To Get an “A” This Back-to-School Season, Prioritize Payment Security and CX
The U.S. is gearing up for students to return to school, and although there’s still plenty of apprehension around how the new strain of COVID-19 will impact the education system and in-person learning, parents are making all the necessary purchases to get their kids the supplies they need. This annual influx of back-to-school (BTS) shopping typically sees products flying off shelves, but experts are expecting shortages to be worse this year with so much strain on an already stretched supply chain.
A recent survey from Deloitte found that this new school year will see almost half of parents plan to shop at online-only stores, with 17 percent planning to shop using a digital wallet and 15 percent using the "Buy" buttons from social media posts. With such an uptick in online purchasing, it’s critical for customers to have peace of mind that all their transactions are secure and Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliant in whatever channel they choose to shop.
With more consumers comfortable using digital channels and shopping online via merchant websites, social media and on marketplaces, retailers need to ask themselves: Am I prepared to handle increased omnichannel transactions securely for myself and my customers?
Security Should Be THE Top Priority
Retail is one of the most targeted industries for fraud, with almost a quarter of all cybersecurity incidents around the globe targeting this sector. It’s understandable from the point of view of a bad actor; with sensitive payment data constantly flowing through a range of different channels and applications, there’s plenty of low-hanging fruit for fraudsters to take advantage of. The risk of a potential data breach increases when you consider that retailers collect a raft of other personal identifiable information (PII) like names, addresses and birthdates — all of which can be applied to bypass other security measures. Additionally, as a large number of retail customer service representatives continue to operate from home, other vulnerabilities like improper storage of sensitive information, unsecure network connections, coupled with external factors like roommates being present in the same location when information is being collected, continue to increase the risk of fraud.
To mitigate risks in digital environments and create a safer way to collect sensitive payment information, retailers must take a stronger data security stance as part of their omnichannel communications strategy. With the right solutions in place, retailers can enable a safe, secure and frictionless omnichannel purchasing process while improving their customer’s experience (CX). There are solutions available today using technology like dual-tone multi-frequency (DTMF) masking that bypass any risk of fraud occurring by giving customers the ability to enter sensitive information without it being seen or heard by the retailer or customer service representative.
Implementing this type of technology is key as it fully minimizes any potential for fraud to occur from a call center representative, and since the information isn’t stored in any systems, it can’t be exploited by bad actors and result in a data breach. As most consumers have likely never experienced a true secure digital payment transaction as just described, it’s just as important to educate consumers on the value of these solutions. If customers are able to understand the work a retailer is doing to fully protect their sensitive information, in conjunction with these kinds of solutions applied across a retailer’s entire digital ecosystem, retailers can remain PCI DSS compliant and provide an even greater CX.
Security and Convenience Enrich CX
With a daily increase in data breaches, implementing proper security measures is essential. Most companies think of security tools purely from a protection standpoint, without fully understanding the impact it has on CX.
Recent data from Semafone's Omnichannel Payments Consumer Trust Survey found that only 21 percent of respondents feel most secure shopping online compared to in-store. As more consumers continue to shop online out of convenience and necessity, it’s imperative that retailers prioritize their digital business strategies to provide a secure, frictionless CX.
Aside from securing sensitive data, the most important aspect of delivering a frictionless customer experience is keeping customers within the channel of their choice. Customers don’t want to start a conversation in one channel only to be transferred to another, especially in the middle of a transaction. Consider this: a parent starts a conversation with call-center representative over the phone to order academic supplies such as a laptop for the new school year. However, during the transaction, the representative can’t securely take payment over the phone and transfers the customer to a web-based payment application. This is an unnecessary added step that could lead to a disrupted customer journey resulting in a dropped call or additional unnecessary time spent on the call — all contributing to a negative experience.
However, with the right technology in place, the representative can remain in constant contact with the customer throughout the duration of the transaction without having to direct them to a new channel — leading to a more streamlined, frictionless experience. There’s no question that omnichannel is the future of retail, and the sooner the sector places more focus on enhancing security levels while balancing an improved experience for their customers, the more prepared they’ll be for future digital transformation and acceleration.
By implementing solutions to securely capture sensitive payment and customer information, along with enabling customers to stay within the channel of their choice, retailers can improve the overall CX. Just like any big exam, preparation is key. Retailers with the right tools in place when peak moments like back-to-school season arrive will be able to meet increased consumer activity with ease and pass the tests fraudsters deliver.
Gary E. Barnett is the CEO of Semafone, a provider of PCI DSS compliance solutions for payment and PCI data security for call and contact centers.
Gary E. Barnett is the CEO of Semafone. Semafone provides software to contact centres so they can take personal data securely over the telephone. Semafone’s patented data capture method collects sensitive information such as payment card or bank details and social security numbers directly from the customer’s telephone keypad for processing. This prevents personal data from entering the contact centre, which protects against the risk of fraud and the associated reputational damage, ensuring compliance with industry regulations such as PCI DSS.