Robert Crutchington at Encoded takes a look under the bonnet of payments in contact centres and discusses five reasons why cloud-based solutions are best for business
Contact centres are often seen as the front line service of a business. They are at the forefront of customer service and therefore the long-term profitability of any organisation. Contact centres need to encompass every aspect of the customer experience, including providing information, solving problems, securing sales, processing payments and capturing data. In fact, they play a pivotal role and the latest technology is required to support them and maximise efficiency.
Taking a look under the bonnet
Payment solutions are often cited as the engine of the contact centre as they provide a way to complete a transaction and drive business forward. In terms of payment solutions security is a top priority and every contact centre that accepts credit and debit card payments over the telephone needs to be PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) compliant. While there is no such thing as a PCI DSS compliant payment solution it is wise to understand just what lies behind your system and whether the provider is PCI DSS compliant, as an organisation. Working with a cloud-based payment solution provider can help to increase security and de-scope payment data for compliance purposes.
Here are five key reasons why a cloud-based approach to payments is best for business:
- Improved security/PCI DSS compliance – when personal and card details are involved there is no room for error, secure handling of payment data is paramount. Working with a Level 1 PCI DSS cloud-based payment service provider reduces both the operational cost and management issues around compliance. Cloud suppliers typically have more security in place that many organisations have the skill or resource to deploy.
This is also good news with GDPR around the corner, which means a review of data policies and practices to ensure compliance with how data is kept throughout an organisation. The PCI DSS Standard is intended to protect cardholder data, therefore by complying with PCI DSS, contact centres are more likely to meet the new legislation and the burden of proof of compliance by demonstrating adherence to a recognised security standard.
- Improved scalability – one of the key benefits of a cloud solution is the ability to scale up or down easily, without capital expenditure. For example, a Virtual Terminal Payments Solution, enabling contact centre agents to process payments over the phone, is suitable for multiple users which can be increased or decreased as required, all done in the cloud. Accessible from any location, agents can work from home or different sites and this flexibility means businesses can adapt to busy times without costly overheads.
- Supports disaster recovery planning – in the event of any disruption to a company’s own IT infrastructure, for example, flooding or a cut cable, contact centre operations supported by a cloud-based payment solution will still be able to take payments. Lost revenue, dropped calls and negative customer experience are avoided as a result of business continuity.
- Increased functionality offers a range of payment options – for today’s time pressured customers offering a variety of ways for them to pay speeds up the process and frees agents to handle more complex enquiries. Providing integrated online payments into a company’s website, enabling recurring payments (repeat and subscription payments), or accepting credit and debit card payments via interactive voice response (IVR), allows customers to make payments quickly and accurately, reducing agent handing time and the associated costs.
- Reduced capital expenditure and pressure on IT resources – often cited as a key benefit of the cloud, the ability to add agents as required is a popular reason for choosing a cloud provider. Cloud-based payment solutions avoid costly upfront expenditure or the need for additional IT resources which makes handling the transition to cloud easier and more cost effective.
The 2017 edition of Call Centre Helper’s Research Paper, What Contact Centres are Doing Right Now[i] states that cloud uptake is set to rise rapidly in the near future with over a quarter of the 380 respondents having put plans in place to implement cloud technology. An additional 11% are reported to be considering the cloud within the next six to 12 months. While not all organisations are ready to make the switch to entirely cloud-based contact centre technology just yet, there is every reason to take a closer look under the bonnet of cloud-based payments right now.