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Making your Contact Center a Safe Place to Work

Making your Contact Center a Safe Place to Work

Contact center managers have always been concerned about protecting the security of customer data. Many practices have evolved over the years to minimize the risk posed by identity theft, hackers and agent embezzlement. We’ve all heard stories about agents stealing customer credit card information and sharing it with friends or relatives. Or contact center employees who help themselves and their acquaintances with undeserved refunds, rebates or free products. These threats to customer privacy and the corporate treasury are not new, but now contact centers must also dedicate resources to the protection of their physical facilities and their staff. In today’s world, where every threat has to be taken seriously, detailed security and contingency plans must be developed to ensure physical safety.

Data Security is a Necessity

It’s still important to protect against theft by agents. Most contact centers have established practices to prevent agents from misappropriating company funds, data and property. As a matter of principle, most contact centers ask their staff to sign and abide by a code of ethics. On a more practical level, many organizations forbid employees from bringing personal belongings into or out of the contact center. This reduces the risk of physical theft. For protection of data, many companies track employees’ activities on automated systems. Shredding sensitive documents or, better yet, migrating to a paperless work environment, are other methods of promoting data security. But there is no perfect system. It is an unfortunate fact of life that employees who are determined to circumvent the rules will find a way to do so. No one can spot the holes in your procedures better than the employee who deals with them every day. The goal for contact center managers is to establish preventative measures to identify when rules are broken before the damage grows too great or too widespread.

Protecting Staff and Physical Assets

In the past, contact centers worried mainly about natural disasters – earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, fires and other “acts of God.” The world at large, and the business world, in particular, now face new, insidious threats from organizations dedicated to the destruction of the US and democracy in general. These threats are potentially catastrophic and contact centers must develop processes and procedures to deal with these security risks. It’s prudent to take simple steps, like instituting video recording, hiring a security staff and monitoring access to buildings. But addressing the basics is not be enough anymore. Comprehensive plans, designed and implemented by security experts, are a requirement today to protect data and the physical safety of contact centers and their personnel.

Mitigate Risk

Until recently, many companies took the calculated risk of not investing in additional security measures. This is no longer an option. All threats must be taken seriously in order to avoid costly and potentially devastating security breaches. Detailed, comprehensive security and contingency plans are a must for every enterprise. It is no longer sufficient to protect data alone. Companies must prioritize the physical security of the contact center and its personnel and make the investments necessary to protect their sites. The cost of implementing additional safeguards is far outweighed by the benefits of enhanced security. In this changing and risky world, measures that will reduce risk, protect staff and mitigate the cost of a disaster are well worth the expense and effort.

Ask the Experts

Why is the utility industry standard for First Call Resolution <3 days? Those of us in the customer service field know that a billing cycle can be anywhere from 28-31 days, which means a call cannot be assured of resolution until 30-45 days from original contact. Wouldn’t it be in the best interest of the customers to measure Tier 1 service as <45 days?
When customers call with a question, they expect answers immediately, as this is currently the “standard” for good service. Customers do not care about the limitations of your billing system, nor should they, but these limitations do place agents in an awkward position. When agents can’t get back to callers promptly with a complete answer, it leads to customer dissatisfaction. Customers are likely to take out their frustration on agents. Even when customers are advised that they will not have a complete answer for 30 to 45 days, they may not believe it, and may call back and ask someone else the same question to check up on your answer.

What I’m saying is that your company should fix the underlying cause of delayed answers with some investments in your billing system. It may include giving agents historical access to customer bills, for example. The fix should provide agents with the information required to address customer inquiries at point of contact, as even a 3-day response time is not considered good service today. If a systems upgrade isn’t possible, then your company should draft procedures that explain the situation to customers so that your agents can set proper, realistic expectations.

DMG Consulting LLC is a leading independent research, advisory and consulting firm specializing in unified communications, contact centers, back-office and real-time analytics. Learn more at www.dmgconsult.com.