At the ATA (American Teleservices Association) meeting, one of the exciting topics was self-regulation for call centers. If the terms “teleservices” and “call center” are meaningless to you, consider the more common, but less preferred label of “telemarketing.”
Yeah, telemarketers — those folks who call you during dinner time. Although teleservices includes telemarketing calls, it encompasses so much more. It is also the people who answer the phone when you call a company, as well as those who respond to your emails and text messages.
Anyway, the idea of self-regulated call centers may seem nonsensical to you. However, unlike many industries’ attempts at self-regulation, which can be categorized as disingenuous or inadequate, ATA’s efforts, I believe, are poised for success.
In essence, they are taking call center best-practices, the intent of politicians, and the desires of consumers to advance standards for call centers to follow. This fall the first certified auditors will be trained and the first compliant call centers, earning the seal of approval, are expected to be named in October.
This isn’t going to have an immediate, across-the-board impact, but it will be a significant step in the right direction. As more call centers earn the “seal” and more companies seek to do business with certified call centers, we will increasingly see “telemarketers” with a more customer-centric attitude.
And when that happens, self-regulation will have worked.
Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is the publisher and editor-in-chief of Connections Magazine, covering the call center teleservices industry.