Call Center Bill Could Mute State’s Competitiveness
A proposal to make Connecticut the first state to require call centers to provide detailed information and options to callers also could add considerable business costs and service disruptions.
In an increasingly 24/7 world in which consumers expect and demand immediate access to live customer service, many Connecticut companies have greatly expanded their capacity to handle that demand– sometimes using out-of-state call centers to provide around-the-clock service.
HB 5491 would make things harder for Connecticut businesses by requiring any company here using a sales call center or telephone bank to disclose certain information within the first 30 seconds of each call to or from an in-state resident.
Specifically, telecommunication and cable companies, insurance companies, banks, and financial services firms would have to notify each Connecticut caller or call recipient if their call was being handled by an off shore call center or phone bank—and give them the option of returning to a Connecticut call center.
Moving to that level of service would require a significant investment of time and money by businesses to train or retrain their employees and modify their day-to-day operations. It would likely require taking customer service employees offline and putting them in a classroom, which could put a strain on handling regular call traffic.
Other changes and expenses would likely include updating or replacing complex software programs.
If adopted, HB 5491 could discourage businesses from locating here and make companies with call centers in Connecticut re-think their location.
Adding another layer of mandates on Connecticut businesses would unfortunately mute their competitiveness.
While HB 5491 creates new cost and administrative burdens, the bill does not provide any penalties for violations. This may be because the federal Gramm Leach Bliley Act already requires all call centers to follow very strict standards to ensure the confidentiality and security of customers’ information.
For more information, email Faith Gavin Kuhn.
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