• January 15, 2007
  • By Marshall Lager, founder and managing principal, Third Idea Consulting; contributor, CRM magazine

LiveOps: Tell the Rep Nothing

Anybody who has ever found themselves wondering if the person on the other end of the customer service conversation can be trusted will be glad to know there may be a better way coming. LiveOps, a call center platform vendor, will tomorrow introduce Secure Exchange, a call center system that allows callers to input or receive sensitive data during a service call without the need for intervention by the call center representative.

Call centers equipped with Secure Exchange interact with callers as normal until information exchange (PIN, Social Security number, or health status, for example) is required. At that point the agent directs the call to Secure Exchange, an automated system that prompts the caller through any required steps and reads the information to the caller or takes it from them, as necessary. The caller has the option of requesting assistance from the agent, and the agent monitors call progress (though not its content) throughout.

Matt Fisher, vice president of direct response and shared services for LiveOps, likens Secure Exchange to other venues where the agent is involved but unable to eavesdrop. "It's like punching credit card info into the checkout-line keypad at the grocery store," Fisher says. "You're talking to the cashier, but they can't see your information."

According to Fisher, the system is currently in use with the 13,000 users of its platform, who log in via the Web as virtual call center agents. Availability of Secure Exchange was "was limited as we perfected it," Fisher says, but states that it is now in full application and will be used by more and clients.

The release of Secure Exchange comes hot on the heels of a survey LiveOps conducted of its at-home agents on January 10. According to the results, only 17 percent of the 2,698 respondents felt the phone was the most secure way to provide vendors with sensitive data. The top answer was a secure Web URL (55 percent), with traditional mail barely edging out the phone for second place (19 percent).

No industry analyst could be reached for comment as of press time. However, it's likely they would agree that LiveOps is speaking to a need with Secure Exchange. Despite the emphasis placed on Web and email security in the news media, most identity theft occurs in shops or over the phone. Systems like Secure Exchange provide added peace of mind to consumers, and may become a competitive differentiator between companies that use them and those that don't.

Related articles:

How Much Is Your Customers' Trust Worth?

Marketers Miss the Mark on Privacy Crisis Containment

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