10 Policies Every Call Center Operation Must Have
Whether you are setting up a new call center or updating an older one, there are certain policies that you need to have in place. Most of these policies come from the need to keep your organization as secure as possible. Keep in mind, there are a few that you will need to have your attorney approve before you use them.
Every single employee needs to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Your NDA needs to cover the confidentiality of three things: your technical systems (systems, techniques, inventions, patents), business information (customer lists, pricing data, financial data, marketing materials), and customer information (no customer data ever leaves the workspace). Signing and understanding that they are legally bound to hold everything confidential are paramount. The staff also needs to know how this will be enforced along with the repercussions if they are non-compliant.
2. Social Media Engagement Policy
You have to be certain that your staff knows what they can post on social media in regards to work. They should feel free to post where they work, along with any positive thing about their job and coworkers. However, they cannot post anything representing themselves as the spokesperson of your company, anything slanderous or defamatory, or any content harassing customers, clients, or employees.
3. Background Check Authorization
If you are not currently doing background checks on employees, you may want to in the future. So, have everyone sign that they agree to this. Making this form part of their on-boarding paperwork should help to keep it simple. When an applicant knows that there is a possibility of a background check being done, it may help eliminate some unsavory characters from your center.
4. A/V Recording Consent
Your agents probably already know they are being recorded on every call for quality assurance purposes. You aren’t trying to catch people doing things wrong. You are trying to keep everyone safe. In order to do so, cameras, with microphones, are often set up in the common areas. Every employee must sign a document consenting to this. No exceptions. Without expressed written consent, if an issue arises, your recordings may not be admissible. Consult your attorney to be sure you are following all local laws when it comes to recording your employees.
5. Attendance Policy
We use a policy that states each week an employee works their full shift, they can earn the right to increase their base rate of pay. We also explain the policies and procedures for when they must miss work including when they need to bring in a medical note or when they might face a suspension. There should be no gray-area or subjectivity that ever comes into play with these rules. Put your policies on paper and follow them.
6. Dress Code
These will vary by center. There are some centers whose policy is that they have no dress code. While our center is not the norm, we are a shirt-and-tie organization, which comes from working with financial services for so long. Do you have specific guidelines for footwear or head coverings? Is there anything your employees need to know about tattoos or piercings? Personal hygiene should be also be given consideration. Cologne, perfume, scented lotions, and scented hand sanitizers are all things that can trigger allergic reactions, which is why you may want to ask your employees not to use them. Whatever rules you decide, put them in place, and enforce them.
7. Drugs and Alcohol
Regulations regarding drugs and alcohol are ever-changing. Your attorney will be able to advise you if your policies are legal and enforceable. A simple policy stating that workers cannot be under the influence of drugs or alcohol at work should be beneficial. Start there with your attorney. They will be able to advise you on the permissible repercussions which could range from helping the employee find treatment to their termination. While this has never been a big problem for us, we are very vigilant and our reps all understand this. Protect yourselves and consult your attorney to create your policies.
8. ID Name Badges
All employees need to be wearing ID badges. Some call centers have areas with higher security areas. To be PCI compliant you need to be sure that the only people on your floor are the people who are supposed to be there. Along with the policy of always wearing a badge, there need to be policies in place that dictate what happens if a badge is lost. Does the employee pay to replace their badge, or do they get one free replacement? What happens to their badge when someone is no longer employed with you?
9. Call Offs
When you hire an employee, you have to be sure they know the logistics of calling off from work. Can they call and leave a message at any time? Do they need to speak to a manager? Employees need to know how many times they are allowed to call off before something happens. In your policy be sure to discuss what happens if someone starts calling off too frequently, as well.
10. Cell Phones and Wearable Technology
If an agent is having a bad day or is angry with a rude customer, easy access to their phone’s camera is a recipe for disaster. If they were to share personal customer information on a live stream, or even through photos, things will get ugly fast for everyone involved, which is one of the many reasons to prohibit all cell phones and wearable technology on the call center floor.
Putting these policies into place may take some planning. In the beginning, take your supervisors to lunch and explain that prohibiting cell phones and wearable tech on the floor is the best way to keep everyone secure and protected. Give them examples of what could go wrong. Explain how this policy will help prevent fraud and allow for PCI compliance. They will buy into the plan if you explain it properly. A few days later, take your floor leaders to lunch and do the same thing. They will buy into your plan and be able to talk to others on the floor who are concerned. There will be people who believe you won’t enforce your policy. We’ve got a plan for that.
Call your superstar floor manager that everyone loves into your office. Ask her to “forget” her phone is in her pocket on her next shift and to then get “caught” using it. Tell her that you are going to enforce the suspension that is part of your policy. Of course, you will pay her during this suspension–maybe you could even add a bonus for being “embarrassed” and not spilling the beans. When the reps see you suspend your superstar, they will learn that you aren’t joking around.
“What if my kid gets sick at school?” is one of the most received responses when people learn of our cell phone ban. What happened in 1990 when Susie got sick at school? The nurse would call Susie’s parent’s employer and asked to have a message relayed to Susie’s parent. The same thing happens now. After getting the message, Susie’s dad can take a quick break, and go to a secure area to call the school and see what is going on.
Every workplace has policies they cannot do without. This list includes the most important ones for call centers. Once your attorney has approved them have every employee sign off on them to protect your business, your customers, and your employees.