It’s not coincidental that your contact center gets thrust into the mire of compliance issues. When you think about it, it’s easy to see why.

Many companies with contact centers work in highly regulated industries such as banking and healthcare, for example. Usually the goal is to keep these high-touch, customer-facing employees from a) publicly sharing private information provided by a caller and b) misrepresenting the company’s products or services. Many organizations train their contact center agents on what they can and cannot say and how to appropriately handle compliance-related topics.

A failure to stay in compliance with rules and regulations can result in costly litigation. Just one misstep can incur an extremely costly fine should someone file a lawsuit or a complaint. For example, violations cited under the Truth and Lending Act can run as high as $500,000 per customer, while maximum fines for privacy violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) start at $50,000 per violation and can run as high as $1.5 million per year.

Listen Up

Typically, businesses and other organizations address compliance by monitoring employees for effectiveness. Many organizations record phone interactions between agents and customers and review portions of the conversation. For instance, a manager might manually review calls, checking three per week per agent. Or supervisors might randomly spot-check 15 calls a day.

The flaw with these approaches is that they take time. If your employees are having 30-minute phone calls with prospective customers, it could take 30 minutes — or more — to review that conversation. You could speed that up by listening to only your agent’s responses, for instance. In the end though, these review practices sometimes simply don’t happen if workloads pile up or a center is exceptionally busy. Plus, because the calls are randomly sampled, you could very well miss calls that are possibly the most damning.

Enter another approach: voice analytics. By using analytics and speech recognition, supervisors can look at keywords, phrasings, or tone to pinpoint conversations that suggest a response might not comply with specific regulations. While not perfect, voice analytics offer a way to zero in on calls that are likely the most potentially problematic.

It’s also possible to preprogram the speech analytics engine of voice analytics to look for specific phrases such as “I promise” or “I guarantee” and provide alerts. These tools let managers immediately find and highlight calls that might pose compliance hiccups.

Watch What You Say

As a CDW solutions architect with extensive experience working on collaboration challenges, I’ve seen this work well in the real world. One example is a project that my team led at a company whose management team was concerned that its call center was not in compliance with financial regulations. We deployed speech analytic software from Calabrio to search for specific phrases that would indicate that they were out of compliance.

The analysis validated the management team’s fear: Multiple violations were likely taking place during call center interactions. The leadership team immediately reached out to specific agents identified by the analysis and provided them with additional training. In most cases, employees aren’t purposefully defying rules and regulations, and it’s just a matter of providing new training to bring an organization back into compliance again.

Using voice analytics is a learning process. It takes time to refine the types of information you want to glean from it. At CDW, for instance, we use speech analytic recognition software for our own marketing to determine the products our customers are looking for. We track how often certain products and technologies come up in conversations with our workers.

Initially, we set about 30 phrases we wanted the software to seek out. But some phrases were used so frequently that we had to add filters to ensure we received more concise and valuable feedback from our analyses. Even so, the results were worthwhile, and we were able to more quickly provide customers with the product information they actually wanted.

Think of voice analytics as a tool that can save you time every day and help your organization from being thrust into costly litigation — as long as you realize that you can’t just set it and forget it. You will need to regularly monitor results and refine the phrases that you want to track to ensure compliance. But when compared with manually poring over call recordings, layering in voice analytics offers a way to get better, smarter and faster at monitoring compliance.

To learn how to develop a voice analytics strategy for your call center, click here to receive a consultation from one of CDW’s collaboration experts.

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