Maxine Allard at Odigo explains how Covid-19 has revolutionised the contact centre industry and inspired ongoing technological advances, with many organisations accelerating remote working capabilities.
However, the rise of the remote contact centre raises challenges around the management and integration of customer data protection. Read on to find out how Contact Centre as a Service (CCaaS) solutions solve these challenges.
Though challenges remain, the remote contact centre is here to stay. The use of cloud-based technologies and a geographically dispersed workforce raise issues around customer data protection and compliance which contact centres must tackle if they are to adapt successfully to new working models. Contact Centre as a Service (CCaaS) providers offer robust, resilient and high-performance solutions for the future of customer experience (CX).
Covid-19 has been the catalyst for rapid transformation in the contact centre industry, with many organisations investing in remote working capabilities. Far from being a temporary, reactionary measure to social distancing requirements – the remote contact centre is here to stay.
Tech giants like Google, Facebook and Apple are in no hurry for workers to return to the office and other businesses have been investing heavily in their IT infrastructure to ensure that they can follow a similar approach. Technology has enabled the transition to a remote contact centre model, empowering agents to remain productive, regardless of where they work.
The Future of the Remote Contact Centre
Given that the trend for remote working looks set to continue, the results from this new way of working have clearly – thus far – been positive.
This is borne out by a recent study from the World Economic Forum, in which 78% of respondents said they would like to continue working from home either fully or in part when the pandemic subsides.
However, challenges remain. The use of cloud-based contact centre technologies, coupled with geographically dispersed workforces, have raised issues around customer data protection and compliance which contact centres must tackle if they are to adapt successfully to new working models in the long term.
While the collective response to Covid-19 saw most enterprises take a pragmatic approach that focused on what was most important in the moment, this cannot be the model going forward. If businesses are to continue operating remote contact centres, they’ll need to adapt how they govern data assets and clearly define their business structures.
Emerging operating models will bring different compliance responsibilities and IT infrastructures that can no longer be run purely from an on-premises standpoint.
Customer Data Protection in the Remote Contact Centre
Customer data protection and privacy can be an issue for remote contact centres because employees may not have complete access to commonly used office-based applications for retaining data, increasing the risk that data may be accessed incorrectly.
Building an IT infrastructure that facilitates easy access to these applications can help retain data appropriately and reduce instances of inappropriate data storage.
Similarly, where compliance is concerned, it can be difficult for businesses to complete the necessary due diligence on IT solutions used by remote workers, which could leave organisations open to regulatory breaches, even if personalised or non-approved applications are used with the best of intentions.
Carrying out the necessary audits on data is not so easy without an integrated IT infrastructure.
However, it’s not just human error that contact centre leaders need to worry about when it comes to remote working and data security.
Normally, data security efforts are focused on narrowing down the ways in which an organisation could be exposed to data breaches, either by unintentional error or deliberate attack. Now, with workforces dispersed over a wider geographical area, the potential surface area for deliberate attacks has widened.
Without the robust security of a centralised IT infrastructure, criminals can attempt to steal sensitive data by targeting remote staff, who won’t necessarily have the same level of security around their own hardware and software.
Key areas where focus is needed to shore up customer data protection in the remote contact centre include asset management, remote access procedures, on and offboarding procedures for new/departing staff and business continuity testing.
These are issues that clearly need addressing. PwC, for example, has found that almost 9 out of 10 customers will not do business with companies they cannot trust to protect their data. Nevertheless, business leaders need not be put off from the idea of starting or continuing a remote contact centre.
In fact, the agility of cloud-based contact centre solutions can offer numerous business benefits, and specialist CCaaS providers offer an approach to achieving these benefits without compromising on customer data protection and security.
The Role of CCaaS in the Remote Contact Centre
The ability of CCaaS solutions to rapidly deploy integrated workforce management (WFM) systems, with built-in quality control and auditing capabilities, has marked CCaaS providers out as an increasingly popular choice for businesses looking to transition securely to some form of remote contact centre.
The use of artificial intelligence (AI) and rules-based machine learning (ML) models to power systems of data collection and analysis can ensure all data is governed in accordance with privacy and security regulations, wherever remote contact centre agents are operating from.
As the Call Centre Management Association (CCMA) reports, “While remote working has been hailed a great success, much is yet to be done to embed this approach into a long-term, hybrid way of working that delivers for both colleagues and organisations.”
The ability to ensure customer data protection on an ongoing basis is clearly a key part of delivering this hybrid approach successfully.
While there will remain certain contact centre functions that are best completed on-premises, technology and a high level of preparedness will enable remote contact centres to flourish beyond the pandemic.
Cloud-based CCaaS solutions have demonstrated a proven ability to deliver results, particularly for businesses struggling to develop this preparedness with existing internal resources. Perhaps most important, however, those results can now be achieved without the burden of customer data protection issues.
This blog post has been re-published by kind permission of Odigo – View the original post
To find out more about Odigo, visit their website.
Call Centre Helper is not responsible for the content of these guest blog posts. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of Call Centre Helper.