Wednesday, August 27, 2008

2008, New Brazilian Rules for Customer Service Centers

Here is some info I put together about a major event going-on on the Brazilian Telecom Marketing.

Brazilian Government has received thousands of complaints from customers over the last several years against Customer Service Centers on several different service areas. They have consolidated the "most common" complaints and put together a set of rules that companies will have to comply in order to avoid penalties.

On July 31st, 2008, the Brazilian Government made officially available a new set of rules on how the Customer Services Centers (Contact Centers) must deal with their customers. The new set of rules is supposed to make the customer interaction a lot more effective. Things like "All Customer Service representatives must be enabled in order to cancel immediately any services as per the customer request", "the customer cannot be transferred more than once after he/she reaches the first live agent", "the customer must be offered the option of talking to a live agent in the very first interaction with an Automatic Response System", "All Customer Service Centers must be enabled with TDD (Telecommunications device for the deaf) , "All interaction costs must be charged to the Enterprise and not to the customer", etc.

From the customer perspective I'm really happy - I'm one of those thousands of guys who have complained about the end-less waiting time on my cable company phone queues being brain-washed by advertisements!

Unfortunately, I could not find any English version of the regulations. The original document can be found at "
Decreto No 6523" from the Republic Presidency website.

Here is a quick summary with my own free (non-official, of course) translation:

Art 1 and 2 – This rule intends regulating all Contact Center activities regarding the Customer assistance. The rules defined here are not applied to Active Telemarketing.

Art 3 – All costs must be charged to the CC.

Art 4 – The IVR will always offer on the very first script the possibility to transfer to a live agent, complaints and Service Cancelation

  • Live assistance must be available from every IVR script
  • The CC will never be allowed to hung-up on a customer
  • No identification is mandatory before transferring to a live agent
  • Max wait time in queues is still to be defined

Art 5 – CC must be open for business 24x7

Art 6 – Hearing impairing access is mandatory for all CCs

Art 7 – CC phone number must be readily available in all Enterprise documents

Art 8 - CC must be polite / honest / etc

Art 9 – Agents must have proper training to do their job

Art 10 – Customers can be transferred only once in case the first agent cannot complete its request.

  • Call transfers must be completed in up to 60 seconds
  • For service cancelation and complaints, no transfer is allowed. All agents must be able to handle such requests.
  • CTI apps must allow access to customer request history

Art 11 – Customer data must be kept private
Art 12 – It is not allowed to ask the customer needs again after it was first initially asked during the first conversation with the live agent.
Art 13 – CTI apps must be in place to make sure the service quality matches the customer needs
Art 14 – It is not allowed to play marketing messages during call wait unless it is previously accepted by the customer.
Art 15 – A protocol must be generated to the customer for each request and that number will be used by the customer in follow-up contacts

  • All contacts must be recorded and kept for at least a 90 days period. The customer may request access to it based on its protocol number.
  • The recording must be kept available for verification purposes for at least two years

Art 16 – Customer have the right to receive in up to 72 hours by regular mail or electronic media the entire history of its request.
Art 17 – Information requests must be provided immediately and without complaints. Issues must be fixed in up to 5 days counting from the day they got registered on the CC.
Art 18 – CC must be able to promptly answer any Cancelation request made by the customer.
Art 19 – There will be punishments in case these rules are not followed.
Art 20 – The regulatory agencies will provide clarification in case any of these items is not clear enough.
Art 21 – The customer rights defined here do not change the other customer rights already defined by other laws and regulations.
Art 22 – The current set of rules is public and will be effective on December 1st 2008.

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