Talking about compliance and competitive advantage in the same sentence can sound like a bit of an oxymoron, writes Andrew White, but as today’s security and risk management professionals face an ever more complex regulatory landscape, not only meeting compliance requirements, but also looking at how that investment might be turned into an advantage is a challenge and a goal that many companies are grappling with right now.
Today, the implementation of stricter privacy regulations and the tightening of financial conduct governance means businesses must ensure they meet regulatory requirements in every aspect of their client relationships. Failure to do so exposes the organisation to compliance risk, which can result in crippling fines, legal penalties, loss of revenue and, of course, severely impact the organisation’s reputation.
As mentioned, there’s more than just the regulatory aspect to compliance to consider. Businesses need to make every customer interaction a true reflection of the company’s brand values, while also gaining maximum performance from sales and customer service teams. Applying compliance techniques to these corporate challenges pays dividends.
Regulatory compliance in the data age
Compliance is a growing challenge for every sector and is regularly cited as one of the top risk concerns of Board directors. Likewise, an era of heightened consumer awareness has been ushered in by PPI claims and consolidated by the high-profile implementation of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation.
Customers know the value of their data so monitoring and documenting/recording all customer interactions is critical. Given the vast number of interactions that may be subject to regulation, a technology-driven approach is the only way in which to achieve full visibility and assurance. In this environment, Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered speech and voice recognition and analytics is proving its value in the contact centre for both historical compliance auditing and real-time compliance support.
The rigour and complexity of the modern regulatory environment means compliance must be a high priority for business. Applying speech intelligence to this process offers greater control (there’s less room for human error) and assurance and insight to the Board.
That said, regulatory compliance should not be the only motivation for businesses in monitoring the quality, content and consistency of their customer communications. Here, they can turn the compliance process into an advantage and a way of honing the brand and increasing revenue.
Brand power is one of the most important assets of consumer-focused businesses today and has a direct impact on corporate revenues. While brand managers have a high degree of control over the messages conveyed for activities such as marketing and advertising, that control lessens the closer the business comes to the customer.
Once contact becomes direct, through phone, text or video chat, it’s more difficult to influence the content and direction of the interaction. Yet it’s these direct touch-points that, more than any others, have the potential to communicate the brand’s personality and values.
Knowing how agents are conducting calls and chats helps to deliver that all-important consistency and speech intelligence and AI-derived analysis can deliver this type of insight. The technology can listen out for key phrases and calls containing those phrases can be analysed to establish whether there are common issues that are prompting certain actions, such as a customer cancelling an order.
Speech intelligence also comes into its own when coaching contact centre agents to conduct calls according to brand guidelines. The technology listens during the call to monitor brand consistency. Real-time prompts ensure that the required questions are asked, in the same way as for regulatory compliance questions, so the business gains access to the information it needs in order to make improvements.
In this way, brand managers can protect the brand during critical ‘close-to-the-customer’ interactions across telephone, video and chat channels ensuring that the customer receives a consistent experience whichever route they might choose.
Sales process compliance
We all know that the sales team is the engine of a customer-focused business and sales executives and their managers build strategies around knowing their customers. In order to do this they need a 360-degree view of all communications and conversations. In fact, evidence shows that 50% of highly performing businesses have a closely monitored and formal sales process.
For sales teams that conduct outbound calls, real-time speech intelligence software helps ensure that they adhere to the sales process and obtain all the relevant information from the customer. Calls can also be analysed retrospectively to establish what percentage are compliant and this metric then linked to sales figures to establish the strength of connection between adherence to the defined process and strong sales figures.
Value of compliance beyond risk mitigation
It’s important for businesses to recognise that compliance has a value beyond simply mitigating regulatory risk. Powered by technology that delivers full visibility into customer interactions, compliance efforts can be used strategically to obtain business advantage. This can help to unlock major opportunities to create sales revenue and support brand experience consistency and, ultimately, build a more successful enterprise.
Today’s speech intelligence and AI-powered analytics enable businesses to turn compliance into a commercial advantage. By delivering metrics, analysis and real-time support, it’s possible to offer compliance teams, brand managers and sales team managers the comprehensive insight they need in order to conquer the compliance challenge as well as turn compliance into a competitive differentiator.
Andrew White is CEO at Contexta 360