Call centres get help to comply with new abandoned calls ruling

Comstor and Braxtel have begun the process of alerting resellers to changes in legislation which will affect UK contact centres’ outbound activities.

The updates to the Communications Act 2003, which came into effect in March this year, call for a reduction of the percentage of ‘silent’ or abandoned telephone calls generated by predictive or ‘power’ diallers used by outbound call centres to three per cent.

Diallers are used to maximise the amount of time a call centre agent is actually talking on the phone by constantly delivering pre-dialled, live callers for the agent to respond to.

A dialler calls ahead to eliminate unanswered and engaged numbers which account for up to two-thirds of all calls. Diallers then use differing algorithms to constantly predict and match the number of available call centre agents to the number of live calls.

Issues arise when there are no spare agents in the call centre available to take a live call so that the call receiver hears silence or a ‘dead’ tone when he picks up the receiver.

Earlier this year, the Government’s telecommunications regulator Ofcom tightened up the regulations in Communications Act 2003 concerning persistent misuse of telecoms networks by call centres.

This stipulates a maximum abandoned call rate of three per cent of live calls over 24-hours; a two second limit on the time a dialler can hold the caller awaiting agent availability; and requires archiving of call records for at least six months for review purposes.

Ofcom can impose a maximum fine of £50,000 per breach of any of these rules.