Six predictions to help businesses navigate the new technology and regulatory landscape this year
As businesses across all industries undergo digital transformation and adopt new, omnichannel strategies for engaging with customers, the enterprise contact center of today is continuously evolving and looks dramatically different than in the past. Once a single channel for telephone support, contact centers today support a wide range of customer service and sales channels – from email to the website, online chat, social media platforms, SMS text messages and more.
At the same time, the regulatory landscape governing businesses is constantly evolving and becoming more stringent. From the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA), and the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), contact centers must contend with a wide variety of regulatory requirements mandating how they collect, process and store consumers’ personally identifiable information (PII).
With so many changes in the industry occurring each year, it can be difficult to keep up. In order to help organizations better understand the current trends affecting their contact centers today, here are six of my top predictions around payments technology, cybersecurity and the regulatory landscape for 2020 and beyond.
As consumers increasingly embrace omnichannel, their expectations for fast, frictionless and convenient transactions will only grow.
As consumers increasingly use their mobile and Internet-connected devices to engage with businesses and make purchases, they have come to expect nearly instantaneous and completely seamless service and support – no matter what channel they’re using. To keep up with these ever-increasing customer expectations, as well as with the growing list of data security and privacy regulations, organizations will need to invest in newer, more secure, omnichannel payments technologies that help them meet and maintain compliance with the latest data security regulations. In doing so, they will be able to create the unified and frictionless omnichannel experience their customers expect across all buying channels. If outsourcing their operations to third-party service providers, organizations must make sure their partners’ processes and solutions meet their standards for convenience, compliance and data security.
Privacy legislation will change on a global scale.
Contact centers often serve as the central hub for customer interactions in an organization. As a result, they handle large volumes of sensitive data such as customer names, addresses, birthdates, bank account information, payment card data and more. In recent years we’ve seen a number of new regulations aimed at helping ensure businesses are protecting their customers’ sensitive PII, including the GDPR in 2018 and the CCPA, which just went into effect in January 2020. It’s not only organizations in the EU or California that must comply with these regulations—they will have a ripple effect around the world and businesses in other geographies should be prepared to comply with these and similar data privacy laws that are sure to be enacted. Following California’s lead, several other states in the United States have already introduced their own data privacy laws modeled after the CCPA. For example, the states of Washington, New Hampshire and Illinois have all introduced data privacy bills in January of 2020. A bill was even introduced into the U.S. Senate that proposes jailing CEOs for data privacy violations. I expect that the number of data privacy and security regulations around the globe will only continue to increase in 2020 and beyond.
Peer-to-peer payment systems will continue to grow in popularity.
For many people, the ease and convenience of sending money from one person to another via apps like Zelle, Venmo and PayPal is highly appealing. While businesses now recognize the importance of these peer-to-peer payment systems for enabling a superior desirable customer experience, it remains a challenge to implement these types of technologies into enterprise environments. At the same time, many consumers remain cautious of linking their payment card details or bank account information to new, unproven mobile apps given the numerous, high-profile data breaches that have made headlines. For this reason, it is incredibly important that businesses establish trust by reassuring their customers of the safety and security of their payment processes. By adopting secure and PCI DSS compliant methods for peer-to-peer payments and other payment processes, businesses can enable purchases across any channel while alleviating their customers’ concerns of a data breach.
We will see growing use of automation and artificial intelligence (AI) in the cybersecurity space.
As cybercriminals and their methods of attack become increasingly sophisticated, organizations are struggling to stay ahead of the threats with the current procedures and systems that they have in place. Traditional methods such as antivirus and anti-malware solutions are no longer adequate for keeping sensitive organizational data or consumer PII safe. In order to fill these gaps as well as provide huge cost savings, many organizations today are incorporating automation and AI into their cybersecurity strategies. This will not only help organizations overcome the professional skills shortage that is occurring in the cybersecurity industry but also enables faster and more nimble defenses against new threats.
Contact centers will no longer be viewed as a cost center, but rather, as a revenue generator.
As contact centers move to adopt more omnichannel communications and payments technologies, they are no longer seen as simply a means of resolving customer service issues. They are now recognized for their potential as revenue-generating entities. With new technologies and processes in place, contact centers can meet consumers in their preferred channel and provide superior customer experience, enabling fast, convenient and secure purchases through voice, SMS, online chat, social media platforms or any other communications channel, and thereby increasing sales, conversion rates and revenue.
Consumers will want it their way.
Today’s consumers expect greater speed and flexibility than ever before when it comes to choosing their methods for making purchases, paying bills and receiving customer support. Organizations across all industries will need the ability to engage and transact with their customers at all times, anywhere, across any touchpoint, device or channel. With an omnichannel strategy, enterprise contact centers can evolve to become true customer engagement centers that not only exceed customer experience expectations but also increase sales, customer retention and brand loyalty.
By understanding the data security, customer experience, compliance and technology trends affecting their contact centers, organizational leaders can better position their businesses for continued growth in 2020 and beyond. Here’s wishing your business success for years to come!