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Eckoh - Blog

Contact centre resilience – 5 lessons learned from COVID-19

In the words of Elvis, we're 'all shook up'. Not surprising after the initial reaction to the global pandemic that is COVID-19. It's changed how we think, live and work and why it's important to build resiliency into contact centre operations.

Traditionally contact centres have always had to consider how they keep going in crisis situations because their customers expect to be able to keep in touch and businesses depend on their front line customer service functions. But, with COVID-19 things have turned out to be quite different to anything experienced before.

So how is it that some organisations are faring better than others? The answer lies in the way they’ve approached the crisis and responded to the needs of their customers, employees and their business. Not forgetting security too.

Those that have fared well have done so thanks to agility and decisive thinking. Now, Eckoh’s experts have compiled a useful eGuide that looks at the top 5 lessons learned from COVID-19 that can have a real positive impact on how you face the future. We’ll be looking at:

  • Ways to succeed with reduced agent numbers
  • How to protect the customer experience with home working agents
  • How to combat cyber criminals attempts to take advantage of your vulnerability.

There’s no doubt that contact centre operations will be changed forever as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, both in terms of business continuity and ongoing operations.  As organisations across the country start to mobilise their workforce ‘back to the office’, many will begin to recognise that some of the practices implemented during lockdown could actually become an integral part of their business continuity planningIt will also reveal other practices that you could use to make your contact more resilient for the future.

To find out more download our eGuideContact CentreResilience - lessons learned from COVID-19. visit

Alternatively, if you’d like to talk to us about how we can help then just get in touch. 

Publish Date: June 16, 2020 5:26 PM

How to make remote working secure

Considering enabling your agents to work remotely? If so, you’re probably most concerned with being able to maintain PCI DSS compliance and security.

What’s the risk?

Having a remote contact centre workforce comes with some risks. The prospect of allowing credit/debit card details, national insurance, driving licence and other sensitive numbers and personal details to run freely through the hands of unmonitored home-based agents is a major concern. Rogue agents can undermine the benefits and fraudsters could find it easier to gain access to your systems.

It isn't alarmist to be worried about this: It's realistic.

There are over 770,000 contact centre agents across all sectors in the UK, accounting for approximately 4% of the workforce[1]. The traditional approach of safeguarding sensitive data within contact centres by using 'clean rooms' is deeply flawed anyway but even the weak protection it provides cannot be transferred to the home. Bans on mobile phones, other strict rules and constant monitoring cannot be applied to a someone's spare bedroom in Bromley, Birmingham or Bristol.

The rewards - there are stand-out advantages…

Regardless of the reason for embracing remote working there are some compelling benefits such as…

  • The ability to flex to cover peaks, so callers spend less time waiting
  • Reduced need for office space
  • Easier to hire agents and reduce attrition rates
  • And it's not just older, experienced employees you'll be likely to attract. Huffpost reports that 64% of millennials would like the opportunity to work from home.[2]

So, what’s the answer?

With Secure Payment tools you can hide sensitive data from all your agents whether they're based within your contact centre or work from home. With Customer Engagement tools you can maintain connected customer journeys, including taking payments, across all channels and actually improve the customer experience.

Put simply, remote agents can: 

  • Take secure payments remotely in just the same way as in your contact centre
  • Take payments within as many channels as possible – telephone, online, chat, chatbot or IVR
  • Engage with customers in their choice of channel so the customer experience remains unaffected

Eckoh’s payment and engagement tools are all delivered via the Eckoh Experience Portal which allows you to take the solutions you need today and add new ones as you need them so you’re ready and agile to meet future needs.

If you’d like some advice and guidance on making remote working a reality, get in touch.


[1] 'UK Contact Centres 2018-2022' - ContactBabel

[2] 'How Millennials Are Shaking Up American Work Culture From Their Parents’ Basements' - Huffpost

Publish Date: June 2, 2020 4:26 PM

Self-Service - what's in it for me?

Customer engagement can be delicate at the best of times, so why risk throwing a whole bunch of new Self-Service tools into the mix? The answer is easy because everyone wins when you get it right. 

Over the years, companies and their customers have been burned by self service. When it goes bad, it can backfire spectacularly:

  • At some time or other, most of us have lost hours of our lives trapped in joyless IVR systems, vowing to never dial those numbers again.
  • Maybe we tried out that cartoon virtual assistant that winked at us seductively from a website — only to find they gave us generic answers to every question?
  • And perhaps we were once asked by a robot to state clearly what we wanted, before being hopelessly misunderstood, repeatedly?

Sadly, those badlands still exist today if you're unfortunate enough to stumble onto them.

But the good news is that sub-standard Self-Service is on the way out. Next-gen Self-Service is here.

Arriving in the nick of time

A wealth of powerful, intelligent and intuitive Self-Service new tools have become available to contact centres ... and not a moment too soon.

Today, many contact centres are buckling under the ever-increasing weight of customer expectation. Drop the ball and customers will sound off loudly on social media.

Hiring, training and retaining more agents is expensive at a time when budgets are under pressure. And many customer enquiries, security checks and agent tasks are so mind-numbingly dull that everyone feels belittled by the process.

So, if agents end up feeling like robots, then why not let the robots take over - at least for the simplest of tasks? That way, many human employees could switch over to selling, sorting tricky enquiries and really applying the polish to the customer experience.

Well, that's exactly what's happening at many smart organisations today.

Numbers speak for themselves

Eckoh has just published its essential guide to Self-Service, which proves how Self-Service tools are now doing the serious heavy lifting in a scalable way for contact centres at a handful of forward-thinking organisations.

The guide cites some stand-out examples: 

  • A travel operator has used Self-Service to handle 25 million calls and 59 million minutes of traffic
  • The same company managed two million text enquiries with a two-way SMS service
  • A telecoms firm reduce agent time by one minute per call, thanks to automated security checks
  • A shopping channel found a way for 70% of callers to make a secure purchase using its IVR alone
  • Another company used self service to take 86,000 payments with a value of over £7 million.

A thumbs-up from customers

In the bad old days, customers would often see Self-Service as a way of companies cutting back on quality at their expense. But they embrace next-gen Self-Service because it genuinely saves them valuable time, puts them in control and fits with their lifestyles by being available 24/7.

When companies get Self-Service right, it's like pushing at an open door.

A Nuance survey found that 67% of people would rather use Self-Service than speak to someone. And for some, the feeling runs ultra-deep: Researchers working for Aspect found that nearly a third of consumers would rather clean a toilet than talk to customer service.

So why not give them an instant, stress-free alternative? The answers are within easy reach.

Five rules for getting it right

Successful Self-Service can lead to increased sales, greater customer satisfaction and less frustration, not to mention significant savings for organisations.

Eckoh's guide to self-service profiles top tools available today. You'll also discover five principles to follow and tap into expert advice on deploying quickly, easily and affordably via the cloud.You won't need to keep customers waiting.

Get in touch if you'd like to know more about Self-Service Customer Engagement.

Publish Date: June 2, 2020 4:22 PM

How can I avoid storing card data when taking payments?

Are you worried that storing customer card data will make you a target for criminals? If so, you're not alone. Most merchants feel the same way. But there is an answer.

Most of us would feel on-edge if we walked around with £50,000 in crisp banknotes stuffed into our pockets. So it's no surprise that the majority of merchants feel the same about the precious customer card data they're holding onto in their contact centres — especially as it places them within scope for PCI DSS compliance.

Recent research from American Express shows that 55% of merchants store customer profiles and card payment details for future purchases — and another 22% plan to do the same in the next 12 months*. However, 73% of merchants feel that storing customer credit cards on file is a security concern for their business. And 76% would prefer not to store customer credit card details at all. Some are bothered about the costs involved too.

But it seems that the need to offer simple payment options and deliver great customer experiences — to stay competitive — may have pushed merchants into this uncomfortable position. So what's the answer?

Where is card data hiding?
Before looking at solutions, it's worth exploring where customer card details are stored within a typical contact centre. It can be unnerving to discover where pockets of precious data end up:

  • PBX-telephony systems: If you take payments over the phone, then sensitive details could be found here.
  • Databases: These are an obvious location for sensitive data. But how good is your security around them?
  • Applications/CRM: Card details could be found alongside your customers' account profiles.
  • Call recordings: Calls are often recorded for training or legal purposes. But recordings can inadvertently contain card numbers spoken aloud by customers or entered using audible DTMF keypad tones that can be deciphered back into numbers.
  • Contact Centre Agents: It's not unknown for agents to scribble down people's numbers or cut-and-paste details from one screen to another because of system issues. It's an area of vulnerability even if agents don't have fraud in mind (though this can be a motive).

PCI DSS non compliance isn't an option

Any merchant that wants to process, store or transmit credit card data needs to be compliant with PCI DSS industry standards. Navigating PCI DSS involves checking PCI merchant levels, investigating the best way to provide PCI DSS compliant payments and completing a PCI assessment.

But attempting to handle each of these areas yourself using an array of PCI DSS compliant solutions can be complex, costly, time-consuming — and never totally secure. Think about new equipment, integration, patching, training and trying to enforce strict policies. Even then, you're still vulnerable to human error, mischief-making or insider fraud  

You'll still be a target too — for criminals that are getting increasingly sophisticated in their modes of attack. So what's the alternative to trying to sort your own contact centre compliance?

Lifting the burden from your business

Rolling back on customer convenience isn't the way to go. But it's possible to overcome the data security risks by using a solution that prevents data entering your systems in the first place – such as Eckoh CallGuard or ChatGuard.

For customers, the process is ultra smooth. They still speak or chat to your agents, use your familiar apps and your website as normal. What's more, with a PCI Level 1 partner such as Eckoh, you can add extra payment methods securely — such as Alternative Payments, Chat Payments or IVR payments.

Behind the scenes, CallGuard prevents any sensitive data from entering your contact centre systems. Instead, data passes through Eckoh’s secure platform to the Payment Service Provider (PSP) and transaction success is confirmed by return.

Inside your contact centre, the data is masked by Eckoh’s patented tokenisation technology which makes sure that the real card data is not exposed to your agents or systems.  

So your entire contact centre environment is shielded from any trace of sensitive data. This means that even if criminals managed to get around your security, infiltrate your workforce or obtain information from systems — there's nothing sensitive to steal.

Entirely de-scoping your contact centre means that customer service directors, contact centre managers, chief security officers and heads of compliance can breathe a sigh of relief. While they cannot pass on the whole burden of PCI DSS compliance, it can ease the load, risk and the worry.

Call centre compliance made easy

De-scoping your contact centre can be quick and relatively pain-free. It doesn't require the wholesale removal of your technology, expensive investment, painful integration and months of disruption impacting staff and customers.

With a cloud-based platform, such as the Eckoh Experience Portal, you can quickly access all the engagement channels and payment solutions you need to truly transform customer engagement and protect customer data as well as achieving, and maintaining, PCI DSS compliance.

Publish Date: June 2, 2020 4:16 PM

Your PCI DSS compliance – can you see the hidden threats

Titanic differences in de-scoping vendors

It’s relatively easy to spot an iceberg floating in the ocean. But it’s impossible to know just how massive it is without diving deep into the water.

Similar hidden dangers exist in the PCI DSS compliance market. There may be providers or compliance solutions that offer to secure your payments and give you broad promises about de-scoping, but their solutions only tackle surface-level threats and often rely on compensating controls. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The real dangers to your contact centre lurk deep beneath the surface, in the areas that most vendors are incapable of protecting.

In other words, you may have paid for de-scoping but get stuck with de-risking.

The dangers of de-risking

By using a de-risking strategy to achieve PCI DSS compliance, which often includes a number of compensating controls which may soon be deemed unacceptable, you allow sensitive data to continue to flow through crucial parts of your contact centre.

Only by completely removing the data from your environment (full de-scoping) can you be sure that your contact centre is as safe as possible.

The difference between de-risking and de-scoping can have significant implications for merchants, and these implications aren’t always clear when you choose an approach.

On average, UK contact centres use three different PCI DSS solutions to maintain compliance.

A multi-solution approach offers some form of de-risking, but not full de-scoping. You might be investing time, money and effort in an unreliable system that still leaves you exposed. Ineffective solutions can include:

  • Pause & resume – it’s prone to errors and doesn’t actually protect data so it could capsize your system
  • Mid-Call – it’s also prone to errors and is a collision of timing and human error
  • Appliances at the desktop and call recorder – doesn’t actually remove data from the contact centre environment
  • Appliance within your data centre – you may be de-risking part of your business but there is still data in your environment.

Don’t let de-risking sink your contact centre

There’s only one solution that truly removes the contact centre environment from the scope of PCI DSS compliance. You need a hosted solution like CallGuard from Eckoh which will fully protect your contact centre by preventing customer card data from entering in the first place. If there’s nothing there, there’s nothing to steal.

Publish Date: June 2, 2020 4:13 PM

Are your callers trapped inside the IVR that time forgot?

Businesses get excited about rebrands, unveiling new websites, publishing ultra-elegant apps and attracting big followings on their social media channels.  But amid all the hubbub and euphoria, it's easy to forget to refresh your IVR at the same time. A big mistake.

When interactive voice response systems (IVRs) get overlooked, it's understandable for obvious reasons. You can't see your IVR, so it's out of sight, out of mind.  Many people within your business probably don't converse with your IVR very much either.

But getting re-acquainted with an IVR that's lagging years behind the rest of your company may make you shudder and cringe — especially if you dial up and discover:

  • Your carefully-crafted brand values are missing. It's clunky and awkward instead.
  • The tone of voice is soooo last decade — and sounds blunt to the point of being rude. A human might be reprimanded for speaking to customers that way.
  • Some options are no longer relevant. Other new and important ones are glaringly absent.
  • The IVR says it's your company but it bears little resemblance to your website or other channels. Have you come to the right place? You would you trust it with your PIN number?

Without regular updates and the occasional refresh, you IVR can end up as the gloomy back yard of your business ... unloved, untended  and with tumbleweed blowing everywhere.

It's time to refresh things —and get a step change in functionality

The good news is that it's possible and affordable to deliver radical changes to your IVR, beyond anything the industry imagined ten years ago. By evolving towards a multi-channel contact centre platform, you can surprise and delight customers again.

Callers expect to be treated as individuals, to be offered personalised choices, and to be able to reach their objective without queuing for an agent. You can make it happen.

Self-service has been revolutionised by caller identification methods and the ability to send SMS messages to the caller’s mobile phone. SIP telephony allows much more information to be passed to agents, increasing first call resolution. And there's more.

So rather than playing catch-up all the time, your IVR can actually lead the way — at the cutting edge of your business, showing the rest of your company how to represent your brand in the best way possible, enhancing customer service and securing greater loyalty.

Find out how to refresh your IVR in our new eBook:


Publish Date: August 9, 2016 5:00 AM

Fine Tuning Your IVR Can Win You Customers

If you’re looking for new ways to improve customer service, then why don’t you look at refining your old ways? The phone channel is still a hugely important channel, but if you have an outdated interactive voice response system, you could be losing or agitating your customers. If so, then it’s time for a tune up… 

IVRs have been around for half a century now, so callers are much more familiar with them. Many people use the same IVR on a monthly, weekly, even daily basis, so they know exactly how to get to the right place or complete their task within the IVR. Think comfy slippers.

These callers are much more familiar with the way a system works – probably more than was anticipated when it was designed. In fact, they may be so used to the path they take that they no longer even hear the other options or messages you have worked hard to include!

One size doesn't fit all

But just because lots of people view your IVR as super-comfortable doesn't mean that other callers don't find it abrasive and a poor fit with their needs. What about new customers that aren't familiar with the quirks of your IVR, or callers with very little time or tolerance?

The trouble is ... they may not tell you they're unhappy.

Sure, some will air their grievances on social media and you may see a trend in your feedback scores. Callers may also vent their frustrations to your agents.

But some customers may just walk away in the direction of a competitor, while sighing deeply. Your bottom line will notice — along with any call centre analytics you use.

So how can you take action before a trickle becomes a mass exodus?

Often, simple changes to an IVR can lead to dramatic benefits. We're not talking about investing vast amounts in new systems or enlisting a fleet of expensive consultants. Rather, these are subtle adjustments you can make fairly quickly and cost-effectively — to bring things bang up to date and meet the expectations of your customers. All of them. You'll find these valuable tune-up tips in a new eBook published by Eckoh called Is Your IVR Behaving Badly? The Essential Guide to Realising its Potential:


Publish Date: July 28, 2016 5:00 AM

What to do — if your IVR behaves badly?

As many parents will know, it's a painful experience when the headteacher calls to explain that your child has misbehaved. The story unfolds and you react with surprise, then horror, then embarrassment. But discovering some 'home truths' about your interactive voice response system (IVR) can be just as uncomfortable.

Picture it: You get your IVR looking clean and tidy and then send it out to play. Things go well for a while. But then there's a furious knock on the door — and a queue of agitated people, ready to let rip.

Every so often, some organisation or other publishes a survey of the most annoying things about contact centres and their IVRs.

Here's a typical top three, drawn from several of them:

  • Callers get lost in 'no man's land' because of badly-designed menu options
  • Long holding times frustrate customers and they give up
  • The IVR tells callers to visit the website instead (to make it easier for the company)

You could get away with all this in the heyday of IVRs, before smartphones and ecommerce websites took off in a big way. Back then, most IVRs were tailored to middle-class, middle-income, middle-aged and middle-managers. Everyone else just had to put up with the plummy tones and plodding style of the disembodied telephone voice.

Customer demographics have changed, and are still changing
Since then, that middle-aged generation have become silver surfers, internet savvy and mobile-enabled, while their Generation X or Y grandchildren now drive the ecommerce boom with far more disposable income and far less patience.

Instead of waiting patiently in line, they'll break off — and sound off on social media. And if the experience is bad enough (or funny enough), it'll go viral and be picked up by mainstream media. If other callers feel the same way, then customer loyalty and your Net Promoter Scores (NPS) may take a hit. It'll impact your bottom line too.

How can you deal with an IVR that's behaving badly?

The challenges of IVR parenthood are explored in a new eBook published by Eckoh called 
Is Your IVR Behaving Badly? - The essential guide to realising its potential.

The eBook acknowledges that IVRs are often seen as the 'ugly child' of the business — but it argues that this is often down to neglect and an absence of tender nurturing. There are four valuable suggestions for how to turn the situation around and bring back the love!


Publish Date: July 14, 2016 5:00 AM

Should we use Pause-and-resume call recording to meet PCI Compliance?

Are you seeking solutions to mitigate possible fraud, more specifically in your contact centres? If you process card payments on behalf of customers, you may have heard of the quick-fix pause-and-resume technology.

Pause and resume was actually recently listed as the most popular adopted method to assist with PCI compliance. 

If you haven’t heard of it, pause and resume as a method usually involves an automatic system which stops the recording when sensitive data is being transferred from the caller, and then resumes the call recording once the agent is passed to the payment screen on their system. 

Essentially pausing and resuming removes only the call recordings from PCI DSS audit scope. Your agents, networks, systems and telephony are still exposed to card data.

What’s wrong with pause-and-resume?

It doesn’t matter how many times we repeat it, this method may be easy but used in isolation, it will not make your telephone payments PCI DSS compliant and ultimately you are left vulnerable to contact centre fraud. Even though the sensitive data isn’t recorded, it is still exposed to the agent handling the call.  And generally the interactions had when taking sensitive card data are the most important and require protection.

Possible side effects of this method may include:

  • Difficulty to actually achieve 100% automation of pause and resume
  • Headaches when you need to upgrade your telephony or IT systems.
  • Expensive and ineffective implementations, despite large investments of time to get them working.

Don’t forget your agent’s desktops and network will still be in scope for PCI compliance.

As a recent Verizon report reveals, even your employees and business partners can be potential threats. It is important to not lose sight of the role humans play in data breaches. 9% of confirmed data breaches over the previous three years were categorized in the insider and privilege misuse pattern.  As pause-and-resume is not 100% reliable, the PCI SSC advises companies to implement methods that require no manual intervention.

How does that apply to your contact centre?

It only takes one breach to destroy your business. Anyone that can see, hear or handle your customers cardholder data are threats to the chances of a fully PCI compliant, secure contact centre. 

Our honest opinion

Pause and resume is often considered a temporary solution and will only ever address a small part of the overall PCI compliance issue of call centre card data storage. So as regulations have tightened, it is important that you continue to update your solutions and completely remove the risk of fraud from your call centre. This includes preventing card holder data from travelling through call recordings, screen recordings, agents, desktops, IT systems and telephony network.

Here at Eckoh we recognise every organisation has different requirements, and that’s why our PCI DSS Level 1 solutions have been designed to fit around your needs and infrastructure. For expert advice, get in touch today on 01442 458 300.


Publish Date: May 4, 2016 5:00 AM

It’s true- IVR Systems don’t have to be frustrating

Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is a telephony menu system that interacts with customers, enabling identification and routing of callers to the most appropriate agent within a contact centre. 

IVR systems enable self-service, allowing customers to enquire and serve themselves via an automated calling process. This is often integrated with touch-tone or speech recognition technology. IVR assists the customer’s requests and if necessary, directs the customer through to an appropriate agent.

Poorly designed IVR’s create a bad impression

IVR’s are a necessary tool in the contact centre, but if poorly designed, can lead to frustrating experiences, giving them a bad reputation amongst customers.  For many businesses IVRs often include out-dated designs with not enough options available to the customer. The menu options can be too long winded, where customers experience multiple verification requests or requests for unnecessary data. A recent report found that 77% of customers give ‘repeating responses in IVR’ as a top reason for a negative customer experience.

On many occasions the IVRs have not supported multiple languages -a key issue for international companies. For others, speech recognition technology has been poor. A common frustration for many customers is the difficulty they’ve experienced trying to reach an agent. Some of the broader uses of IVRs include:

Identifying information about your callers

IVRs gather information about the customer’s needs and will transfer calls to the most appropriate agent or department based on their IVR input. Information about why the customer is calling can be sent to the agent to handle the process more effectively.

Automating customer support

Customers can serve themselves through an automated menu option and obtain the information they are searching for without speaking with an agent. 

Prioritise high-value calls

IVRs can prioritise calls based on a caller’s value. When a high-value customer calls, the IVR will route them to the agent who is most qualified to meet their needs.  If all agents are busy, the customer will be directed to the front of the queue meaning high-value customers are always served efficiently.

Route the caller to an appropriate agent

The IVR ensures customers will reach the most appropriate agent or menu for a faster and more efficient customer experience. This can be set up based on a person’s skill set, so the customer is more than likely to find the answer to their query without having to be transferred.

Accept high call volumes

IVR systems allow companies to easily handle high call volumes. Queues are minimized as customers are directed to the most appropriate agent first time, meaning more calls can be accepted. Some IVR systems present the option of call-backs to the customer.

Benefits of an IVR System

With customer technology advancing at a rapid pace, the contact centre faces a lot of pressures. It’s worth investing in IVR as a well-designed system can: 

  • Reduce costs
  • Improve efficiencies
  • Decrease customer wait times
  • Improve customer satisfaction 

A well-designed IVR uses call routing with keypad or speech recognition, personalisation for returning callers based on their previous request, natural language speech recognition, and multi-channel integration. With an easy-to-use, reliable IVR, customers will never be routed to the wrong department ensuring a positive customer experience.

It’s no doubt that IVR’s are a cost-efficient system that saves businesses valuable time and money. But for any organisation to be truly customer-centric, the focus needs to extend beyond savings. 

A badly designed IVR is easy to create but an effective IVR takes more thought. For an IVR to be effective, the customer must be placed at the core of the design stage, ensuring the simple tasks can be managed through self-service.  Creating a successful IVR experience means assigning resources, in both time and budget and the system must be regularly evaluated to keep up with the customers needs and preferences. This can be a timely process but the benefits from having a modern IVR will quickly exceed the investment.


Publish Date: March 30, 2016 5:00 AM

What’s next for Contact Centre Solutions?

The leaders of evolutionary customer service, are successful because they deliver a stress-free, personalised customer experience. But there are still many organisations that are focusing on an “inside-out” approach.

Inside out approaches mean operating costs restrict which channels are available to the customer, and as a result their customer service deteriorates.

A recent Forrester Trends survey found that those who focus on “outside-in” measures to deliver better customer service, experience increased revenue and company profitability. This is exactly why customer service technology has become top of the investment priority list for many businesses with contact centres.

Why exactly? Because the role of the contact centre in a world of advancing technologies will need to be proactive in its customer centric approach. Understanding customer’s needs is paramount to good customer service. Not to mention contact centre technologies also enable opportunities to improve profitability and generate added revenue streams.

Contact Centre Trends – Now and in the future


We’ve entered into an age where customers are able and ready to look for quick fix answers with minimal effort, this often includes FAQs, telephone IVR and emails. Phone channels are still heavily relied upon, but the use of services such as webchat and instant messaging (such as via Facebook) are quickly becoming preferable.

Mobile technologies

The majority of mobile phone users own a smartphone- 66% of UK adults. This has given customers easier access to customer service on the go. Some organisations do currently cater to these preferred channels but are slow to introduce mobile apps, an often unrecognised downfall. Future trends suggest that businesses will increasingly improve their approach to mobile technologies and integrate them into an omnichannel strategy. Visual IVR, for example is streamlined to connect appropriate agents along with outbound communications such as app notifications. This is where the fluidity of customer service will really thrive.

Predictive analysis

The personalised service is going one step further. The powers of predictive analytics are certainly set to make a drastic improvement using the customer’s historical data of past interactions, geographic location and choice of device, to create a tailor made service that’s suited to the customer’s profile.

Journey analytics

In order to support your customer through every step of their customer service enquiry, the contact centre must measure the customer’s cross-channel journey.  With multiple platforms at the customer’s fingertips there will likely be constant switching between channels for optimum service. By incorporating broader measurement programmes into the contact centre you will be able to explore the weak points of customer journeys.

Improved agent interfaces

The forward-thinking customer service leaders focus on a productive end-to-end customer service process. To ensure productivity is consistent throughout the contact centre, agents should be equipped with more user friendly, modern, automated interfaces that enhance the work place and minimise stress and fatigue.

SaaS Solutions (software-as-a-service)

A key emerging trend is adopting SaaS solutions either to replace on-premises customer service applications or to complement existing solutions. For the imminent future a recent Forrester Trends report predicts that customer service organisations will continue this venture of introducing SaaS solutions to increase business flexibility, speed of deployment, and the ability to quickly introduce innovation.

Some of these technologies may take off quicker than others, but taking advantage of these trends at a timely-pace is critical. To be successful, organisations must be wholly aware of their customer and to embrace these contact centre solutions is to take a step closer to delivering stress-free, seamless experiences.

What do you think will be the biggest contact centre technology trend in 2016?

Let us know by leaving a comment below.


Publish Date: March 9, 2016 5:00 AM

The PCI DSS Compliance Checklist for Contact Centres

If your contact centre handles customer transactions and sensitive card data- the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is most likely something you’ve heard of. 

As a formal set of requirements and standards, PCI DSS applies to all organisations which store, process or transmit sensitive data.  The standards aims to ensure retailers, credit card brands and consumers are all protected from fraud and breaches.

Card Not Present Fraud

For contact centres taking Card Not Present (“CNP”) payments (transactions made via phone, internet or mail order purchases), PCI Compliance is crucial.

If your company is actively non-compliant, you’re at risk of suffering a data breach, monetary fines, as well as losing consumer trust. Ignoring the standard requirements could have a detrimental impact on your business, especially when CNP fraud is on the rise internationally. According to the Aite Group, CNP fraud in the U.S currently represents 45% of total U.S. card fraud, and in the UK the Financial Fraud Action UK reported an increase in fraud losses by 10%, totalling an estimated £331.5m in 2014.

So how does PCI DSS help?

The standards help to shape baseline requirements, that help companies like yours to create a series of information security networks. Being compliant will help you to identify where your cardholder data is coming from, who has access to it and how it will be stored.  Understanding how this sensitive data is transferred is fundamental in order to protect it.

The Checklist

Among the many risks, two of the key risk areas for data breaches, include staff access and phone/network hacking. The PCI standards are robust and comprehensive to enhance payment card data security – and consequently reduce the risks associated.

Here is a brief checklist of the requirements your organisation must meet to become PCI DSS compliant:

Build and Maintain a Secure Network and Systems

This should be implemented by installing and maintaining a firewall configuration that protects CHD. It is advised to not use vendor-supplied defaults for system passwords or associated devices used in payment processing.

Protect Cardholder Data

It is best not to store cardholder data. If your business requires you to do so then ensure it is thoroughly protected. Any CHD that is transmitted across open, public networks should be encrypted. 

Maintain a Vulnerability Management Program

This should consist of installing anti-virus software and keeping all protection programs up to date.  Develop and maintain secure systems and applications such as using security patches. 

Implement Strong Access Control Measures

Restrict access to sensitive CHD on a strictly need-to-know basis.  Each user should be identified with a valid ID number when accessing system components. All personnel should be restricted physical access to CHD. 

Regularly Monitor and Test Networks

Track and monitor all access to network resources, systems and CHD.  Ensure that all security systems, functions and cardholder data environment are regularly tested. 

Maintain an Information Security Policy

Maintain a policy that addresses information security and make sure all personnel are aware of it and are kept up-to-date.

Beyond the compliance of systems and processes, there are many secure payment services available, to eliminate the risk of internal staff having unnecessary contact with sensitive card information. Popular solutions range from DTMF Payments, Pause and Resume, Tokenisation and many more. To find out more about these methods, and the popular choices that organisations are adopting to meet PCI DSS in their contact centres download our free eBook below.


Publish Date: January 21, 2016 5:00 AM

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