The Legal Aspects of Business Communication
There are many factors call centers have to consider when it comes to the legal aspects of business communication. Before we dig into the details, let's start at a high level. Some key factors all call centers should take into account when communicating with customers and handling their data are:
- Recorded call disclaimer.
- Abide by HIPAA regulations.
- High security for customer data.
- Periodic auditing of communication protocols and security practices.
- Avoiding people on do-not-call lists.
- Adhering to international laws.
As you can see, there are a number of complex issues to deal with. Often call centers have a dedicated team to help with legal compliance and monitoring, keeping up to date with the latest laws and enforcing compliance is a full-time job.
Let's look at a few of the above legal aspects. Anytime a call is being recorded, a disclaimer should be announced. These are often pre-recorded. After the disclaimer is announced, the rep can proceed with the call. Laws governing recorded calls vary by state but using a disclaimer all the time is a good catch-all.
HIPAA regulations apply to call centers within the healthcare industry. There are regulations regarding communication and data. For customers leaving voicemails, these should be encrypted and have controlled access. Only staff with the correct permissions should be able to listen to customer voicemails since they can contain sensitive information.
Another component of HIPAA is the security of data, which gets into the point about high security as well. Customer data should be encrypted. In the event of a hack, thieves can't read encrypted data. There is a chance they can decrypt the data but the use of a strong encryption algorithm will greatly increase the probability that the data remains encrypted.
Call centers should periodically audit their communication and data security protocols to ensure they're keeping up with the latest business communication laws and that certain protocols haven't become outdated.
Additionally, stressing protocols is also a good idea. This is done by having a staff pose as a customer and call in then try to force a break in the communications protocol. Additionally, the call center can hire consultants to try and break their data encryption or attempt to hack the system. These stress tests will expose vulnerabilities.
Do-not-call lists are ignored by some call centers. Ignoring these lists risk big fines from the FTC. It's simply not worth it. Avoid these lists at all cost.
The legal aspects of business communication in international law is a very complex topic. Because of this reason, International companies depend on legal counsel in specific countries to help ensure they are following all communications laws.
How Do CCaaS, UCaaS, and VoIP Play A Role?
Communications software plays a big role in legal compliance. Most modern call centers use cloud-based communications software. Not all communications providers are created equal. Some do not adhere to legal communication best practices. Since all call centers should abide by legal communication practices, there isn't much reason to go with a software provider who does not.
Areas in which software helps with legal compliance are playing automated, pre-recorded messages at the beginning of each call to let customers know the call is being recorded. Of course, if the call is not being recorded, the message doesn't need to be played. But the communications software will know if a call is being recorded based on how the call center has configured the software.
Communications software can also display the appropriate scripts based on what the customer is looking for. This helps keep reps from going off track and running into legal issues.
Encryption of voice data and any files can be automatically encrypted by the software. Appropriate access levels can be applied. This will ensure only staff with the right level of access is able to listen to customer calls or voicemails and view customer data.
To summarize the important points made when it comes to the legal aspects of business communication:
- If calls are being recorded, let customers know before the conversation begins.
- Voice calls and data should be encrypted and have access controls implemented.
- HIPAA regulations must be strictly followed for call centers in the healthcare industry.
- Not all call center software is legally compliant.
- Avoid do-not-call lists.
- Use local counsel for international laws.
When it comes to ensuring legal communication, 8x8 provides reliable and compliant cloud solutions at a demanding level rarely seen by other cloud providers. Don't take your chances with a subpar cloud-based telecom system. Call 1-866-879-8647 or fill out an online form to request a no-obligation quote from an 8x8 product specialist.