Ensuring call-center compliance to mitigate risk
ExpertSource improves Customer experience, Agent productivity and Compliance with CXReview powered by IBM Watson
Call center operatives at their desk

Call centers play a vital role in the delivery of great service throughout the customer lifecycle. However, they present significant challenges around measuring the performance and effectiveness of personnel. With hundreds or even thousands of employees to monitor and support, it is impossible to ensure 100% compliance with regulatory, industry and corporate standards. In addition to reducing overall quality of service, the lack of comprehensive oversight and support not only contributes to the industry’s high employee attrition rates, but leads to prohibitive legal/litigation costs.

As a leading provider of customer lifecycle solutions to the US and UK markets,  ExpertSource focuses significant resources on addressing these industry challenges using state-of-the-art technology. The company strives to provide its call center managers with all the operational insights and governance systems they need to ensure compliance with business objectives and regulations. ExpertSource specializes in debt collections – a heavily regulated industry – and must therefore take great care to respect all relevant consumer-protection regulations, such as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

Anil Wadhwa, CEO at ExpertSource, explains: “For third-party collections in particular – where our business directly recovers the debt for our clients, including some of the largest telecom companies, banks and retailers in the US – we are exposed to significant financial risk if we fail to comply with regulations. We also need to act professionally and courteously to protect our clients’ brand value. Our clients want to maintain positive customer relationships, even if the customers in question currently owe them money.”

280,000 separate compliance checks can be carried out daily 100% of calls can be monitored without increasing headcount
The high cost of non-compliance

ExpertSource’s main call center employs over 300 agents, each of whom might attempt 250 calls during a typical working day, resulting in around 30 meaningful interactions with customers. The company currently applies 31 compliance checks to these conversations, covering everything from the opening greeting through post-call documentation.

“We need to conduct perhaps 300,000 compliance checks daily,” says Anil Wadhwa. “The conventional approach would be for Quality associates to review a 2% or 3% sample of calls – the work is obviously labor-intensive and requires specialized skill sets, so it’s cost-prohibitive to screen more than that.”

Failure to achieve compliance can result in significant financial penalties, particularly in the US market, where savvy consumers with a good understanding of their rights can be very quick to litigate against call-center operatives. On average, each compliance-related settlement costs ExpertSource around USD 3,500.

“Litigation is a big peril of our industry, with some class-action suits going into millions of dollars, the regulations are complex, and some consumers in tandem with litigation attorneys are actively trying to set us up,” says Anil Wadhwa. “We’re always looking to achieve better compliance, especially through the use of more scalable and cost-effective technology-based approaches.” 

Since we started working with CXReview, we’ve gone from 2% to 100% monitoring. Almost immediately we started seeing improvement in our collection rates and reduction in the number of legal claims, both of which contribute to our profitability. Anil Wadhwa CEO ExpertSource Global Services
Scaling up compliance with machine learning

ExpertSource had adopted CXReview automated call-review technology, and was keen to see the solution extended and enhanced. When CXReview proposed a joint project with IBM to integrate new artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies into the solution, ExpertSource jumped at the opportunity.

“The existing CXReview solution analyzed recorded calls and used keywords to identify compliance-related content,” says Robin Abraham, Business Development Director at ExpertSource. “This worked well up to a point, but of course people don’t always use the keywords you’re expecting. We were very interested in broadening the solution to understand and adapt to natural language.”

CXReview invited ExpertSource and two other clients to join a co-creation project with IBM Client Engineering to develop a solution using Watson AI services. The IBM Client Engineering service uses IBM hybrid cloud and AI technologies to create and prove business value through outcome-driven solutions. In each engagement, IBM helps clients and partners define value within hours, then co-create to achieve that value within weeks. IBM’s skilled multi-disciplinary team draws on workshop templates, technical accelerators, and methods proven in thousands of client engagements to help develop solutions tailored to each client’s business objectives.

“The workshops run by IBM and CXReview were among the best we’ve experienced,” says Robin Abraham. “The key difference was the quality of people involved and the collaborative spirit: everyone was working towards the same objective, and together we built an MVP [minimum viable product] within just eight weeks.”

Anil Wadhwa adds: “We were really impressed by the dynamic IBM team, and their ability to rapidly pick up the nuances of our industry. Their mastery of the technology was a given, but that flair in understanding our business was an unexpected bonus.”

After the IBM Client Engineering engagement, CXReview spent a further eight weeks refining the solution before delivering the first production version to ExpertSource. CXReview continues to refine the solution and add functionality – in particular, to extend the scope beyond collections to other parts of the customer-experience journey.

The CXReview solution runs in Kubernetes containers on any public or private cloud, and is currently deployed on Red Hat OpenShift. Via an Embedded Service Agreement with IBM, the solution calls out to IBM Watson Studio and IBM Watson Machine Learning services, using Speech to Text and Natural Language Understanding models to analyze call recordings and check them against compliance requirements.

The workshops run by IBM and CXReview were among the best we’ve experienced. The key difference was the quality of people involved and the collaborative spirit: everyone was working towards the same objective, and together we built an MVP within just eight weeks. Robin Abraham Business Development Director ExpertSource Global Services
Boosting compliance and job satisfaction

When it comes to compliance, a key challenge across all industries is to embed the right behaviors in the corporate culture: it’s not enough to set policies and enforce them through random samples and reviews of employee performance. For ExpertSource, simply having an intelligent tool that monitors all calls is a huge step forward in creating a compliance-aware culture.

Anil Wadhwa says: “Since we started working with CXReview, we’ve gone from 2 to 100 percent monitoring, and employees can access dashboards on how they’re performing against key metrics. At the top level, we can see that we’re improving our collection rates and reducing the number of legal claims, both of which contribute to our profitability. With the monitoring in place, employees are incentivized to pay full attention to compliance in every call, but we’re also seeing improvements in performance.”

In addition to monitoring for compliance, the IBM Watson technologies in the CXReview solution help ExpertSource ensure that employees offer the best possible service to consumers. This is particularly useful when it comes to onboarding new employees: the combination of ExpertSource’s extensive training and automated guidance from the CXReview solution helps people hit the ground running and work with confidence. The solution also empowers managers to help employees perform to the best of their abilities, increasing job satisfaction and reducing the risk of attrition.

Industry regulation never stands still, so CXReview continues to adapt its solution to the changing needs of ExpertSource and other clients. Anil Wadhwa comments: “The customizability of the tool and the responsiveness of the CXReview team are major benefits. We feel like we get five-star treatment, and the work with IBM Client Engineering has taken the solution to the next level: it’s a world-class product, and it also offers great value.” 

About ExpertSource Global Services

ExpertSource provides high-value, cost-efficient customer lifecycle solutions to the US and UK markets, from its headquarters in Mumbai, India, and locations in the US and nearshore countries. The company provides services across the full customer lifecycle from acquisition through to collections, and prides itself on world-class monitoring and compliance capabilities.

About CXReview

CXReview offers a ready-to-use conversation analytics platform for quality control, regulatory compliance, and powerful customer insights. By automatically checking every customer conversation across voice, chat and email for quality and compliance, the CXReview solution can strengthen security and risk management, and provide deep data insights with near-real-time management reports and agent feedback.


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