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May 01, 2013

SoundBite Communications Expands Compliance Capabilities with New Contact Controls

It is no secret that compliance and corporate governance challenges are top of mind for enterprise IT professionals, particularly in the developed world. A litany of regulatory mandates has put a premium on people who know how to do audits and enforce rules, and on solutions that can help companies reduce risks. This is especially true when it comes to empowering contact centers because of their high touch interactions with customers and their confidential data. Regulations regarding these interactions are extensive and care must be taken.

Bedford, Mass.-based SoundBite Communications (News - Alert) specializes in providing advanced cloud-based customer experience solutions Its Contact Controls offering limits contact attempt frequency by device across automated voice messaging, predictive dialing, text, and e-mail channels. As the company explains, this is a very big challenge for compliance officers. In fact, over one-third of all debt collection complaints filed with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC (News - Alert)) focus on so-called “repeat calls.” The problem is that most collections efforts require repeat outreach and hence, outbound collections walk a delicate line between being persistent and becoming a nuisance bordering on harassment. 

What this all means is that contact centers now have an imperative to strategically manage the number of outreach attempts to debtors. The risks to debt collectors because of compliance rules are huge, and the complexity of managing what is considered appropriate contact is complicated and becoming more so as contact center outreach goes multi-channel. SoundBite’s Contact Controls does as the name implies. It helps contact center administrators limit contact attempt frequency by device across automated voice messaging, predictive dialing, text, and email channels.

As SoundBite says, “Controlling total contact attempts across multiple communications channels is now possible for companies seeking to: achieve higher overall standards for contact center compliance, tighten costs associated with outreach, improve control over their collections operations, and provide a better consumer experience. “

Contact Controls is an enhancement to SoundBite’s Compliance Suite for cross-channel communications. It provides a deep level of strategic control over contact frequency and is designed specifically to mitigate risk by prohibiting numbers from being contacted; ensuring agents adhere to client and regulatory requirements. 

Just as important, as anyone who has gone through the painful exercise of keeping customer contact information current knows, the solution also lets organizations stay current on consumer mobility and phone portability, and on such vital information as consumer consent, profile data along with the historical information on contact attempts and their outcomes.

How complicated is the world getting? The answer is very. For example, SoundBite’s compliance solution helps clients manage compliance and adapt their strategies as new demands are imposed from various regulatory agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Federal Communications Commission (FCC (News - Alert)) and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). It helps enterprises deal with such things in the U.S. as the:

  • Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)
  • Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)
  • Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
  • Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI (News - Alert) DSS)
  •  Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act (GLBA)
  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requirements

Client-defined Contact Controls settings allow organizations to:

  • Define total contact attempts across and within channels including voice (predictive dialer, manual dialer, automated voice messaging), text message dialogs, and e-mail
  • Limit the number of contact attempts by device, including landline and mobile 
  • Set the maximum number of voice messages that can be left on any device
  • Customize the specified timeframe for contact limits
  •  Manage settings at the account and campaign levels

“SoundBite’s Contact Controls offers a deeper level of compliance and governance for contact centers, including those employing multi-channel communications campaign strategies,” said Tim Segall, chief technology officer at SoundBite Communications. “Organizations seeking to reduce exposure to risk and meet client and CFPB, FCC, and FTC rules will benefit greatly from this enhancement. They can also expect to minimize the costs of excessive contact re-queue attempts, increase campaign ROI, and improve customer experience by avoiding contacting individuals too frequently—goals that are top of mind with collections, customer care, and marketing organizations.” 

The contact center has correctly been called the “front door of your value chain.” It is also an increasing cross-road for the aggregation and use of confidential customer information and a generator of important data that needs to be tracked and stored for compliance reasons. Contact centers have transformed into much more than just places where customers go to complain or where outbound marketing and collections activities occur. In short, from a risk management perspective they need to be state-of-the-art because the penalties of non-compliance are significant. These are not just in the form of monetary penalties levied by regulators but also because of the damage publicity of non-compliance can cause the brand. SoundBIte’s Compliance Suite with the Contact Controls enhancement demonstrates that there are tools available to take some of the risks out of risk management.

Edited by Jamie Epstein

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