand, is mandated by legislation in some industries to protect the consumer. Voice recorders can also be integrated with other systems (e.g., customer and product databases and screen
recording) to provide accurate records of customer interaction, so mitigating the business risk of the organisation and ensuring customer service commitments can be met.

Badimo provides an example of why integration of these solutions is
important: "A workforce optimisation solution will monitor the performance of agents, enabling ongoing assessment. But, if call recordings can be integrated to the workforce optimisation solution, enabling assessment of the agent's actual interactions with customers rather than just the call statistics (volumes and query resolutions or sales), then a clearer view of agent performance can be seen. If that workforce optimisation application is also integrated to an online or other training system, remedial training can be assigned and attendance and further assessment scheduled into the workflow of assessors, HR staff and the agent. Moreover, by integrating the workforce optimisation application to HR and workflow systems, accurate forecasting and scheduling of resources can be done.

"Similarly, a recording solution is near useless if recordings cannot be easily searched and accessed. This is essential for regulatory purposes but recordings can also be applied for service assurance or training purposes.
Combined with screen recordings - where actions on a computer to, for example, access various applications and input data - these voice recordings can give a more complete picture of the interaction. This can assist to identify operational or process problems (e.g., applications take too long to launch or are not integrated to other systems likes sales) or areas of competence that the agent is struggling with."

Together, a purpose-built infrastructure can ensure contact centres operate more efficiently, agents are better trained and more productive and effective, service quality is enhanced, client and organisational risk is mitigated and compliance and governance requirements are met.

Says Badimo: "South Africa's contact centres are, by and large, world-class.

To compete successfully at an international level, however, they will need to better manage the cost of the services they offer. The solutions and expertise are available locally; it's just a matter of applying them strategically."

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