The other day I was walking along the sidewalk of a strip mall and I came upon a lady having a somewhat heated conversation with her phone company, I surmised. Needless to say she was quite loud, an obvious symptom of her frustration. While that caught my eye, something else did as well. She needed to provide her social security number for verification purposes to the agent, and when asked to do so she went into a quiet corner between two stores, covered her phone and tried to quietly verbalize her number. Unfortunately, her voice carried and it was still audible. This got me thinking. The way we provide personally identifiable information over the phone needs to change. Anyone in an earshot of someone verbalizing their credit card number, for example, can be overheard – and we know what can happen when someone steals such data.
Flipping the tables for a second, businesses have an opportunity today to offer a more secure alternative to their customers – using DTMF tone capture to obtain such personal data. While the agent remains on the phone, the customer can simply key in their social security number, for instance, and the data goes right into a secure server, without the agent ever seeing the actual numbers. Think about how much more secure this is. The lady in the strip mall would never have been at risk of someone overhearing her personal information. The same goes for the person on the train who is speaking to his cable company about turning on HBO so he can see the fight later that night. When he provides his credit card data it would be a simple keypad entry and no one within an earshot, even the person sitting next to him, would have the opportunity to capture the data.
Companies that employ such technology could use this capability as a marketing message. They can position themselves as embodying the true brand promise of protecting their customers’ sensitive data. We hear and see it all the time – companies making this promise. But without such DTMF capture technology, they can’t really live up to that promise, can they?
Consumers are clamoring for this type of technology, whether they know about it or not. All you have to do is ask any person you know if they’d rather provide their credit card or social security number via keypad or verbally. You know what the answer will be.
It’s time today’s businesses start employing this technology. IntraNext offers such a solution, IntraNext iGuard.