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The remote contact center: customer data protection and integration

Maxine Allard Senior Account Director

COVID-19 has revolutionized the contact center industry and inspired ongoing technological advances, with many organizations accelerating remote working capabilities. However, the rise of the remote contact center raises questions around the management and integration of customer data protection. Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) solutions solve these challenges.

10 February 20223 min of reading

Though challenges remain, the remote contact center is here to stay. The use of cloud-based technologies and a geographically dispersed workforce raise issues around customer data protection and compliance which contact centers must tackle if they are to adapt successfully to new working models. Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) providers offer robust, resilient and high-performance solutions for the future of customer experience (CX).

COVID-19 has been the catalyst for rapid transformation in the contact center industry, with many organizations investing in remote working capabilities. Far from being a temporary, reactionary measure to social distancing requirements, technology has enabled the transition to a remote model, empowering contact center agents to remain productive regardless of where they work.

The future of the remote contact center

Given that the trend for remote working looks set to continue, the results from this new way of working have clearly been positive. A recent study from McKinsey indicates that a majority of respondents said they would like to continue working from home at least three days per week when the pandemic subsides. 

However, challenges remain. The use of cloud-based contact center technologies, coupled with geographically dispersed workforces, have raised issues around customer data protection and compliance which contact centers must tackle if they are to adapt successfully to new working models in the long term.

While the collective response to COVID-19 saw most enterprises take a pragmatic approach that focused on what was most important in the moment, this cannot be the model going forward. If businesses are to continue operating remote contact centers, they’ll need to adapt how they govern data assets and clearly define their business structures. Emerging operating models will bring different compliance responsibilities and IT infrastructures that can no longer be run purely from an on-premises standpoint.

Customer data protection in the remote contact center

Privacy can be an issue because employees may not have complete access to commonly used office-based applications for retaining data, increasing the risk that data may be accessed incorrectly. Building an IT infrastructure that facilitates easy access to these applications can help retain data appropriately and reduce instances of inappropriate data storage. 

Similarly, where compliance is concerned, it can be difficult for businesses to complete the necessary due diligence on IT solutions used by remote workers. Any oversight could leave organizations open to regulatory breaches, even if personalized or non-approved applications are used with the best of intentions. Carrying out the necessary audits on data is difficult without an integrated IT infrastructure. 

However, it’s not just human error that contact center leaders need to worry about when it comes to remote working and data security. Normally, data security efforts are focused on narrowing down the ways in which an organization could be exposed to data breaches, either by unintentional error or deliberate attack. With workforces dispersed over a wider geographical area, the potential surface area for deliberate attacks has widened.

Lacking the robust security of a centralized IT infrastructure, criminals can attempt to steal sensitive data by targeting remote staff, who won’t necessarily have the same level of security around their own hardware and software. 

Key areas where focus is needed to shore up customer data protection include asset management, remote access procedures, on and offboarding procedures for incoming/outgoing staff and business continuity testing. 

These are issues that clearly need addressing. PwC has found that almost 9 out of 10 customers will not do business with companies they cannot trust to protect their data. Nevertheless, business leaders need not be put off by the idea of starting or continuing a remote contact center. In fact, the agility of cloud-based contact center solutions can offer numerous business benefits, and specialist CCaaS providers offer an approach to achieving these benefits without compromising on customer data protection and security.

The role of CCaaS in the remote contact center

The ability of CCaaS solutions to rapidly deploy integrated workforce management (WFM) systems, with built-in quality control and auditing capabilities, has highlighted CCaaS providers as an increasingly popular choice for businesses looking to transition securely to some form of remote contact center. The use of artificial intelligence (AI) and rules-based machine learning (ML) models to power systems of data collection and analysis can ensure all data is governed in accordance with privacy and security regulations, wherever agents operate from.

As a report by the McKinsey Global Institute states, “[t]he virus has broken through cultural and technological barriers that prevented remote work in the past, setting in motion a structural shift in where work takes place, at least for some people.” The ability to ensure continuous customer data protection is a key part of delivering this hybrid working approach successfully. 

While there will remain certain contact center functions that are best completed on-premises, technology and a high level of preparedness will enable remote contact centers to flourish beyond the pandemic. 

Cloud-based CCaaS solutions have demonstrated a proven ability to deliver results, particularly for businesses struggling to develop this preparedness with existing internal resources. Most important, however, is that those results can now be achieved without the burden of customer data protection issues. 

Odigo is a CCaaS leader that adheres to the principle of “security by design.” To find out how you can optimize your contact center data protection, get in touch today.

Maxine Allard
Senior Account Director

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