Data fears trigger brand exodus

call_centreOver 6 million consumers have pulled their custom from a business because of concerns about how they handle customer data, according to a new study which points the finger of blame squarely at contact centre agents.
The study, carried out by Davies Hickman Partners for Avaya and Sabio, shows that financial firms top the list of organisations people trust least with their personal data, with mobile phone operators and retailers also faring badly.
Some 46% of consumers suspect high-level security breaches at financial institutions, while the figure is 40% for mobile phone companies and 37% for retailers. The biggest security risk is seen to come from contact centres, with 45% of respondents citing this as the starting point for fraud.
While consumers place the blame squarely at the door of UK business in general – and the contact centre in particular – they also show a high level of willingness to embrace new technology to tackle the problem.
Only 5% think that sharing card details with a human agent is secure, while in contrast 81% would feel more comfortable entering a password on a keypad to confirm their identity when calling a contact centre and 51% said they would be happy to use voice biometrics for banking.
Despite recognising the need for security, currently consumers regard many checks as cumbersome and outdated and are frustrated by both the speed and quality of the customer service experience.
Some 55% expressed irritation with companies which do not have a fully integrated contact centre, forcing them to repeat security information on a call.
The study claims fear of call centre fraud has stopped 18 million consumers from making purchases over the phone when interacting with a call centre. Yet 51% say they are put off using a provider if there are too many passwords and security details needed.
Avaya UK managing director Simon Culmer said: “Consumers’ contradictory attitudes leave businesses stuck between a rock and a hard place. By focusing on the three ‘S’s – service, speed and security – brands can improve customer lifetime value, strengthen security and increase brand loyalty.”

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