They may not look like it at first glance, but contact centre teams are some of the most skilled acrobats around. They have to face delicate balancing acts on a daily basis when it comes to customer experience.
Whether it’s balancing that hands-on sense of support with the freedom for the customer to control their own journey, or balancing the swiftness of a query resolution with the assurity that the customer feels cared for, and that their issue is being dealt with thoroughly.
Looking more broadly though, contact centres are faced with the tussle between upholding exceptional customer experience standards versus their commitment to keeping compliance practices absolutely watertight.
It can feel like a treacherous tightrope at times, but the hard truth of the matter is, if you want what’s best for your customers – and if you want to keep your business reputation intact – then you have to walk it.
In this article we’ll be discussing how you can keep your organisation off the chopping block of compliance penalties, without hampering your ability to keep customer satisfaction at a high.
Customer Data vs Compliance: Is there a conflict?
The modern customer experience rests heavily on a contact centre’s capacity to effectively collate, analyse and leverage customer data.
This data often forms a foundational understanding of the wants, needs, frustrations and concerns of customer groups. It also helps contact centres to gain more leads, and deliver quicker and more effective resolutions for customer queries.
Overall, it is a vital contributor to the continual improvement of your processes, practices and performance as a team.
But, as the regulatory landscape has developed in its complexity and stringency, customer data has become akin to the delicious fillet of a poisonous pufferfish – it’s worth an awful lot, but if it isn’t handled properly, the results can be fatal.
The overhanging pressure of GDPR
We know, GDPR has already been in place for a good couple of years now. And you have likely already heard the various ins and outs of it discussed to death.
But before you accuse us of flogging a horse that has long stopped kicking, last year still saw a worryingly high number of regulatory breaches uncovered by the DLA Piper GDPR Data Breach Survey.
The UK in particular saw a total of 10,600 breaches, making it the third worst offender in Europe.
Based on that, we don’t think it’s going too far to say that it’s worth reiterating those key regulatory provisos that can place you and your colleagues in the firing line if not adhered to.
GDPR regulates the methods by which one acquires that all-important customer data we mentioned before, as well as the use of it. The objective is essentially to ensure that companies aren’t storing or using it without good reason.
Call centres must take consent from customers before recording their conversations, and they must also give customers an option to either grant or deny consent to be recorded, before the call takes place.
Customers also have the right to ask contact centres to edit or delete any data about them, and organisations have an absolute maximum of around a month to fulfil these requests once they’ve been made.
So the next question is, how do we juggle customer experience and compliance? And how do we do so in a way that they don’t conflict with each other, but complement each other instead?
Here are a few things we would recommend...
Transparency is key
Be up front, and ensure the conversation regarding your customers and their data is conducted openly and as immediately as possible.
Don’t forget that feeling safe and protected can play into those customer satisfaction rates too!
Customers need to feel they can trust the person they’re dealing with, and ultimately want to be assured that you are treating their information seriously and sensitively.
There can be an apprehension among agents when confronted with a need to explain legislative measures to customers, but ultimately, you’re doing this to show that you have their security, privacy at heart.
If you can position it this way in your conversation with them, then you’re golden.
Redefining certain success metrics
The impact of recent compliance developments has challenged sales, marketing, inbound and outbound teams across all industries to reassess their yardsticks of success.
Keeping a high volume of contact emails can’t just be a self-serving pat on the back anymore. It simply isn’t worth the risk.
Ask yourself why you have the data you do, and consider these two questions every time
1) Is it fair?
2) Are they aware?
This approach will not only cover your back in terms of data regulations, but will likely help improve the relationships you have with your customers as well.
Compliance is just a good excuse to build deeper connections with your customers, based on honesty and understanding. It might just bring the added bonus of more referrals and revenue.
Make compliance self-serviceable
We’ve mentioned before how one aspect of a brilliant customer experience is autonomy. Giving them the control to be the navigator of their own journey should they so choose.
Why not give your customers the same freedoms when it comes to managing their own data?
More organisations are giving their users the ability to ‘turn their data on and off’ as they see fit through web portals and other options across their various communications channels.
And as above, this can help strengthen those bonds of trust between you and your customers, which can give you a competitive edge and potentially even drive indirect revenue.
Remember, it’s an ongoing process
Overall, what recent developments in compliance really demand of contact centres is a bit of consideration.
And that they don’t simply treat the privacy and data protection of their customers as a box-ticking exercise.
Every strand of data should have an evident and worthwhile purpose. Commit to this, and accept that is a process of continual finessing.
The ultimate goal is to embed compliance into the culture of your organisation, and this can only materialise from a consistent level of effort in the long term.
Continue to be considerate and proactive about the needs of your customers, especially their privacy and safety. Weave this into the fabric of your contact centre, and you will be sure to see a positive knock-on effect on the service you can deliver.
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