Moving your contact centre to a hybrid working model can have several implications for taking payments and ensuring compliance.
No matter your industry or job role, the shift to home working during the pandemic has been monumental. We’re now seeing what we thought to be a short-term trend causing a permanent shift in the mindset of businesses and workforces alike. The realisation hit that physical presence in an office is not essential when building a successful business.
Jon Arnold, Principal Contact Centre Analyst at J Arnold & Associates, says hybrid working in contact centres is mostly about supporting home-based agents. “What’s different now is the scale of having a remote workforce, and one that could be a permanent shift,” he believes. “On a practical level, this means having a proper cloud infrastructure where remote agents can get the same functionality as they would have on site. Not only do they need access to omnichannel capabilities to interact based on customer preferences, but also to communicate seamlessly with supervisors and subject matter experts (SMEs) located across the organisation.”
So far, the hybrid work model has been emphatically embraced by workers. But for heavily regulated industries, serious questions have been posed about how their existing technology would meet the needs of this new dynamic:
- How can organisations continue to offer high levels of customer data security?
- How can they maintain regulatory compliance when taking payments at home?
- How can they ensure a seamless customer experience, regardless of agent location?
Embracing hybrid working in the contact centre can truly empower your agents to have freedom in how and where they work. But you also need to pay attention to factors such as cost implications, required infrastructure, the impact on security and how you plan to handle adoption and change management.
Taking payments anywhere
Workers are comfortable in the office – they know the tech, they can escalate and ask their colleagues for help when needed, and they have access to everything they need to take payments securely. But what happens when a homeworker needs to take a payment?
It’s worth noting that PCI compliance for remote workers is the same as it is for office-based agents, but typically these are environments that organisations have less control over, therefore increasing the associated risks.
To ensure the security of your customers’ data, you need a solution that removes the potential for payments to be taken in a non-compliant manner. Enabling a secure technology solution that removes sensitive card data from the agent interaction is critical for defending against possible breaches.
While no single technology makes a business PCI-compliant, the right blend of technologies can enable your business to achieve compliance, avoiding exposure to potential fines and reputational damage, while reducing mandatory obligations by 98 per cent.
Typically, customer self-service strategies largely focus on revenue growth and cost reduction, and an improved customer experience. However, we should also consider that when customers are able to self-serve, risks associated with hybrid working can be significantly reduced.
Enabling self-service channels, such as chatbots and IVR, that can capture sensitive customer data during the identification and verification process, effectively removes information from the agent, minimising risk and protecting customer data. Automated call and screen recordings, meanwhile, use artificial intelligence (AI) to analyse recordings and flag suspicious behaviour.
Not only can self-service help secure your business from possible compliance breaches, but it’s ultimately what your customers want – saving them time, allowing them to control when they do business with you and improving their overall experience. In fact, 91 per cent of people would prefer to use an online knowledge base if available. And 81 per cent of all customers attempt to take care of matters themselves before reaching out to a live agent.
We also know that one in every three calls received at contact centres are for confirmations or simple transactions that can be self-serviced. Additionally, ContactBabel found that the average cost of a live agent call is £4.55, significantly higher than self-service automation, at around £0.30-£0.70.
Contact centres with well-integrated self-service channels that provide frictionless experiences are those with productive and happy agents. Using self-service technology to complete simple repetitive interactions frees up agents to focus on high-value tasks in which they can add real value.
Escalating to subject matter experts
A good customer experience is achieved when a query is dealt with accurately and efficiently. No one likes to be put on hold or transferred to another department while agents scramble around for answers. We want to be dealt with quickly by someone that understands our needs and we only want to provide our details once.
In a traditional contact centre, an agent might look around the office for someone free to help. Hybrid environments, however, rely on online visibility of subject matter experts.
The good news is there’s technology available to integrate agents and other staff. So, next time your agents need help from topic specialists, they can carry out this process:
- Check SME availability using their presence indicator
- Message them to see if they can help
- Conference in the SME for a live handover
Remotely managing agents
Managing your remote agents is one of the most difficult aspects of implementing a hybrid work model for your contact centre. However, with tools that make it easy for supervisors to monitor agents and ensure high productivity levels, it doesn’t have to be.
Management can monitor real-time agent activity, listen to calls and watch agent screens, providing a new level of performance management and online coaching with appropriate KPIs.
Of course, moving your contact centre from in-office to remote and then to hybrid can be complex, posing several risks for both your business and customers. You do need to treat hybrid working with extra care. You do need to spend time upfront before you make changes. But you will reap the rewards when you get it right.
by Brad Semp, Sales Director, Specialist Solutions, Nasstar