Complying to the various standards and laws affecting contact centres doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

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Simon Cranswick" />Despite being viewed as an operational headache, contact centre compliancy can set companies up to  deliver better customer service through process automation, says Simon Cranswick, General Manager of Customer Interactive Solutions for ’s Western Cape region.


Contact centres that deal with payment card details should aim to become certifi ed as a Level 1  compliant service provider with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) – the  industry’s highest level of payment account data certification. Practical examples of how this  impacts contact centres can be as basic as: Credit card numbers cannot be read out over the phone to  an agent and at the time of payment detail capture, the interaction needs to be passed over to an IVR  system for telephone keypad capture.

The contact centre also has to dynamically cease voice recording for privacy. Thereafter, the call must  be routed back to the agent who receives notifi cation that the details are valid. The agent needs to do  the back-end validation queries which ultimately drives overall effi ciencies.


A licensed Financial Services Operator (FSO) needs to be compliant with NCA requirements when  responsibly offering consumers any credit or additional credit.

Since this has come into effect, the FSOs have embraced it as an opportunity to further automate  processes that drive both compliance and effi ciencies. For instance, background checks and balanced  score card lookups that determine the risk and affordability profi les of the consumer can be  automated. So the process of offering credit is faster as the agent is empowered to provide the
consumer with the outcome whilst he or she is still on the line.


This Act has differing implications to the contact centre relative to the industry rendering the consumer service. However, whether the “sale” is a financial service product, a magazine, or a widget, all  organisations need to adhere to a “cooling-off” period.

This implicates daily sales targets and allocating revenue for commission recognition purposes until the  “cooling off” period has terminated. In addition, the complexity of “returns and cancellations” in this  period can have logistical implications that end up costing the consumer some money. The bottom line  is that whether the process is to offer best advice on a financial product or notifying the consumer of  delivery charges, the opportunity is for organisations to once again review their processes and  encapsulate the business rules/governance criteria in a contextualised and intuitive interface to the agent handling the interaction.


Although most organisations have been viewing adherence to these two Acts as a corporate headache,  it has forced many of them to undergo the beneficial process of much-needed data  cleansing. Companies have the opportunity to update its consumer knowledge database which  ultimately enhances targeted selling and customer satisfaction.


At its most basic, this compliancy standard protects personal information in that a company cannot  share a customer’s data with other organisations. This knowledge has to be redefined across the  organisation and once-off data-collection campaigns have to be integrated back into the organisation as a whole. If a customer rejects all further communication, this has to be honoured across all  departments, branches and channels of interaction.

Most importantly, organisations are now going to fi nd it diffi cult to pass on customer data by  selling/passing on “lists” for direct marketing activities. “All of the above laws are impacting South  African companies at the moment. The consequences of non-compliance can affect finances,  reputation, or even cause a complete loss of business,” says Cranswick. “But rather than focusing on the  negative aspects only, contact centre companies should realise that there are many positives that  can be gained from implementing adherence to them.”