While spring isn’t quite here yet, one area that continues to heat up is the call center arena. There was lots of news this past week, and we have the highlights. But, it starts off with a caveat about the toll working in a call center can take on your health.
Countless research has proven a sedentary life can have a negative effect on the overall health of individuals. A recently released National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which surveyed 2,200 people aged 60 and older, revealed that sitting too much can increase the risk of disability in this age group. According to the study's lead author, Dorothy Dunlop, a professor of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, adults in this group increased their risk of being unable to perform daily activities such as bathing, dressing and walking by 50 percent for each additional hour they spend sitting.
Still, many companies are finding new ways to run the contact center that can solve the most pressing problems, TMCnet’s Tracey Schelmetic reported. Organizations are now trying to meet customer expectations while turning the call center into a source of income. For some companies, this has involved combining the contact center function with the sales and service functions. By cross-training call center employees, inside sales teams and technical support employees to create a wider “total customer support” center, companies can pull the income from extended cross-selling, upselling and warranties into the call center and spread the wealth around.
In other news, the Los Angeles Fire Department, currently under fire for slow response times to emergency calls, is in the process of revising its contact center scripts to eliminate extraneous questions that don’t seem designed to help ascertain the nature of the emergency. In many cases, the questions were designed for information gathering for administrative purposes, not for emergency responders, according to a recent article by ABC news. The current script, which is 25 years old, is based on a computerized system that requires dispatchers to classify the emergency calls into one of hundreds of different categories before being able to dispatch the call. The problem is so well known that is has been lampooned in the press.
It was also reported last week that the FCC (News - Alert) has revised its TCPA rules of written procedures to comply with the national do-not-call rules. It requires businesses that conduct specific lead-generation activities, such as telemarketing or advertising, to become compliant with the rules set forth in the document 47 U.S.C. § 227 when using any automatic telephone dialing system or an artificial or prerecorded voice machine. Calls with a commercial purpose without written consent are not allowed, unless the call initiated is for emergency purposes or is exempted – i.e., calls that are manually dialed and do not contain a pre-recorded message are exempt from the TCPA. The new rules might seem penalizing for marketers and only the call centers. In reality, the new TCPA amendments, which provide consumers with options to avoid unwanted telephone solicitations, “bring[s] clarity, accountability and transparency to all parties involved,” says DC Cullinane, CEO of ThinkingVoice, a company that provides software that helps call centers improve compliance and agent optimization.