What are the main changes in the FDIS compared with the previous version?

This was the fifth meeting to develop the ISO 18295 standard on customer contact centres. The intention was to resolve the draft International Standard (DIS) comments for 18295-1 and 18295-2 in Pretoria, ready for the Approval stage. ANEC had approved the ISO DIS 18295-1 and 18295-2 and requested the standard is adopted at European level.

The international comments we needed to resolve in South Africa showed some fundamental differences between the countries such as the maturity of the industry, if they were in-house or outsource centric and the way employees in the CCC are managed. However, overall the shared concerns were to ensure the standard highlighted for customers: clear information about cost of contact and contact time; a range of contact channels were available; accessibility for all including the vulnerable and those with impairments; only consumers who had opted-in should receive subsequent outbound contacts not directly related to the original contact; any relevant legislation/terms and conditions and any obligations on consumers; Interactive Voice Recognition (IVR) management; personal data is protected and privacy respected and dealt with appropriately; effective resolution of problems and complaints including relevant staff training.

In the meeting the main tasks were to: clarify terms and definitions; focus on the leadership’s responsibilities and the CCC’s resources to deliver a high standard of customer service; syncronise part 1 with Part 2 whilst ensuring the two parts were focused on the different users of the standards; cover different contact centres that may be inbound and/or outbound and in house and/or outsourced; include the needs of multi-sized contact centres, with varying SLAs and a broad range of multichannel offers.

The committee continued to focus on meeting customers’ expectations and needs such as customer privacy, compliant marketing and complaint handling. The UK wanted to make the document concise, they encouraged the committee to use simple and clear English, and by the final day we had reached consensus on the comments, amended the text and edited the revised drafts.

The majority voted “Yes” when asked are the DIS drafts ready for the next Approval stage. The revised drafts prepared in SA will be sent to ISO for further editing and formatting. It will be circulated to all ISO member bodies by ISO Central Secretariat for a final Yes/No vote within a period of two months. If technical comments are received during this period, they are no longer considered at this stage, but registered for consideration during a future revision of the international Standard. After two months, there will be a FDIS balloting period and if approved, only minor editorial changes, if and where necessary, are introduced into the final text before the standard will be published.

The South Africans were very well represented as in previous meetings. The Europeans particularly the British, Austrians, Germans, French and Swedish actively participated. The Malaysians contributed to the discussions, this time the Spanish, Dutch, Chinese and Koreans were not present but where relevant their comments were included.

SABS were fantastic hosts and expressed their thanks to the delegates for participating in a particularly important standard for them. They believe the standard will be used to support CCCs in South Africa, particularly outsourced CCCs, and it will encourage the contact centre industry to prosper and provide employment for young people who need work.