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Security in the Remote Contact Cetner

Security in the Remote Contact Center

PFS has seen great success since transitioning our contact center to a remote operation in 2020. We know what it takes to be successful in this work-from-home (WFH) environment, but we continue to see some trends around client concerns when it comes to handing their customer service operations over to a remote BPO solution. At the top of the list is security in the remote or WFH environment. How do we ensure the security of PII customer data, payments, brand and product information, etc.?

Securing the remote contact center

Security has always been a top priority at PFS, and it continues to be so today. All of our operations and systems maintain the highest level of PCI compliance. Specifically as it relates to the remote environment, there are several systems and procedures we have put in place to ensure the highest level of data security possible for the brands we support. Following are some of the key components to our secure operation, though this is not an exhaustive list:

  • Payment security: It is PFS’ policy not to store customer credit card information in our systems, but we needed to ensure customers could still have “order-on-behalf-of” support for remote agents. To do this, we developed a secure IVR (interactive voice response) system for processing customer payments. Instead of giving an agent their card number, customers are transferred to the secure IVR to enter card data using the keypad while the agent is placed on hold, never hearing or seeing customer payment details.
  • PII redaction: As part of our telephony system, PFS leverages a sentiment analysis tool which provides a transcript of each call that is used by our quality team to review agent performance and ensure adherence to quality commitments. Anything that could be considered credit card information or PII customer data is automatically redacted from the transcript and recording.
  • Multi-factor authentication (MFA): Keeping in line with security best practices, PFS systems require agents to login via MFA to ensure redundant layers of protection for any systems or hardware requiring a log in.
  • Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and virtual private network (VPN): Our VDI solution allows secure deployment of virtual desktops from a centralized server and limits agent access to only the brand(s) they support. Additionally, PFS requires all agents log on to VPN to access our systems for another layer of protection in the remote environment.
  • Bring your own device (BYOD): The BYOD solution allows agents to use their own computer which PFS images to enable access to our systems while ensuring the security of brand and customers data accessed on the device.

Benefits of the remote environment

The onset of the pandemic resulted in a dramatically accelerated deployment of our remote agent solution at PFS. When lock-down and stay-at-home orders hit, our team worked tirelessly to transition the entire operation home in just two weeks.

With the success of this operation and the benefits it has brought to our clients, we have no plans to return to a fully on-site operation, and we’re hardly the only ones. In fact, research shows that the majority (67%) of contact center providers expect to maintain a remote or hybrid contact center moving forward.

With the right security precautions in place, the benefits far outweigh the extra effort required to ensure the security of the solution. And everyone – from the brand to the customers and even the agents – benefits.

Agents Brands Customers
Eliminates time and cost of the daily commute, including cost of tolls, gas, parking, etc. Cost savings from minimal overhead expenses for PFS is passed through to the brands we support. The ability to source talent across multiple time zones means customers can get help during extended hours.
Flexible scheduling (part-time, split shift, 4x9x4, 4×10) creates an improved work/life balance. A streamlined client on-boarding and agent hiring/training operation accelerates the implementation timeline. Agent satisfaction is reflected in the quality of the support customers receive.
Remote training platform supports a variety of training approaches, meeting the needs of various learning styles. A larger candidate pool enables PFS to seek out the best candidate profiles for each brand, ensuring support that is reflective of the brand’s values. Business continuity in a remote solution means help is always available, even during a pandemic.
Leveraging communication tools to simulate a collaborative on-site environment, agents still feel like they are working as part of a team. Enhanced agent morale results in increased productivity and reduced absenteeism compared to on-site support. When seeking help with placing an order, customer credit card information is better protected through secure IVR payments.

Embracing the future with confidence

The future of the contact center is undoubtedly remote. The benefits of the WFH agent solution are significant across the board, but the security threats are real and must be addressed. As this approach becomes more normalized, a trusted BPO who has put in the work to ensure the proper precautions are in place can give you the confidence you need to embrace the remote environment.

Reach out to PFS today to discover how we can start implementing your highly secure, remote support solution.

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As PFS' VP of Contact Center Operations, Dawn applies decades of experience and knowledge in managing our global operations. Dawn's team effectively supports scalable, highly-branded customer service experiences that add value and inspire loyalty.

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