Last April 20th MST Holding in collaboration with Consulting C3 held an event focused on the new and imminent Law on Customer Service.
The main presentation was led by Jaime Fernandez on behalf of Augusta Abogados, and we were able to know, learn and solve doubts about this law.
why a new Law?
- It aims to improve the rights of consumers by establishing the obligation for big companies as well as for any of the sectors of water, gas and electricity supply services, passenger transport services, postal services and electronic communications services, to have an efficient system to provide information, attend and resolve complaints and claims in an agile manner.
- The aim is to set maximum time limits for companies to resolve their customers’ complaints, and for telephone customer service to be free of charge, fast and personalized.
- The customer service will be prevented from providing additional income to the company at the user’s expense or being used to offer other products to the customer.
This new regulation, for whose parliamentary processing emergency procedure has been requested, seeks to guarantee the basic rights of consumers and to establish minimum quality parameters to be met by the mentioned customer services.
Who and how is affected by the Law?
It is a basic rule applied to the whole Spanish territory and each Autonomous Community is free to apply its own quality standards as long as they do not lower the basic rule. It is a law that seeks to prevent the escalation of conflicts to the courts so as not to saturate this sector.
This Law affects companies with more than 250 workers or with a turnover of more than 50 million euros regardless of the service they provide, as well as basic service companies, whatever their volume.
“It is not only the customer who buys, but also to whom something is being offered. When there is an offer of any kind, the application of the Law is already underway” – Jaime Fernandez, Augusta Abogados
The period of application of the Law from the day it is approved in the BOE (Official Newsletter of the State) has increased from 6 to 9 months.
Some of the most important points that every customer service must comply with in terms of quality standards are the following:
+ Humanization of care
Mandatory availability of the possibility of contacting a specialized operator at any time.
The Law Project obliges companies to have Customer Care Services that are adapted to the specific needs of the consumer, and in particular to those more vulnerable.
Accessibility must be guaranteed for all consumers, with special consideration for people with disabilities, or those with less digital training, such as the elderly (over 65 years of age).
+ Service channels
The mandatory channels are postal mail, telephone (free of charge) and electronic means of communication. Companies must always inform users of the channels available to them and are also obliged to use the same channel chosen with the user to still do so with the query, complaint or claim.
+ Omnichannel tracking tools (ticketing) and response time (does not imply resolution):
All communications must be dealt with in the shortest possible time, and never in a period of more than fifteen working days from their submission. In the case of incidents related to the continuity of service in basic contracts of general interest, these must be answered within a maximum period of two hours. In addition, the customer must always be provided with a tracking number or identification code so that it can be followed up.
+ Customer service hours
Customer service hours will be adjusted to the normal business hours of each company. For basic services of general interest or for incidents related to the continuity of the service, customer service shall be available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
+ Languages of service
At least all the official languages of the region where the company is located.
+ SLA Service
In the event that communication is made by telephone, a maximum waiting time of 3 minutes must be guaranteed for at least 95% of calls. The call must be recorded and a copy of this recording must be kept, at least, until the corresponding communication has been resolved. The call should be answered in the same language.
+ Quality audit:
Mandatory internal control system for measuring quality (issued and perceived). All procedures must be documented and submitted to an annual certified external audit. These are public audits that serve to ensure compliance with the law.
+ Penalty system:
It ranges from €150 to €100,000 penalty depending on the severity.
One of the most questioned points of this Law is that so far it has been remarked that companies have to promote and strengthen their digitalization in order not to be left out of the market and to be more efficient. However, with the implementation of this new law, it seems that digitization is no longer the most important thing.
“I think it is one of the most uncertain points, because the law talks about being able to move at any time from a conversation with a robot to a conversation with an agent. There are points where you can transfer the call to the agent, but others where you are talking to the machine and it will give you the information without being able to pass it on to the agent,” commented the attendees.
We understand that bots are not outside the law, only that if the client prefers, he can leave the bot. This does not mean that the technology will not be used. It is true that the law is protectionist against certain more vulnerable groups that need to be attended and cared for, but we cannot forget that today’s world is asking us for multichanneling, that the client wants to decide where and how he wants to solve his query and wants to be autonomous.
“There are customers who may prefer to be attended by a machine rather than waiting for a person to attend to them.” According to Patricia Guerrero (Area Manager of Consulting C3), “it will be necessary to think about each type of client”, remembering that there are handling that can take a long time over the phone and can be done on the web in minutes.
Hence reinforcing the idea that companies should still make so with their digitalization process and adapt it to the new Customer Service Law.
Another controversial issue, and a priori difficult to comply with, according to the comments of the attendees, is the one related to the waiting and resolution time, which the draft law establishes, respectively, in three minutes and 15 working days.
“The key is to see how it is measured: annual average, monthly average for x breaches per year…” were some of the comments made by the attendees, who added that the 15-day deadline for a response to a resolution may seem reasonable, but it depends on the case and the type of analysis to be carried out.
The measures of this new law may involve a large economic investment for many companies. The processes that must be implemented to approach the adaptation of the regulations entail optimal planning and, in some cases, can lead to frustration for those companies that do not have the resources required to adopt and execute the processes.
In the event that a company cannot take on the creation of a contact center or customer service department, it can always outsource the service and go hand in hand with a company that is an expert in omnichannel customer management.