I was recently asked about new trends and security measures in the call center industry as it applied to Personally Identifiable Information, or as we in the industry refer to it, simply as PII.
As I pondered the question, it reminded me of a blog post I wrote for Forbes exactly 18 years ago today titled “Are Your PCs and phones still not talking?” In that article I talked about an experience of when I called my credit card company to retrieve my balance. I did receive my balance and opted to be connected to a live agent. I was then transferred a second time – requiring me to yet again provide my PII. Back then the lack of automation was detrimental to the experience.
Flash forward 18 years and we are still working diligently as an industry to improve automation, but in today’s environment information security has become paramount. We have new legislation and compliance standards, nonetheless some companies are still using outdated technology. Interactive-Voice Response (IVR) and Computer-Telephony Integration (CTI) systems have been refined and there have been advances in Dual-Tone-Multi-Frequency (DTMF) capture. Advances in the last 18 years haven’t mastered true security of PII while delivering live agent customer service to customers. Many improvements have been designed with contact center conveniences in mind, not the peace of mind of the customer or the customer service level delivered to customers. As ecommerce continues to explode, so will the need for live agents. Customer service in contact centers will continue to be a key point of differentiation for businesses.
There are products on the market today (like IntraNext’s iGuard) that not only help companies with PCI compliance, but give the customer peace of mind as they enter PII data on their phone and the data (SSN, DOB, CC info) is masked and can’t be seen by live agents. DTMF capture can eliminate the need for quality monitoring call recording pause-and-resume. Live agents can remain on the phone and engaged with the customer; increasing first call resolution and improving call handle times. The net result is improved customer confidence since they don’t have to verbalize their sensitive information.
How many times have you provided PII data and wondered who heard it, where does it get processed, and who has access to it? Every company should ask those questions for their customers and tirelessly seeking new measures to “interrupt risk, not the call”.
Patrick Brown is President of IntraNext Systems, a Denver based CTI Company that specializes in integration and PA-DSS software for contact centers.