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Balancing Customer Service With Security

October 16th, 2017

Customer Service With Security

What do financial service providers and airports have in common? They both need to deliver good customer service to the most number of people while also balancing the needs of security.

Customers want exceptional service, and they want it now. Ideally, they want to follow the path of least resistance to achieving their transactional goals; i.e., they want to conduct a transaction in the fewest possible steps.

Customers want their interactions to be friendly, simple and intuitive. But financial service providers need to balance this imperative against security and compliance needs – which quite often call for extra security checks, and additional verification steps.

The first thing that financial service providers and money transfer brands have to contend with is compliance. Historically, brands have spent more on compliance than they have on proactive security measures. Compliance calls for gathering customer data, adhering to KYC (Know Your Customer) guidelines, and screening for suspicious transactions. The only way to square this circle of prompt service and vigilance is via intensive training for frontline staff, and automating compliance as much as possible.

But increasingly, compliance by itself isn’t enough. Financial service providers are being subject to an onslaught of attacks – most of them from the virtual world. 2016 saw over 200 million financial records breached as attacks skyrocketed 937% year on year.

Financial service providers now need to create proactive security safeguards – by guarding against targeted phishing attacks, conducting penetrating testing, and creating robust internal information technology and data access policies.

But how can this be done effectively while still delivering a seamless customer experience? Once again, technology can help. Machine learning can be used to monitor for suspicious activities and alert human guardians if attacks, or a cluster of strange transactions, are detected. By keeping the security apparatus humming along automatically in the background, frontline staff can focus on delighting their customers.

One last thing – it’s important to understand that customers can actually be allies in this security vs. experience trade-off. While no one likes surprises or overtly aggressive security mechanisms, most customers understand, and actually appreciate, the steps that are being taken to keep them safe. As long as security steps are reasonable and explained transparently, customers will be more than happy to co-operate.

So perhaps the lesson is that while technology, processes and security policies are all very important, transparent communication is what makes the biggest difference to the customer experience.

 

Written by Sudhesh Giriyan, COO, Xpress Money