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Q: We’re a teleservices company, and like many regulated businesses we’re feeling more pressure to comply with guidelines that get stricter by the day. Any best practices you can fill us in on
to improve our compliance program and recording processes?

A: It sounds as if you have a good foundation with a compliance program and recording processes already in place. Yet as frequently as guidelines change, compliance requires constantly finding ways to better integrate your recording technology with your organization’s business rules, scoring methods, and ability to improve agent performance through coaching and ongoing mentoring.

Here are four recording and quality assurance best practices that can help your business meet regulatory guidelines.

Training and mentoring. To initially train new agents (and enterprise employees), use recordings of “ideal” interactions that clearly meet compliance, followed by recordings of “less than ideal” interactions that contrast. These barometers clearly demonstrate the right and wrong way to handle customer situations. Thereafter, ongoing mentoring lets you continually train employees on new and updated regulatory statutes.

________________________"If agents have no idea when we're listening, they're more likely to internalize the right behavior and make compliance a habit."
Also to supplement training processes, post recorded files to an Intranet site or e-mail them directly to employees for anytime access and self-directed training. Supervisors should additionally take advantage of real-time monitoring solutions now on the market to oversee live interactions and simultaneously conduct mentoring sessions. This approach lets a supervisor address bad habits while they’re occurring and stop them immediately.

Assessing and coaching agents. The rules of thumb here are as much psychology as they are best practices:

• Determine and utilize the preferred method of learning for each agent, whether auditory, visual, or kinetic, in which a person learns via physical actions. Because compliance information is often complex, matching learning methods with an agent’s personality type improves comprehension.

• Supplement real-time monitoring with reviews of recorded interactions. Recordings in this case can fill the blanks for supervisors who get pulled away from an interaction they’re actively monitoring.

• Acquire an accurate statistical sample for regulatory adherence. The more agent-customer interactions a supervisor can review, the more accurate the sampling in judging an agent’s performance.

• Assess performance on a regular basis to provide feedback and ensure that employees don’t misinterpret compliance rulings. By evaluating a certain percentage of interactions every 2 weeks, for example, agents are more apt to show continuous improvement.

• Set recording rules and monitoring sessions to review interactions randomly. Or in the words of one savvy supervisor: “If agents have no idea when we’re listening, they’re more likely to internalize the right behavior and make compliance a habit.”

Recording rules flexibility. The best protection against penalties naturally is to record all interactions and media types. At the least, however, your recording solution should let you configure rules-based processes for those interactions certain to face regulatory scrutiny, such as outbound campaigns to a particular state or province. Recording rules should also cover transaction-laden interactions routed to queues such as Telemarketing and Order Processing & Fulfillment, plus those identified in customers’ IVR selections, protected by HIPAA patient privacy requirements and so on.

Scoring recorded interactions. Scoring demonstrates good faith toward compliance. Your recording solution should therefore equip you to create scorecard templates that include a date and time stamp for scoring events, along with the name of the person performing the scoring. In the eyes of most compliance auditors, such measures indicate that your organization is making a concerted effort to achieve conformance, as do these best practices when designing a scorecard:

• Keep the scoring process objective, and thoroughly instruct all scorers on the purpose of each question.

• Word questions in a positive rather than negative context.

• Provide room for freeform comments, with at least one freeform question per subject area.

• Grade questions by weighting them according to their importance.

• Determine how to score Not Applicable (N/A) questions for unexpected items or activities that don’t occur during an interaction, and how to handle escalated issues.

• Conduct regular scoring calibration sessions to maintain uniformity among persons who score and evaluate interactions.

With recordings increasingly serving as evidence in non-compliance lawsuits, proving 100% compliance must be the goal for any business. And the more attention you pay to your compliance program and recording practices, the less chance you’ll get stuck with a 6-figure fine and tarnished business reputation.


Tim Passios is Director of Product Marketing for Interactive Intelligence Inc. and has more than 16 years experience in the contact center industry. Interactive Intelligence is a leading provider of IP business communications software and services for the contact center and the enterprise, with more than 2,500 installations in nearly 70 countries. For more information, contact Interactive Intelligence at [email protected] or (317) 872-3000.

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