Gauteng Business News

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CALL CENTRES: Managing Contact Centre Risk


Recent Gauteng Business News

Risk management and regulatory compliance are two phrases that have become common business terms of late, as South African organisations strive for greater accountability and sustainability following the release of the King III report.

The contact centre industry faces a number of challenges when it comes to managing risk, from managing its biggest asset, human capital, to complying with the various regulations and legislation that govern this field. The need to create auditable trails and maintain high levels of customer service while at the same time preventing fraud, managing transactions on a granular level and ensuring liability and accountability add to this picture of complexity.

Communication forms the crux of any contact centre, with constant interactions taking place between customers and contact centre agents, which means that managing and enhancing the quality of these interactions while mitigating risk and optimising business value are key aspects for any contact centre to meet business objectives. With the sheer call volumes experienced by the majority of modern call centres today, manually managing all of these aspects becomes a mammoth task that can in fact open the business up to further risk and hinder the enforcement of compliance to the many existing and future expected regulations.

An integrated quality and performance management solution that combines voice recording with analysis, reporting and workforce management together with transaction management becomes a tool that can assist contact centres with risk and compliance issues by enabling the recording, management, re-creation and analysis of voice transactions and addressing associated value processes. This in turn provides a host of information to help these businesses to make the most of their human capital and optimise processes, leading to greater efficiency and effectiveness while at the same time ensuring better customer service and more satisfied customers as a result.

When looking to implement such a solution, contact centre managers should look for a set of tools that takes the entire process into account, from hiring right through to transaction auditing, with integrated reporting functionality covering a wide range of areas to introduce greater accountability and enable access to focused business intelligence, which in turn will enable cost, risk and performance improvements.

Intelligent risk management starts right at recruitment stage, so it is desirable to have a solution that enables the profiling of potential agents according to their suitability for the job and the demands of the particular environment. This will minimise the time and risk associated with hiring unsuitable candidates and will also provide cost savings both short and long term by ensuring that the best trainable people are hired for the job. Learning should also form a part of contact centre management to ensure that skills gaps are addressed timeously, mitigating risk associated with having unskilled agents on the job.

Performance management and quality assurance forms another important layer in managing contact centre risk by delivering in-depth analysis that enables proactive management and balanced scorecards to match performance against set targets. By providing this information contact centres can better manage performance on a business objective level, ensuring greater accountability.

The performance of coaches should also be included to ensure consistent quality across all areas of the contact centre for improved liability monitoring. To gain a complete picture of performance for optimal risk mitigation and management research tools must be included to gauge customer satisfaction ratings and gain an outside perspective of performance.

On top of these aspects, one of the most vital spheres of contact centre risk mitigation and management is the ability to audit individual transactions and all calls relating to these transactions to ensure adherence and compliance with regulations. The reality is that non-compliant transactions have the potential to compromise not only the business but its customers as well, so all recordings relating to certain transactions should be assessed according to the necessary criteria for the business and flagged for immediate action should they not meet these requirements. This also assures that mandatory KPIs are met from a quality and adherence control perspective.

All of these individual aspects of quality, performance and risk management should be linked into a central system to provide consistent information across the board and ensure that silos of information are not created, thereby providing a complete picture of all facets of the contact centre and enabling more effective management from a risk and compliance point of view. Comprehensive reporting should also form a part of the solution so that information gained can be used to affect change and lower any risk ratings within the contact centre.

Risk management and compliance are fast becoming cornerstones of any successful business, and the contact centre industry is no different. By effectively understanding where risk lies, identifying these risks along with any non-compliant process, and reporting on all aspects of performance and risk management, contact centre managers will be able to mitigate these risks and enable more efficient, effective running of contact centres which ultimately equals greater profitability and more satisfied customers.

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