What does a compliant conversation look like?
January 2, 2024
Conversational compliance is a key part of customer interactions. It ensures that every conversation adheres to relevant laws, regulations, and ethical standards. This can include various aspects of compliance, including the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), Do Not Call (DNC) lists, internal organizational policies, ethical standards, and other industry-specific disclosures/standards.
So, what does a compliant conversation look like? And what steps do you need to take to achieve conversational compliance? There are a few important things to remember before, during and after the call to ensure every interaction is compliant, minimizing risk for your organization.
Importance of conversational compliance
The goal of conversational compliance is to ensure that the participants engage in a discussion while meeting all the necessary legal and ethical standards, minimizing risks, and maintaining the integrity and trustworthiness of the communication.
When an organization fails to take the necessary steps to remain compliant, they are at risk of violating the TCPA and DNC, which can be costly. Under the TCPA, you could be fined up to $500 per violation/call and up to $1500 per violation/call if it is proven that your organization willfully and knowingly violated any laws. There is no cap on statutory damages so thousands of dollars of violations can end up resulting in millions of dollars of penalties. For violating the DNC, organizations can be charged up to $43,000 at the federal level and up to $25,000 in certain states.
Not only do TCPA and DNC violations come with costly fines, but they can also hurt brand reputation and shareholder value. With TCPA and DNC violations often comes class action lawsuits that may cost millions of dollars in legal fees and poor publicity. Compliance violations can make consumers lose trust and confidence in your business when they don’t feel like their privacy is being protected.
Additionally, there are regulatory steps that organizations must take to ensure compliance during a live conversation. This is particularly critical in highly regulated industries such as insurance and financial services.
Pre-Call: First steps to conversational compliance
Achieving compliance does not start when a consumer picks up the phone and says “hello.” Compliance actually starts before each call your agents make. There are a few steps your teams can take before each call to prepare.
- Who to call: Train agents on how to prioritize consumer outreach and identify key characteristics of each consumer.
- Purpose of the call: Determine the purpose of the call. Different calls require different compliance regulations. For example, a sales call might have different requirements than a servicing or claims call.
- Call context: Establish the purpose for the call. Is this a sales call, claims call or something else? Identifying call context enables the right script to be provided to agents, ensuring regulatory disclosures are met for the specific conversation.
- Previous calls: Make a note of how many times your organization has contacted a consumer and ensure frequency standards are being met.
- Call notes: Streamline all pertinent information from previous phone calls to view a comprehensive history of interactions.
After your agents have reviewed all the necessary steps to prepare for the call, agents will need to certify that the consumer is legally allowed to be contacted.
- CRM integration: How are you verifying all the details surrounding the consumer’s history with your organization? A good CRM integration enables your organization to see everything your agents need to know about past interactions all in one place.
- Verify compliance: Certify agents can call a specific consumer and that the call complies with federal, state, and internal rules.
- Exemption management: Verify exemptions or exceptions that need to be managed regarding consumer outreach.
- Call blocking: After determining any exemptions, you must decide how to ensure the number is being dialed compliantly. Is call blocking available when a consumer isn’t allowed to be dialed? If call blocking is enabled, an agent won’t be able to dial any numbers that may violate TCPA and DNC laws. The agent will be automatically blocked from dialing.
- Click to dial: Leveraging a click to dial technology at an enterprise level streamlines the process of compliance, ensuring automatic verification of a consumer’s phone number for each agent interaction.
- Logging: A record of previous calls to each consumer ensures a complete audit trail of every time a phone number is dialed, ensuring compliance as well as a consistent customer experience.
During the call: What to do during the call to remain compliant
Now that agents can legally call a consumer; they need to remain compliant during the call. Here are the steps organizations should take to achieve conversational compliance during the call.
- Telephony integration: By leveraging telephony that integrates directly into the path of the phone conversation, agents can receive live prompts and coaching to ensure each part of the conversation remains compliant.
- Record/transcribe: By recording and transcribing the interaction (in states where it’s legal and/or required), you are taking the necessary step to prove you are remaining compliant. There are different compliance regulations at the Federal, State and internal level. There are also industry-specific regulations. Recording and transcribing each interaction ensures your agents are following regulatory guidelines during every conversation.
- Speech analytics: Speech analytics tools can analyze spoken or written content and automatically identify potential compliance violations. With real-time monitoring, speech analytics can detect keywords, phrases, or patterns of speech that may indicate non-compliance with regulations or policies.
- Redaction: It’s critical for every organization to protect a consumer’s Personal Identifiable Information (PII) during phone calls. Leveraging a compliance platform that has redaction capabilities, you are ensuring that PII like credit card numbers, social security numbers, addresses, and more, are being redacted in real time, therefore not putting the privacy of the consumer at risk.
- Realtime coaching and script adherence: Real-time coaching provides support to agents during the call in the moment to ensure every conversation is accurate, efficient and empathetic. With real-time coaching capabilities, agents can also ensure script adherence and proper disclosures in real-time to ensure accurate information is delivered, protecting your organization from legal liability. Real time coaching can also support brand compliance for internal requirements during conversations for cross sell, up sell and support calls. For example, an insurance agency may have a requirement if a consumer calls in with a question about their homeowner’s policy, the agent must mention a new promotion for the car insurance. With real-time guided coaching, the agent will be reminded to mention the new policy therefore complying with internal brand compliance standards.
Post-call: Reviewing the conversation for compliance standards
Now that the call has been completed, there are steps to take even after the phone call to help remain compliant.
- Quality Assurance and post-call analysis: Post-call analysis provides managers with all the necessary information they need to know after a call is completed. It contains key moments of the recording and transcript, keyword and phrase detection, and will review whether or not a script was adhered to. Quality assurance (QA) Managers then receive a complete breakdown of the most important parts of their agents’ calls to assess conversational and brand compliance and take corrective action if needed. QA managers can check the post-call analytics for script language, script adherence, compliance with industry-specific regulations, agent conduct, and more. By leveraging technology to automate this process, organizations can standardize how they monitor and evaluate each customer interaction across every channel.
- Call scoring: Call scoring is an important part of a compliant conversation. All consumer calls should receive a score at the end of the interaction. The criteria on which the call is graded can be a factor of many things: script adherence, sentiment analysis, regulatory compliance, call outcomes, and more. These factors can be completely customizable to the industry or use-case needed to ensure consistency across every interaction.
- Sentiment analysis: Sentiment analysis is the process of understanding the key emotional moments of each call that an agent or rep has with a consumer. It fully leverages the voice of the customer through a deep analysis of the sentiment behind every interaction to gauge the impact of their customer experience. Organizations can use sentiment analysis to help ensure conversational compliance to identify any negative sentiments related to compliance issues, such as unethical behavior, privacy concerns, or regulatory violations.
- Flag for review: There are a number of instances where flagging key moments can help ensure compliance. With a conversation intelligence tool, customer interactions that don’t follow the provided script or violate industry regulations can be flagged immediately for review. This saves time and resources for managers who no longer need to review every call an agent makes.
- Script adherence: It’s imperative that conversations are reviewed for script adherence. Agents and reps need to adhere to certain scripts and comply with regulatory and brand standards to reduce the risk of legal issues and ensure consistency among all customer interactions.
After the call has been thoroughly reviewed for any compliance violations, it’s now time to report on it.
- Audit reporting: Audit reports can highlight instances of non-compliance, including violations of regulatory laws, industry standards, or internal policies. When non-compliance is identified, audit reports help reveal the root cause behind the issue. This helps organizations understand why compliance violations occur and understand how to mitigate risk in the future.
- Call reporting: Call reporting analyzes call-related trends, patterns, and data to provide key insights. Calls are analyzed by things like call volume, call frequency, attempts/connects, and outcomes to identify trends and patterns related to compliance so organizations can make continuous improvements to their compliance programs.
- Key Performance Indicators: Providing data that displays real-time or near-real-time information related to compliance and performance metrics. This helps leadership monitor compliance efforts as they unfold.
Ensuring conversational compliance with conversation intelligence
Conversational compliance monitoring can be a significant undertaking for many organizations. However, the rise of AI-powered technology can provide substantial assistance in streamlining compliance efforts. Gryphon’s real-time, AI-powered conversation intelligence solution enables better conversations so customer-facing teams can sell more, remain compliant, and deliver exceptional customer experiences.
Looking to create the perfect conversation during every interaction? Contact Gryphon today.
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