Data security and compliance will become call centers’ top priority
Guildford, U.K. – Jan. 26, 2017 – Semafone, which provides secure payment software for contact centers, shares its top predictions for call centers in 2017. In the year ahead, the company expects data security to be a top priority, as call centers take a more proactive approach in safeguarding their customers’ sensitive personal information, protecting their own brand reputations and maintaining compliance with current and pending industry regulations. With data breaches and fraud on the rise, these efforts will be more important than ever in 2017; a recent report stated that breaches increased by 40 percent from 2015 and 2016 in the United States alone.
Semafone’s top five predictions include:
- Data security will move to the top of the call center agenda. Increasing card-not-present (CNP) transactions, consumer complacency, and ongoing fraudulent activity (both from rogue agents and fraudulent callers) mean data security is under the spotlight. Securing the call center – and keeping personally identifiable information (PII) out of its infrastructure – is an important step toward protecting sensitive information and preventing brand-damaging data breaches.
- Companies will step up their preparation for the impending EU GDPR. The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (EU GDPR) will be top of mind in 2017, as enterprises prepare for its May 2018 enactment. Although this is an EU regulation, it still affects any company that holds or processes data pertaining to EU citizens. U.S. companies cannot afford to be complacent – enterprises who do not comply face fines of up to €20 million or 4% of their global annual Throughout the year, companies will and should pay greater attention to complying with the EU GDPR, as well as educating their business on the ramifications of the regulation.
- Call centers will place continued emphasis on customer experience. Despite the increase in call center automation, personalized customer service remains a competitive differentiator. More call centers are finding that delivering a more efficient and superior customer experience involves an approach that blends self-service technologies with “live-agent” assistance. For example, when it comes to taking payment card numbers via the phone, organizations should look to technologies that allow customers to discretely key in card data, while agents remain on the line to handle wrap-up tasks and assist when needed – thereby simplifying and streamlining the customer journey. This approach helps call centers balance average handling time (AHT) with other KPIs, such as first contact resolution (FCR) and of course, customer satisfaction scores. In the end, data is secure, the agent is more efficient, the customer is happy, and the organization achieves additional cost savings as an inherent benefit of reduced AHT.
- We will witness an “Uberization” of contact center activity. We are seeing companies use more remote, outsourced and work-from-home call center agents. While this allows them to expand their call center operations and add staff quickly and easily, it creates a whole new batch of security issues. Companies are taking greater strides to ensure Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) and other security measures are extended to home and outsourced offices. This is achievable by adopting a single, secure platform that is scalable across the enterprise – even to remote workers – to protect customers’ PII.
- Call centers will adopt a more proactive approach to compliance. Effective PCI DSS compliance involves more than simply checking a box. Over the coming year, call centers will take a more active and decisive approach to compliance (and therefore, security), investing in solutions that reduce the scope of PCI DSS by decreasing the business’s exposure to payment card information. Such solutions also provide continuous compliance and security measures that keep customer information safe and companies’ names out of the media – no one wants to be the next victim of a headline-grabbing big data breach!
“With cyberattacks and data breaches continuously on the rise, all industry sectors must turn their attention to the weakest link in their security chain – the call center,” said Tim Critchley, Semafone CEO. “In 2017 more than ever before, we will see call centers turning to solutions that not only encrypt data at rest and in flight, but also keep sensitive information, like payment card and social security numbers, out of their business infrastructure altogether. Like we always say, ‘they can’t hack what you don’t hold.’”