COVID-19 has moved customer service associates from the contact center to the couch at a time when they are seeing call volume surges of epic proportions. For some enterprises, this has resulted in receiving an additional 6,000 calls per hour — paving way for fraudsters to exploit the chaos and confusion by attacking underprepared and overworked agents.
With 44% of Americans believing their personal information is more vulnerable to fraud as businesses transition to work-from-home, customers are losing confidence in organizations’ ability to protect them. Meanwhile, a staggering 80% of consumers say that the way a brand responds to their needs specific to the COVID-19 crisis will impact their likelihood of doing business with them in the future. These findings illustrate the tremendous pressure on brands to deliver a positive experience without opening the doors to bad actors.
Here are some best practices that will help:
Use analytics to address changing call traffic:
Call volume has been on the rise since the start of COVID-19. Some brands have responded by eliminating time-consuming security procedures to satisfy callers, which inadvertently makes life easier for bad actors. Others have increased security, sacrificing a seamless experience for customers. Call data is vital to uncovering when traffic spikes (like during major news announcements, or at different times of the day) and why people are calling, both of which will advise on how to align your call center resources. For example, adjusting staffing to cover hours (or days) of expected excess calls will keep from spreading agents thin. Proactively communicating with customers (even within the IVR) may also reduce the number of calls that require agents, but only if you can accurately predict why they are calling.
Equip agents with proper training and tools
Agents are under an enormous amount of pressure to help customers during these trying times. The same study mentioned above found that almost half of consumers (49%) say that they would stop doing business with a brand after only two or three poor customer service interactions. Meanwhile, fraudsters are praying on customer service agents that are overwhelmed with their new work from home systems and increased distractions in their environments.
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The crossover between the customer experience and security has never been so important, and so exposed. Now more than ever, it is imperative that contact center employees are properly trained to identify social engineering and phishing tactics. Fraudsters can be exceptionally prepared to impersonate a customer, vendor, or business partner, extracting sensitive information — or even funds — from agents. Protect your customers by updating employees with the most recent fraud trends pertinent to your business, and consistently communicate the most up-to-date company guidelines, processes, and expectations for agents. To eliminate any confusion for newly remote employees, create explicit tutorials for updated software, and invest in technology that will keep workflows efficient and direct, resulting in smoother, faster, and safer calls from work from home environments. Your employees will appreciate the support, and being prepared for fraud risks will help them stay vigilant when faced with high risk calls.
Utilize passive authentication
Authentication is necessary, but traditional methods like knowledge-based questions and one-time passcodes can cause delays and frustration for customers. Additionally, these methods are often easy for fraudsters to exploit. Instead, using passive authentication like an ANI match that safely pairs an incoming phone number with a customer account helps avoid call delays, and presents a more seamless customer experience for callers who are already stressed or agitated. ANI Matching can be easily executed, but does call for the ability to detect criminal techniques like call spoofing. ANI matching can be easily secured through ANI Validation.
At a time when demand for customer support is at an all-time high, creating a seamless customer experience prepared for fraudulent activity can seem like a daunting task but it doesn’t have to be. The best way to protect your customer service lines is to be prepared. Support your call center agents with resources as they work from home, and have methods in place to secure your phone lines before fraudsters invade. Organizations that are prepared to exceed customer expectations and deflect fraudster attacks will be able to stand the test of time.