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Article : Keep Calm and De-scope! PCI DSS Compliance for Contact Centres

#contactcenterworld, @puzzelsolutions

Keeping your data secure without stifling innovation is possible with a little planning and technology. Colin Hay at Puzzel met up with Tony Smith at PCI Pal to discuss how to make compliance and customer experience the perfect match. Here are their thoughts and 3 ways to de-scope your contact centre.

As many more of us rely on credit and debit cards to pay for goods and services, the fear of our personal information ending up in the wrong hands is growing and the threat is real. According to research sponsored by IBM Security, the average total cost of data breaches is US$3.62million with each lost or stolen record typically costing US$141. Alarmingly, 47% of the organisations represented in the research said the root causes of data breaches were malicious or criminal attack followed by systems glitches and human error.

Three contact centre challenges

The truth is that data breaches result in lost sales and customer loyalty with the added burden of costs associated with finding the source of the original data breach, limiting damage control, repairing corporate reputation and fines. Contact centres accepting card payments often face an additional set of challenges:

  1. Cardholder not present – when consumers make purchases online or in-store, they are generally in control of the payment and have their credit or debit cards with them. This is not the case in contact centres where paying via an intermediary is often a leap of faith as agents switch between screens and IT systems to complete customer card transactions.

  2. Conflicting needs – customers want personalisation, immediacy, single agent resolution, choice of channel and they want companies to value their data security as highly as they do. Businesses want customer loyalty, employee engagement, standard IT platforms, effective cost control, risk and compliance management. Blending the two together can be a distant dream.

  3. All channels, all ways – customers today expect to interact using a variety of channels but these vary greatly depending on demographics. While consumers under the age of 34 opt for mobile apps, social media and web chat, their more mature counterparts usually prefer the telephone. The payment experience has to be first-class whatever the channel or demographic.

Why take PCI DSS compliance seriously?

While the majority of card accepting contact centres understand the importance of protecting customer data from fraud and cybercrime, not all appreciate the importance of putting the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) into practice. PCI compliance is linked to a decrease in data breaches but the fact remains that over 40% of global organisations are still not meeting PCI DSS compliance standards.

Traditionally, contact centres relied on a variety of compensating controls such as call and screen recording, encrypted VoIP technology and a clean room environment as a short-cut and cure-all for PCI Compliance. However, these methods have proved to be no more than a band-aid fix. The aim should be for contact centre agents to take card payments without handling the actual card data itself but how? The answer lies in working with a third party payment service provider to remove card data from the process, and the contact centre, to help achieve compliance.

Three ways to de-scope

  1. Educate staff on phishing attacks and deploy anti-phishing software – in busy, high-pressure environments like contact centres, it’s easy for agents to click on an email that appears to be sent from a reliable source and inadvertently share sensitive information. Educating staff to identify and report phishing emails goes a long way in preventing attacks but check your anti-phishing software is up-to-date to help stop malicious emails reaching agents in the first place.

  2. Ensure PCI compliance – from out-of-date anti-virus software and old hardware to not encrypting stored credit card details, there are multiple points whereby an organisation might not be PCI DSS compliant at the time of a data breach. When it comes to payments in the contact centre, the goal should be to ensure as little credit card data as possible is stored, accessed and, where possible it should removed from the environment altogether.

  3. Make de-scoping technology your best friend – avoid storing card data on your internal infrastructure by working with a technology provider that ensures PCI DSS compliance and improves the ongoing security of all telephone, IVR, web and SMS financial transactions. Whatever the approach taken it is important for agents to continue to talk to customers to deliver a seamless, satisfying customer experience throughout the payment process.

    When choosing a de-scoping partner, make sure their organisation is Level 1 PCI DSS certified. Only entities can be PCI DSS compliant not software solutions. The technology should also be highly customisable, scalable and integrate seamlessly with multiple acquirers and banks. Superior reporting capabilities are essential for demonstrating PCI DSS compliance to Qualified Security Assessors (QSAs). The perfect de-scoping partner should additionally offer accessibility and stability with a 24/7 global support system including a dedicated secure customer portal and guaranteed 99.999% uptime.

It’s time to step-up protection and introduce de-scoping to stop cyber criminals in their bid to access sensitive payment data. By following these three simple steps, you’ll be rewarded with a highly flexible, innovative contact centre that delivers consistent, exceptional customer experience and boosts customer loyalty, sales and profits.

#contactcenterworld, @puzzelsolutions

About Colin Hay:
Colin Hay is an experienced senior executive with a background in software, media and mobile communications. Following a distinguished eleven year career in the British Army, Colin completed an MBA. He has worked for mobile giants Motorola, 02 and Three and is an Associate Fellow at Warwick Business School.

About Puzzel:
Company LogoPuzzel (formerly Intelecom) builds on 20 years’ heritage. It was one of the first pioneers to develop a cloud-based contact centre. Puzzel also encompasses leading mobile messaging and mobile payments to deliver a flexible and customisable customer interaction platform to meet the needs of today’s omni-channel and mobile environments. Headquartered in Oslo, Norway, Puzzel employs over 130 people who are all passionate about delivering innovative customer interaction solutions for contact centres and mobile environments.
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Today's Tip of the Day - New Opportunities

Read today's tip or listen to it on podcast.

Published: Friday, October 26, 2018

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2022 Buyers Guide Help Desk Software

eGain Corporation

eGain CallTrack™
eGain CallTrack™ is a dynamic call tracking and case management solution that helps companies provide quick, high-quality, and cost-efficient resolution of customer issues across traditional and emerging interaction channels. It is one of the many innovative customer interaction products in eGain Solve™ suite, the unified customer engagement and knowledge management software suite, which helps businesses transform their traditional call centers into omnichannel customer engagement hubs. eGain CallTrack will enable you to track, manage and resolve cases and maintain service level agreements (SLA), across channels.


Happitu is your customer support team’s personal coach. It guides your team through every interaction with custom workflows, responsive scripting, and dynamic help topics.

Documentation in Happitu is automated, detailed, and consistent. Go beyond handle times and service levels with the rich insights of Happitu – from granular interaction data to aggregate data and trends – you get the complete CX journey!

We intentionally built the Happitu Workflow Designer with your customer support team in mind. Using our intuitive tools that provide quick and safe iteration, you eliminate the need to involve IT or Development. Yes, you will no longer have to dread submitting a change request to Devin from IT!

Try it free for 45 days!


Knowmax is an omnichannel knowledge management platform. Our mission is to transform contact centers into resolution centers and drive customer self service.
The platform is an industry-agnostic enterprise-grade knowledge platform with components helping in easy findability of actionable information at the right time across the desired touchpoint.


LiveAgent Help Desk
LiveAgent is a cloud-based Help Desk Software with over 195+ compatible integrations. Streamline all customer communication channels and manage them from a single shared company inbox. Enjoy social media integration, unlimited ticket history, call recordings, hybrid ticket streams, and more. Companies like BMW, Yamaha, Huawei, Orange, or Forbesfone use LiveAgent to deliver customer wow to 150M end-users worldwide.

Nuxiba Technologies

Nuxiba's Help Desk Software is ideal for delivering top-level contact help desk services. It not only tailors to your existing technology resources but also allows you to set staff priorities that forward clients to the most knowledgeable agents.

Give personalized assistance, and analyze performance with our real-time monitoring, recording, and reports. Integrate Salesforce or VTiger CRM systems, be TCPA compliant, protect your cardholder's data during calls, and more!

Request a quote or demo today and start the journey to increase your first-contact resolution percentages in less than three months!


OneDesk's software combines Helpdesk & Project Management into one application. No need to purchase, integrate and switch between applications. Your team can support your customers and work on projects in one place. Aimed at SMBs as well as departments at large enterprises, OneDesk is frequently used by project managers, customer service, IT, professional services and more. This easy-to-use, feature-rich, and highly configurable software can manage both ticket & task workflows.

Teckinfo Solutions Pvt. Ltd.

ActivDesk Help Desk Software
ActivDesk Help Desk Software is an intelligent ticketing software for multi- channel customer interaction & engagement. It streamlines the entire ticket management process. With its SLA & escalation management, it enables your help desk to deliver enriching customer experience.

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