Contact Centre

Check Ofcom compliance to improve your contact centre health

Most businesses and contact centre managers know the importance of Ofcom compliance. But with requirements and enforcement processes changing all the time, it’s essential to keep up with the latest guidelines.

The Government continues to consider nuisance calls a ‘blight on society’ with hundreds of thousands of complaints made each year. While the Information Commissioner’s Office has announced that directors could face fines of up to £500,000, this is just one part of a tougher stance from multiple bodies.

In December 2016, Ofcom updated its policies on ‘Persistent Misuse’. While it’s something we’ve already covered in-depth (click here to read our summary and suggestions), it’s a great opportunity for you to check your current position, reflect on compliance, and protect your contact centre against potential fines and reputational damage.

Our practical guidelines and recommendations will help you improve your contact centre compliance while using a predictive dialler.

Measuring and minimising silent and abandoned calls

Your Ofcom compliance health check should begin with the most common complaint of all – silent and abandoned calls.

Silent calls occur when those who answer are not connected to an agent. Common causes include incorrect Answer Machine Detection or diallers that take too long to connect calls. Abandoned calls typically occur when a call is connected but no agent is available. Instead, customers hear an automated message.

With Ofcom’s most recent changes, the previous 3% threshold for abandoned calls has been removed. While there was never an acceptable rate for dropped calls, there's now an increased chance that even small-scale offences will be subject to enforcement.

We recommend:

  • Monitoring your abandon rate daily
  • Using an appropriate abandon call message for every campaign, eliminating silent calls
  • Checking that your system connects calls within 2 seconds
  • Configuring your dialler to ring for at least 18 seconds – long enough to get an answer, but below the time that most answering machines would cut in

Displaying accurate numbers and enabling inbound calls

As you’d expect, Ofcom continues to demand that contact centres conduct themselves with transparency and clarity. Specifically, Ofcom is becoming tougher on contact centres that misrepresent themselves through withheld numbers or misleading Caller Line Identification (CLI) numbers.

If your business has multiple locations and you're using local numbers as CLIs to represent those locations, this would be allowable. If not, you should almost certainly not be using local CLIs that may be misleading. It’s also essential that customers can reach an agent on the number they have been presented with.

We recommend:

  • Never presenting mobile numbers from your dialler
  • Allowing inbound callers to leave a message if agents aren't available on your CLIs

Giving customers the right to opt-out

The right to opt-out and checking data against the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) and Corporate TPS (CTPS) has always been an essential part of Ofcom compliance. Ofcom continues to confirm that the ultimate responsibility for data lists and non-consensual marketing lies with contact centres, not data providers.

You'll also need to keep track of customers that exercise their right to opt out. Your dialler should include call options for ‘do not call’ and this should be acted on immediately, as well as checked against any further data you plan to load and call.

We recommend:

  • Screening all data against both the TPS and CTPS databases
  • Checking your processes for customers to opt-in
  • Making it easy for customers to opt-out on the phone, then using call dispositions to check future data for these numbers

If you’re concerned about your compliance, the right technology can help you improve your visibility over silent and abandoned calls.

Contact Hostcomm today on 0808 168 4400 to find out more about our Ofcom-compliant hosted dialler and contact centre services.

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