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New Ofcom rules will pose a profound challenge for those businesses that cannot adapt

Your chosen cloud predictive dialler will ultimately become the compliance differentiator

By virtue of its relevance to just about every industry regulator, contact centre and business process outsourcing companies can often get caught up in the machinations of several regulators and compliance bodies; FCA, ICO, SRA, PCI DSS, ISO 27001, and most notably now after March 2017, Ofcom.

The recent consultation on Abandoned and Silent Calls stands poised to have far reaching consequences for contact centres and all providers of predictive and cloud dialler technology.

The telecoms regulator plans to change the landscape for all outbound calling activities affecting the way in which contact centres will use, manage and ultimately select their cloud and predictive dialler technology. Legacy premise-based dialler systems will most likely need replacing, or at the very least fundamentally rebuilt from the ground up.

Either scenario will take a great deal of time and money, neither of which contact centres can afford.

In the same way that the government recently, announced plans to start making board-level executives personally liable for compliance enforced via the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), Ofcom are now introducing a completely new landscape for how contact centres structure and manage their customer contact strategies.

As a result, your chosen cloud or hosted dialler will ultimately become the compliance differentiator.

Essentially, Ofcom will make it easier to punish non-compliant contact centres with its existing £2,000,000 fine where it does not see clear evidence of rules being followed. Ofcom plans to do so by introducing up to a range of seven new control measures to extend its existing measurement and enforcement policy:

  1. Allowing no more than three Abandoned Calls

  2. A complete ban on Silent Calls with a zero tolerance policy

  3. Reducing the allowed existing drop call rate from 3% either to a lower percentage or a flat number

  4. A cap on the amount of times you can call a customer

  5. Defining the times your allowed to call customers

  6. A ban on Local Number Presentation

  7. A ban on Answer Machine Detection

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you will do things differently”, a timely quote from the renowned global investor Warren Buffet.

The reputational damage of such a compliance breech in today’s marketplace could be a terminal blow in itself, any financial impact is secondary to survival.

Ofcom’s recent research confirms that some respondents to its call for inputs from the contact centre industry “tend to make the highest number of attempts to contact the same individual, some as many as six on the same day”.

This finding ensures the focus will be squarely on managing effective contact strategies and effectively capping the number of times you attempt to contact a customer in a given period, very similar to abandoned calls.

Surprisingly, as subject matter experts, premise-based and cloud dialler vendors do not appear to be pro-actively engaging their customers about the danger that is looming; this may simply be due to a lack of plans yet in place to combat what is looming.

That situation could not be more different at Genius. Having always centred our delivery model around compliance and a clear need to be agile, we have live operational measures in place to control every single one of the seven proposed Ofcom measures outlined above, ensuring we continue to lead on all aspects of compliance, even before the regulator.

The proposed changes will have consequences far reaching across every vertical of the contact centre industry, across customer service, debt recovery and telemarketing. Customers using inflexible vendors and out of date premise based legacy technology stand most likely to be at risk.

Recent market shift has seen traditional premise-based vendors scramble to develop new untested hosted solutions; many still remain in their infancy. The new regulations pose an even greater challenge to those cloud systems. Delivering premise based versus hosted dialler technology requires an entirely different business and delivery model. Coping with industry regulation change at the same time only makes that transition harder still.

The challenge is clearly facing the technology sector also. It may even force a sharp consolidation of vendors; some may not be able to keep up with the level and pace of regulatory change.

Surprisingly, as subject matter experts, premise and cloud dialler vendors do not appear to be proactively engaging their customers about the regulatory danger that is looming; this may simply be due to a lack of plans yet in place to combat imminent Ofcom legislation

Market leading in the contact centre amounts to leading with compliance. The market has, and continues to change. Cloud technology needs to be agile, able to react immediately to operational challenges. Dialler and wider technology suppliers need to stand ready with solutions; not create additional problems through inflexibility.

With over 20 years’ operational experience running our own contact centre operations has placed Genius in a very unique position. We understand both the customer and vendor relationship having lived it for many years ourselves, no other vendor can offer that level of knowledge. This unique experience and insight ensures Genius position as the most experienced supplier of cloud dialler technology in the contact centre industry.

The compliance pressures for the Contact Centre industry are as we know not simply limited to Ofcom. The FCA has put enormous pressure on the industry in recent years, yet wider compliance pressures remain at large which need just as much considered attention and provision.

Take PCI DSS compliance for instance and wider security concerns, another huge focus. There is the need to be deploying ISO 27001 compliant systems as well as the new ISO 22301 standard for Business Continuity. Hosted technology needs to cater for everything, not simply Ofcom. All form the cornerstone of the Genius cloud dialler system.

Our customers use payment solutions where their customers process their payment details via their telephones at home, creating touchless payment card processing live on call, not passed to an automated IVR system. Security need not compromise the customer experience. Call recording is taken to the next level by incorporating screen recordings and customers can also build and store call quality assessment templates on our management applications with every recording linked at the touch of a button.

Every dial attempt logged, every call recorded, every screen recorded, every payment made recorded, every call scored logged and reported, even every email and SMS sent is stored in one central view ready for any auditor.

Centralised compliance views have never been needed more or have been so powerful within the industry, in one platform.

This level of protection requires no investment. Our clients are always on the latest versions, always protected with future proof systems, with provision for regulatory change even before it is required.

These worrying and uncertain times for most can be taken as a window of opportunity for those who opt to use Genius for their core operating platforms.

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