Remember the last time you were in a really fancy shop and the manager reminded you, ‘If you break it, you own it”? That’s not a bad metaphor for credit information from your customers--if you touch it, you may have to own it. As credit information is entered through your system, information is then accepted by your employees and your agents. This process can lead to a difficult situation for your company.

In fact, if you don’t keep information isolated from any human contact, you may own the fallout from any data security breach that happens. Since e-commerce is essential for most businesses today and makes buying easy (yet secure) for your customers, asking them to provide their private information is still a necessity. Today’s business opportunity is not someone walking into your shop and buying a Ming vase. In today’s online economy, when someone on your website is trying to enter their payment details, that situation requires a level of security and focus beyond any storefront salesperson discussing old porcelain.

So Contact Centers Answer Calls, Right? 🗣

Contact centers are good at receiving incoming calls (or chats or emails or texts) and moving them to the appropriate person for fast answers. But when a business wants their agents to not only talk to the customer but also accept their payment details as well, agent training and security compliance become more difficult. Contact center technology can record calls and record browser screens but CSVs (card security values; the three-digit numbers on the back of your credit card) and expiration dates, recording that information can be a problem. It can be intimidating for even the most efficient IT department. Does your business have the appropriate support organization to handle secure information, and do your employees have the focus and the time to worry about maintaining credit information and adhering to Federal standards? There are reasons why even large corporations shy away from maintaining customer financial information.

But How Do I Take 💵 for My Business?

So how do you accelerate your e-commerce by accepting customer payment information? It can be simpler than you think. Let the agent become the initial point of contact with your customer, initiate the process, but not necessarily the transfer point. Find a vendor that is in the business of receiving payment information and storing it; you can let them be the customer data vault. Just find a system that makes it easy to implement an integrated solution, one that is simple for your customers and your agents. A system that reduces any pain points by offering a simple integration interface between your agent desktops and the payment process. But, most of all, find a solution that moves the critical information away from your contact center.

😄 Happy Customers and Protected Employees, Cool.

Most contact centers, on-premise or cloud-based, have realized the value of expediting customer commerce. First, they allowed the CC to expand beyond voice to include digital channels. Next, they realized that requiring a second connection (such as a phone call) just to pay for the purchase was negating the benefits of e-commerce, complicating what should be a positive customer experience. Just as they realized the benefits of cloud vs. premise, (enhanced flexibility, simplicity and cost reduction), they also noticed that making it easier to authorize payments created a business attraction rather than a business barrier. A system that allows the payment application to be an integral part of the agent interface, which incorporates it as part of the total platform, will speed up business and make agents a lot happier and your customers’ private information a lot safer.

So as you now look for a solution to make your customers happy and your agents protected, here are some questions to ask:

  • How does the agent log on to the payment software?
  • Does the agent have to pause the conversation to allow payment information?
  • Where is the critical payment data stored, how is it encrypted and how is it accessed?

Security, That Sounds Good 🔐

A system that maintains separate, protected storage for critical customer data is the key to the future. Just storing it within the contact center architecture is not only risky but can be against the law. A contact center vendor knows what they do well, answering calls and being the first line of customer access. They also should know what they don’t do well, which is becoming a bank. Vaults are built for a reason and information is secured for a reason. Your business needs to offer secure access for paying customers and those customers need to be sure their confidential information is in a ’vault,’ not just a contact center.