The remaining provisions of the Protection of Personal Information Act (Popia) came into force on 1 July 2021. For many businesses, compliance has proven challenging. Research conducted among local executives showed that 58% of South African companies found it difficult to comply due to the complexity of the legislation.
For businesses with call centres, this is even more so. How does Popia deal with cold-calling, for example? And how should Popia, the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act (25 of 2002), the Consumer Protection Act (68 of 2008), and the National Credit Act (34 of 2005) be read — in concert, individually? Is complying with one enough?
There are a number of different elements to consider in ensuring that your call centre operations remain fully compliant. Here’s a quick walkthrough:
- Data protection: Popia requires that businesses keep any data in their possession secure. This means whatever data your call centre is using and gathering needs to be collected, transmitted and stored securely. This is particularly important if your teams are working remotely. Euphoria’s contact centre platform, for example, ensures that customer data is securely transmitted and stored and you need to ensure yours provides the same protection.
- Opt-in or opt-out: Cold calling is the reason many call centres exist. The best way to connect with customers using cold calling is to ensure that your approaches are aligned with the regulations. This means that potential customers have to opt into your communication and explicitly give you consent to do so before you engage via any form of electronic communication. This opt-in function is invaluable and should be included in all of your marketing collateral. You also need to make sure that you record and honour customer requests not to engage with them. Call dispositioning, which reflects the outcome of any call, can help here to record permission granted or revoked and ensure that the necessary next steps are taken to make sure customer requests are recorded and adhered to.
- Clear purpose: Consumers grant businesses the right to use their information for specific purposes and business may only use that information for that particular purpose. So, if your customer gives you permission to contact them about a specific campaign you are running, you may only use their information for that campaign. If they have only given you permission to e-mail them, you may only e-mail them. Contacting them for other purposes or via alternative channels would be in violation of Popia. Call centre owners and managers will need to ensure they carefully track, record and manage the data they use and the permissions they have been granted if they’re to stay on the right side of the law.
Working with your technology providers is critical to ensure you comply, and remain compliant, with Popia and other legislation. They have the platforms to make compliance an effortless part of your daily operations, rather than an onerous task that’s done as a grudge. Compliance is not only a legal requirement but it also signals to your customers that you care about their needs and you respect their rights. Your suppliers can help you do this seamlessly.
About Euphoria Telecom
Euphoria Telecom is a leading provider of an innovative, cloud-based, cost-effective business telephone service that offers unprecedented control and automated operational efficiency. The solution offers any business a truly simple approach to managing communications across an increasingly decentralised and mobile workforce. Seamless integration and automation make it simple for businesses to access insights, reports and efficacy of communications.
The company has earned a reputation as a customer-centric business, decreasing customer telephony costs by up to 50% and maintaining excellent customer service. Established in 2010, the company now proudly hosts over 4 000 business customers in South Africa and continues to grow rapidly. The company was founded by George Golding, Conrad de Wet and Rafal Janik, and is managed by John Woollam and Nic Laschinger.
- The author, John Woollam, is CEO at Euphoria Telecom
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