Navigating contact center compliance with conversation intelligence

Madeline Jacobson

February 28, 2024

Not all heroes wear capes. Managing contact center compliance doesn’t sound like an exciting responsibility, but it’s incredibly important–especially in regulated industries. Compliance management is critical to ensuring your company is protecting your customers’ data and privacy, following all laws and regulations, and avoiding costly fines and reputation damage. 

As important as compliance is, most contact center supervisors don’t have the bandwidth to monitor every customer conversation for potential compliance breaches. Contact centers typically only conduct quality assurance (QA) reviews of 1-3% of their interactions, which leaves a lot of opportunities for potential compliance issues to slip by–until it’s too late.

Since QA managers or supervisors can’t be in every customer conversation at once, many contact centers are now turning to conversation intelligence software to scale their monitoring abilities. Conversation intelligence software automatically transcribes and analyzes all customer conversations for key behaviors and moments. It can flag potential compliance issues based on what your agents or customers are saying and alert the right team members whenever an issue occurs.

Below, we’ll take a closer look at how conversation intelligence can help your contact center reduce compliance risks. But first, let’s look at why it’s so important to avoid non-compliance.  

3 risks of non-compliance in the contact center

1. Financial and legal consequences

Failing to stay in compliance can cost your contact center in the form of fines, legal fees, or remediation. While fines vary depending on the regulations violated and the severity of the breach, they can be steep. For example, violating PCI-DDS–which sets standards for contact centers processing payment card information–can result in a fine of $500,000 per incident. Depending on the nature of the incident, businesses may also end up paying out legal settlements to customers. Bottom line: non-compliance is expensive.

2. Reputation damage

Businesses don’t just face financial consequences when there are compliance issues in their contact centers. These issues can erode trust with customers–especially if their sensitive data is exposed or put at risk. Highly publicized incidents can also cost you future customers, as people in your market may be more likely to turn to your competitors.

3. Customer churn

Compliance issues can cause your customers to take their business elsewhere, especially if they feel they can no longer trust your company. This can lead to an uptick in churn that has a very real financial impact.

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How conversation intelligence improves contact center compliance

When your contact center fields thousands of calls or chats a day, there are thousands of opportunities for compliance breaches. While most agents are likely trying their best to stay in compliance, human errors happen. For example, if an agent forgets to inform a customer they are being recorded or fails to verify the customer’s identity using the proper protocol, the call becomes non-compliant. 

Seemingly small mistakes can compound and have serious consequences. Juan Trevino, Sales Quality Manager at Spark Energy (a Tethr customer), shared the example of fee disclosures to illustrate this risk. “Imagine you have a product with a monthly service fee. If an agent doesn’t mention that fee during the verification process, that call becomes non-compliant, and the sale isn’t valid. If the agent runs 300 verification calls in the same day for that product, that’s 300 sales that you may potentially have to invalidate.”

So if compliance issues are occurring, how do you catch them quickly and prevent them from compounding? And how do you reduce the risk of compliance issues happening in the future?

There’s no way for a supervisor or QA manager to go through every interaction with a fine-tooth comb, looking for instances of non-compliance. Fortunately, there’s technology that can do this for you.

Conversation intelligence technology uses AI to analyze the words used in contact center conversations. It can flag specific events or topics in transcripts based on the phrases it detects, automatically trigger notifications when a certain event occurs, and create reports to show what’s happening in your conversations at scale.

Here’s a closer look at three of the ways conversation intelligence can improve contact center compliance:   

1. QA for 100% of conversations

One of the purposes of a quality assurance program is to monitor conversations for compliance risks. But considering most contact centers only have the bandwidth to manually QA about 1-3% of their conversations, there’s a lot of room for compliance issues to slip through the cracks.

Conversation intelligence software like Tethr enables you to automate objective QA criteria, including compliance requirements, such as verifying the customer’s identity or sharing a fee disclosure. That means you can track these behaviors across 100% of your conversations, giving your supervisors greater visibility and giving your agents an additional layer of accountability.  

Example of a verification report in Tethr

2. Real-time notifications for compliance risk

Conversation intelligence software can ingest and analyze conversations as they occur, helping you catch potential compliance issues before they escalate. Tethr allows you to set up automatic notifications to inform the appropriate team members as soon as a compliance issue occurs. This lets you follow up with customers as needed and get ahead of issues before they compound. 

Example of a legal threat alert

3. Identification of coaching needs

You can also use conversation intelligence software to identify coaching opportunities for your agents, helping you prevent future compliance issues. For example, Spark Energy uses Tethr to analyze their contact center calls for complaints and escalation threats. This helps them train agents to avoid behaviors associated with these negative outcomes–and provides a better experience for their customers.

How conversation intelligence benefits go beyond compliance

Conversation intelligence lets your contact center monitor every customer interaction so no compliance issues go undetected. But conversation intelligence software allows you to do more than just reduce your compliance risk. It helps you understand what’s going on in your contact center conversations, from the reasons your customers are calling to how effective your agents are at resolving their issues. You can look for trends across all your conversations and drill down to specific subsets of transcripts to answer questions such as, “What product issues are driving the most calls this month?” or “Which behaviors do our agents need additional coaching on?”

The insights you uncover with conversation intelligence software can inform product or service changes, agent coaching, marketing and sales strategies, and cost-saving initiatives. These changes have a direct impact on your customer experience, improving overall customer satisfaction and reducing your churn risk.

Compliance risk management may be your most immediate planned use for conversation intelligence software, but it doesn’t need to be your only one. Sharing conversation insights with decision-makers inside and outside of the contact center can help you reap both short- and long-term benefits. 

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