The new Consumer Protection Act (CPA), which came into effect on 1 April 2011, has altered the business landscape and ensured that South African consumers are among the most protected in the world. To enable alignment with the drive to implement fair business practices and safeguard consumer rights, Bytes Connect has trained its 400 contact centre employees to be CPA-compliant.
It has also put in place all measures required, such as call logging and voice recording, to run the contact centres in line with the new regulations.
“We’ve skilled up our staff so that all communication with consumers – through various channels – fulfils the requirements set out by the CPA,” says Grace Duarte, contact centres executive at Bytes Connect.
“This goes beyond policies and procedures and forms part of Bytes Technology Group’s governance, risk and compliance strategy. Integration of compliance and legislative requirements across the company ensures fair practices during every interaction with consumers. It means our clients can rest assured when it comes to abiding by the law.”
The CPA aims to promote and advance the social and economic welfare of consumers, create a legal framework for them, regulate unfair and deceptive business practice and unfair contracts, cater for dispute resolution, and promote consumer education.
The Act demands that organisations implement rigorous recordkeeping practices. All interactions with consumers, whether by phone or e-mail, must be kept on record for three years at least.
“Beyond call recording, which has long been standard in contact centres, we have sophisticated technology and systems that include encrypted voice logging, content management and workforce optimisation solutions. Bytes Connect is able to record conversations with customers, store that data in the correct format, making it easy to access when necessary and have it printed.”
Duarte says Bytes Connect customers, which include some of the country’s top ICT groups, have the assurance that should any dispute arise, they will have access to voice recording that substantiate the accuracy of information provided to or received by consumers. “Our systems protect both the company’s clients and our own employees,” she adds.
According to Duarte, compliance with the CPA has made it possible for Bytes Connect to streamline the quality, performance and effectiveness of its contact centres. “At present, our monitoring systems show that our call quality is at 98%, making us one of the most successful contact centres in the country.”
Bytes Connect employs staff on a fixed-term contract or permanent basis. Duarte says this lowers employee turnover and paves the way for meaningful career development.
“Our staff are housed in a modern, attractive environment which includes a canteen, recreation areas and access to shopping and gym facilities, all of which add to employee satisfaction and enhanced performance.”