With the busy holiday shopping season comes a huge increase in customer service calls (375 percent in the past two years), including into the new year. Therefore, it’s important that retailers re-evaluate their customer service security policies. According to a report from Sitel Group and CallMiner, 30 percent of Americans think the retail industry is the most susceptible to customer service fraud.
While nearly all (92 percent) Americans think fraud is increasing in their day-to-day activities, the majority (86 percent) believe brands could do more to protect customer information and prevent customer service fraud. With this skepticism from consumers, it’s critical that brands re-evaluate their security strategies to maintain customer loyalty. Through tightening security standards, employee training, and the implementation of technology, brands can keep consumers coming back for holiday seasons to come.
Tighten Up Security Standards
Less than half (49 percent) of Americans trust that the brands and companies they do business with are handling their personal information securely, creating the potential for lost business. This is a vital reason that retailers should take a second look at their customer service security and experiences. Furthermore, nearly one-third (31 percent) of Americans have felt at risk for fraud when contacting a brand’s customer service department. Despite the convenience of customer service via social media, nearly half (47 percent) of Americans believe the channel presents the most potential for fraud when contacting a brand’s customer service. The majority (67 percent) of Americans still feel most comfortable using a phone to contact customer service, compared to other channels including online chat (14 percent), social media (6 percent), SMS (4 percent) and voice assistant (2 percent).
Train Employees on Clear Communication
Although Americans are most comfortable using the phone for customer service, 87 percent are still worried that sharing their personal information (e.g., financial data, SSN, address, etc.) over the phone with a brand could make them vulnerable to fraud. Additionally, nearly seven in 10 Americans (68 percent) have questioned or wondered why a customer service representative asked them for certain personal information.
Training employees to better communicate their reasons for needing personal information is an essential step in improving customers’ confidence in brands’ security practices. To best support this employee training, contact centers can use artificial intelligence (AI) and speech analytics technology to analyze real-time data from support calls, enabling them to individualize agents’ training plans to provide better coaching and, ultimately, better service.
Integrate AI Technology
While Americans think the industry is at risk for customer service fraud, they also think the industry is the least likely to be proactive in leveraging technology (e.g., AI) to detect unusual activity on their accounts to prevent fraud. More than half (55 percent) of Americans would stop doing business with a retailer if they found out the brand doesn’t use technology (e.g., AI) to monitor for fraudulent activity on their accounts. Furthermore, 31 percent would stop doing business with a brand if it became a victim of fraud. Armed with this information, retailers should consider prioritizing their security protocols to further integrate technology and communicate this update to their customers.
In the competitive marketplace, retailers must prioritize customer service security in the same way they would prioritize anti-theft in-store. As post-holiday customer service call volumes increase, retailers must prioritize consumer data protection to retain loyal customers for the next holiday season and the years to come.
Cristopher Kuehl is vice president of analytics and client insights at Sitel Group, an innovative, end-to-end solution to managing and enhancing the customer experience.
Cristopher Kuehl is Vice President of Analytics and Client Insights at Sitel Group, an innovative, end-to-end solution to managing and enhancing the customer experience.
As the VP of Analytics and Client Insights, Cris leads a team of data experts responsible for the development and execution of data-driven campaigns to improve the customer journey.
Leveraging deep contact center data, Cris’s team gets under the hood of customer experience (CX) programs to better understand client challenges, successes and areas for growth opportunity. Servicing clients around the world and in multiple industries, Cris’s 12+ years of CX experience in workforce management and analytics has equipped him with the skills and industry know-how to take unstructured data and transform it into digestible and actionable campaigns to improve business results.