Don’t they say possession makes up nine-tenths of the law? Well, when it comes to data security and public sector communications, that means possessing a clear and practical understanding of data protection laws, such as the UK Data Protection Act (2018).

The EU GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is another such piece of legislation that, while not legally-binding in the UK, sets an ESG standard that organisations must strive to achieve.

And that’s no mean feat, once you dive into the kaleidoscopic world of complex legalese that constitute this set of obligations and responsibilities.

How Do I Know If I’m GDPR Compliant?

For contact centre directors already tasked with multitudinous competing priorities, there’s nothing more frustrating – or less appealing – than grappling with convoluted legal protocols. Often, it’ll leave you scratching your head and reaching for the closest dictionary.

The temptation may be there to simply bump GDPR adherence down your list of priorities – out of sight, out of mind, right? – but this isn’t just bad practice: it’s illegal. Failure to adhere can lead to serious penalties, and potentially cripple your operation.

That’s exactly why we’ve put together this handy need-to-know guide, for public service organisations looking to maintain GDPR call centres and contact centres. Our VCC is specially designed for public sector communications and, as part of our security protocols, we guarantee alignment with the GDPR.

Let’s get straight to it then, with all-things GDPR, and the information you need to know.

Introduction to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

The EU GDPR (European Union General Data Protection Regulation) set a standard for the handling and processing of sensitive information for EU member states. While not legally-binding in the UK, it’s considered something of an industry standard, and non-adherence represents a gap in the data protection assurances you’re able to offer.

Its roots can be traced back to 1995, with the advent of the EU Data Protection Directive. However, in light of the increasing digitalisation of data, the directive was updated and replaced by the GDPR in May 2018.

As a result, public sector operations and international organisations with a contact centre (as well as businesses across various sectors) now strive to ensure compliance with the GDPR’s comprehensive data protection obligations.

Failing to do so might lead to hefty penalties and potentially damage your operations.

What is the GDPR For?

The GDPR places a strong emphasis on ensuring the protection of personal data and the rights of consumers. It requires organisations to obtain explicit consent from consumers before collecting and processing their personal data, and sets strict rules for call recording and data access – whether that data will be processed solely in the UK, or in second and even third countries.

In the world of cloud-based digital contact centres, the GDPR demands that organisations implement robust privacy and security measures (such as those seen within our VCC): data-secure software and robust training for call centre agents, for instance.

It’s essential to stay up-to-date on the requirements of the GDPR to ensure the protection of personal data and maintain the trust of customers.

A Short History of Data Protection in the UK

The history of data protection in the UK dates back to 1984 with the introduction of the Data Protection Act. The act established the legal framework for protecting personal data and set the standards for data processing and management.

Over the years, with the rise of ever-more sophisticated technology and the growing digitalisation of data, the act was updated to keep pace with the changing times.

In 2018, following Brexit, the Data Protection Act was updated and brought into alignment with the EU GDPR.

This brought a new level of data protection to the UK and reinforced the importance of ensuring the privacy and security of personal data in a rapidly changing digital landscape.

As future-proof software, our VCC is engineered in alignment with the EU GDPR; it’s also certified with ISO 9001 / 27001 accreditation. Contact our team today to find out more about our security protocols and book your free demo.

Key Provisions of the GDPR for Contact Centres

The GDPR is nothing if not comprehensive, but for you as a contact centre operator, there are a few core provisions to be aware of.

These are the requirements, obligations and directives that have a real-term impact on your public sector operations. So in other words, if you’re aiming just to learn a few points about the GDPR, make it the following list:

  • Obtaining consent: Cloud-based contact centres must obtain consent from customers before recording calls, and provide customers with the right to access their data.
  • Data protection: The GDPR imposes strict rules around the processing and storage of customer data, with the goal of ensuring that it is secure at all times.
  • Call recording: Call recordings must be stored in accordance with GDPR regulations, and contact centres must provide customers with access to their recordings upon request.
  • Training: Contact centres must provide adequate training for their agents to ensure they understand the regulations and are able to comply with them consistently and effectively.
  • Penalties for non-compliance: Failure to comply with the GDPR can result in significant penalties, so it is essential for public sector organisations to understand its provisions and how they impact their virtual or digital contact centre.

Addressing GDPR Key Terms

If you did decide to wade into the enormous quantity of legislation that makes up the General Data Protection Regulation – and good luck! – at least arm yourself with a few key terms that appear frequently.

These definitions are important: you might hear them bandied around in data protection discussions or as part of industry updates, so it’s worth nailing down exactly what they refer to.

GDPR: Key Terms
Personal dataInformation of a potentially-sensitive nature or that could, in theory, be used to identify someone.
Data subjectThe person or entity that relevant data refers to.
Data controllerAny person or organisation that decides how, why, or where personal data should be handled.
Data processorAny person or organisation that processes or otherwise handles personal data – not only the data controller.
ProcessingThe gathering, dissemination or use of personal information. This includes automated processing.
Data Protection OfficerIn some cases, a large organisation may name an individual to be responsible for data protection.

Benefits of Implementing GDPR Data Protection Principles

Implementing the GDPR in our Virtual Contact Centre is not just a matter of compliance, but also provides a range of benefits for public sector organisations.

One of the key advantages of the GDPR is an improved customer experience (CX).

By implementing the GDPR as part of your VCC install, you can demonstrate that customers’ data is being protected, thereby building trust and improving the overall experience.

Moreover, you’ll be positioned to avoid penalties, and foster a positive brand reputation as a result. Failure to adhere to GDPR regulations can lead to severe penalties, which can negatively impact the reputation of a public sector organisation and cripple its operations.

The GDPR provides clear guidelines for organisations on how to process personal data and handle customer calls. This reduces the risk of data breaches and increases data security.

It also grants consumers the right to access and control their data, which is a key aspect of customer service.

GDPR: Implementation Benefits
Legal ComplianceBy implementing the GDPR in contact centres, public sector organisations can be sure that they are complying with legally-binding privacy regulations.
Improved CXEnsuring that data is collected, stored, and processed in a secure and transparent manner gives users confidence that their information will be treated with care.
Avoiding PenaltiesFailure to comply with the GDPR can result in eye-watering fines. Implementation is the best way to ensure you meet legal obligations, and reduce the risk of penalties.
Boosted Brand ReputationBy demonstrating that it values data privacy and protection, organisations can enhance their brand image. This can lead to increased loyalty and improved business outcomes.
Enhanced Data ProcessingThe GDPR requires robust procedures to be put in place for collecting, storing, and processing data. This can actually have a streamlining effect on your workflows.
Increased Data SecurityVia adherence, your organisation will take appropriate measures to protect personal data against unauthorised access or theft; essential in safeguarding information.

Ensuring Compliance in GDPR Call Centres & Contact Centres

Ensuring compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation is a must for public sector organisations as a part of their contact centres. Not only does it protect consumers’ personal data, but it also helps to improve the organisation’s operations and credibility among users.

Here are the best practices for adhering to the GDPR in virtual contact centres:

1. Obtain Clear Consent From Customers

By law, your contact centre must obtain clear and unequivocal consent from customers before collecting, processing, or storing their personal data. This means making sure that customers understand what data is being collected, and how it will be used in the future.

2. Protect Personal Data Relating to Users

Contact centres must, of course, implement appropriate security measures to protect customer data from unauthorised access, theft, or loss.

Failure to take reasonable safeguarding steps in the handling of sensitive and potentially-damaging information is considered a criminal offence. Take preventative measures to ensure this doesn’t happen: this might include regularly backing up data, using encrypted storage, and ensuring secure software and systems.

3. Train Agents

Agents play a crucial role in ensuring that your organisation is compliant with GDPR requirements. They are often the first point of contact for users and are responsible for handling their personal data. Therefore, it is essential they are properly trained on the GDPR and the best practices for handling customer data.

Training should cover the importance of protecting customer data, the different types of personal data agents may handle, and the steps they need to take to ensure that it is stored securely.

Agents should also be trained on how to respond to data protection requests, such as requests for access to personal data or requests for deletion. They should understand the steps they need to take to process these requests and the time frames in which they must respond.

4. Record Calls

In order to remain compliant, you must keep accurate records of all calls and contact made to and from your contact centre, with permission as and when necessary.

This record should include the date, time, and details of the call, such as the name and contact details of the customer and the agents involved.

However, it is important that only the minimum amount of data necessary is stored. This means only keeping information that is directly relevant to the purpose of the call and is necessary for the legitimate interests of the business.

5. Regularly Review Data

Regularly review any data you hold to ensure that it is accurate, up-to-date, and necessary for the purposes for which it was collected. Any data that is no longer needed should be deleted in accordance with GDPR requirements.

This helps to reduce the risk of data breaches and maintain the privacy and security of customer data. By regularly reviewing and deleting data, cloud contact centres can demonstrate their commitment to data protection and ensure that they are complying with the GDPR.

6. Respect Customers’ Rights

This one should really go without saying. All cloud, digital or virtual contact centres must respect customers’ rights under the GDPR, including their right to access their data, to have it deleted, or to have it amended if it is inaccurate.

This is an essential component of data protection and ensuring GDPR compliance.

Public sector organisations with cloud-based contact centres must have processes in place to handle customer data protection requests and to ensure that they are properly addressing the rights of their customers.

7. Ensure Software Compliance

Any cloud-based communication system worth its salt should be GDPR-compliant as standard. This includes taking the necessary measures to ensure customer data is secure, and to protect users’ privacy.

Be wary of communications providers who promise a lot – often, remarkably cheaply – but who are unable to demonstrate robust security protocols or answer questions regarding the safe handling of sensitive data. Lowering prices doesn’t always represent a good deal, and could actually do more harm than good.

Your best bet by far is to go with a tried, tested and trusted software provider, with a proven track record of secure data processes and the accreditation to back it up.

To that end, our VCC is designed to prioritise security and the privacy of your users in the public sector. We’re proud to say that our system never exposes consumers or users to harm, giving our partners peace of mind in a trustworthy system.

GDPR-Safe, Always: Our VCC

As we’ve seen, the case for implementing GDPR compliance within your contact centre is strong – in fact, it’s a legal requirement! GDPR is a positive, customer-centric piece of legislation, designed to protect users and safeguard their privacy.

The flip side of that is: the GDPR is, by nature, complex.

It can require some serious mental gymnastics to navigate even one item in the legislature. Pulling out the necessary information and finding ways to apply it to your contact centre can be something of a challenge, particularly when you’re already looking at a full plate of priorities.

With our VCC, that headache becomes nothing but a memory and a non-issue. We’ve designed the system specifically for safety in the public sector, so you know that when your communications are handled through the VCC everything is guaranteed to be above-board – both now, and in the future.

Give your customers peace of mind and implement a cloud-based contact centre you can have confidence in. Book a free demo today.