GDPR and Call Centers

What is GDPR?

Thanks to the several data protection lawsuits and concerns from small and big organizations like the Facebook data saga, GDPR was implemented. GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is an EU legislation put in place on May 25, 2019, to protect the data of Europeans who interact with businesses and platforms around the globe.

One way of looking at the GDPR is as an upgrade to the Data Protection Directive (DPD), the UK Data Protection Act, and other similar data protection regulations. This new legislation puts in the hands of EU citizens total control of their data.

How GDPR affects call centers

  1. GDPR applies to every organization that stores and processes the data of EU citizens, no matter where the organization operates. This regulation does not only apply to organizations that come in contact with the data of EU citizens; companies that do business or have some presence in an EU country are also subject to GDPR.

The primary aim of GDPR is to protect the data privacy of EU citizens, as well as giving customers a say over their personal data. Your callers’ voice files are their personal data; hence, call recording is classified as data processing under the Data Protection Act of 1998 (DPA) and covered by GDPR. With this regulation in place, call centers must first ensure that they only record calls after explicit confirmation from the customer. Also, organizations now have to only record calls that fall under one of the following criteria:

  1. The caller gave consent to have their voice recorded. The consent can be in the form of a customer agreement, a confirmation by message, or even orally, in the course of the call.
  2. The purpose of the recording is in the interest of the public.
  3. It is required to secure the interests of a participant in the call.
  4. The call recording is needed to complete a contract in which the caller is a party.
  5. The call center needs the recording to satisfy its legal requirement.

Tips for call center GDPR compliance

Understand user consent

GDPR is all about user data; it determines how you collect, process, and store it. Call centers handle tons of data, and tighter rules regulate the handling of customer calls. To ensure that your call center is not violating this regulation, here are some questions you should ask about your policies and setup:

  1. Why do we collect user data?
  2. Do we store the data locally or externally?
  3. Do we need all of this data?
  4. How do we discard data in a manner that meets GDPR requirements?
  • Check your providers’ GDPR compliance

External providers typically handle customers’ data that you collect, and so you must be sure that these providers are also operating under the guidelines of GDPR. A way to do this is by defining the rules at the start of every partnership. 

  • Customer consent

Most call centers record user calls for several reasons, such as training and assessment purposes. However, with GDPR coming into full play, before recording or archiving a call, centers will need to request the callers’ permission to do so.

  • Customers’ access to their data

This new regulation does not end at mandating call centers to handle users’ data ethically; GDPR also requires that the data you keep must be readily accessible to customers in a structured digital format. Call centers have a month from the request to make the data available to them.

  • Be open to customers about data breaches

Now that the customers are decision-makers when it comes to handling their personal data, GDPR requires that in the event of a data breach, organizations must notify their customers and the relevant authorities within 72 hours. Not all data breaches must be reported, however. You are only mandated to report the ones that affects the customer’s data specifically. The reporting can also be delayed past 72 hours under certain circumstances.

  • Right to be forgotten

Customers’ right to access their data is crucial, as you sleep better, knowing how personal information about you that is kept by an organization. Additionally, if the customer does not approve of the data stored, or for some reason does not want to continue, GDPR gives them the right to request that you delete their information.

GDPR compliance

Any organization that abides by the tips above will be pretty much GDPR compliant. Knowing your providers’ policies is crucial and cannot be overemphasized, because most times, that is a factor that is not entirely in your control. With that said, it is your duty and in your best interest to monitor conversations to determine if your support resources are adhering to the regulation guidelines. A smart solution that you can integrate into your setup to monitor everything about the phone calls in your call center is a speech analyzer.

Speech Analyzers for Call Centers

A speech analyzer is basically a virtual supervisor; it is an AI-powered third ear listening to your inbound and outbound call center phone calls. It’s not as simple as this; however, these pieces of software analyze everything – voice tones, awkward pauses, emotions, one-sided conversations, and most importantly, in this context, GDPR and other regulatory compliance.

Without speech analyzers, hours would be spent listening to calls and scrutinizing conversations manually. On the other hand, a speech analyzer such as Speech Analyzer automates all of those tasks efficiently. Speech Analyzer analyzes conversations in real-time, monitoring for emotional triggers as well as trigger keywords.

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The use of call centers is primarily to offer support to clients and customers. The