McKay Bird is the Chief Marketing Officer of TCN, a global provider of a comprehensive cloud-based call center platform for enterprises, contact centers, BPOs, and collection agencies.
Can you describe the process of innovation at your company? What does it look like? Who is involved?
Innovation at TCN doesn’t just come from the engineering and development teams, it’s a group effort that also involves our executive team and our marketing, sales, and business development teams with a shared goal of finding solutions to solve the most common problems we’re hearing from our customers.
Internally, we regularly get together to share progress on projects with the project engineers and development teams and to hear about the status of updates, new products, and features that are in the works. Our internal all-hands meeting is a valuable opportunity to get feedback and share insights about how we can help our customers run their businesses more efficiently and effectively -- we are particularly driven by our ability to listen to our customers and design the features of our platform so intuitively that they will think it was built just for the needs of their business.
What do you think is the greatest innovation in history? Why?
This may sound cliche, but the printing press is one of the greatest inventions of all time. Let me explain.
Before the printing press, books and articles about religion, ideas, news, etc. were all produced for and meant to be shared by members of the ruling class and those with status or importance who could afford it. The printing press provided the ability for anyone to publish and share their views. With time, it opened the door to a free press.
Because of the invention of the printing press, a period began where opinions and public reasoning led to free speech and even popular uprising in some areas of the world. In most cases, it was necessary to level the political playing field and had a huge impact on how the United States was established. The printing press paved the way to freedom of speech.
What’s the most innovative decision your company has made? Tell the story behind it.
The most innovative decision TCN has made was our commitment to develop our Natural Language Compliance (NLC) tool. As anyone in the contact center space knows, FTC and FCC regulations are constantly being changed and updated, which makes it very difficult for organizations to remain compliant with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).
The creation of NLC enables contact centers and compliance officers to create and add customizable rules that fit their specific compliance needs. This provides an immeasurable convenience to take the burden off the organizations of manually researching and updating rules every time new regulations are released. There’s simply too many to keep track of and our NLC tool is a great example of how technology can automate something that would otherwise take hours and hours to complete.
What current industry problems do you think will require the most innovative solutions?
The myriad of court cases, rulings, and upper court battles can make compliance activities feel like a moving target and one that can be incredibly complex and nuanced. It’s definitely the top issue for call centers and contact centers that requires an innovative approach to manage effectively. Any innovation that can provide clarity and precision in daily operations is beneficial to both businesses and consumers.
One example of this is the recent Supreme Court decision in Facebook vs. Duguid case which, after 10 years, has finally provided technical clarity about what an ATDS is. Correctly understanding the implications of this ruling is essential to building credibility in our industry and returning trust back to our communications.
Complete this question in the context of the ARM industry: What if….
What if contact center regulations like TCPA didn’t exist?
Ninety percent of calls to consumers originate outside of the United States and Canada, which is outside of any effective jurisdiction, regulation, or force of law. This means the TCPA is actually only able to regulate and protect a small percentage of calls, but it is still very important.
The main goal of the TCPA is to protect consumers. Right now, there are approximately four billion robocalls placed each month -- just imagine how much higher that number would be without TCPA? Another thing to think about is that consent management services would no longer be used, regardless of channel or reason for the call - i.e. payment reminders, account balances, notifications, etc. The TCPA exists for a reason and it has a useful purpose, so it’s best that everyone understands how it affects their industry to ensure they can comply with it.
The iA Innovation Council is a collaborative working group of product, tech, strategy, and operations thought leaders at the forefront of analytics, communications, payments, and compliance technology. Group members meet in person (and lately, virtually) several times each year to engage in substantive dialogue and whiteboard sessions with the creative thinkers behind the latest innovations for the industry, the regulators who audit and establish guardrails for new technology, and educators, entrepreneurs and innovators from outside the industry who inspire different thinking.
2021 members include:
AllianceOne Receivables Management
Capital Collection Management
Collection Bureau of America
Crown Asset Management
Healthcare Revenue Recovery Group
NCB Management Services
Phillips & Cohen
Professional Finance Company
Radius Global Solutions
Spring Oaks Capital
State Collection Service
The CMI Group