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How to Manage Customer Data Securely over the Phone

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Monday 19 June 2017

Great phone communication with your customers is essential to the success of any business, but keeping everything you discuss secure can be an issue, especially if you’re taking sensitive information.

You have a responsibility to your customers to keep their data secure and manage it appropriately, so ensuring that you handle calls with customers correctly is an important part of these responsibilities.

You’ll want to minimise any potential risk to your business from data loss or breaches, so making your phone conversations with customers secure is vital.

Here’s how to manage customer data over the phone securely.


Enter Data Directly into Your CRM System

A simple place to start for making your phone data more secure is to record any collected information straight into a secure CRM system.

If your call handlers are recording information on paper and entering them into a CRM system later, you’ll be left with extra paper copies of sensitive information. This information could be lost, easily picked up or not disposed of correctly, putting your customer data at risk.

To keep any data you collect as secure as possible, your call handlers should transcribe it straight into a CRM system, reducing the risk of it being stolen or lost.

Creating unnecessary copies of your data adds risk to your data management processes, so you should avoid creating duplicate information from phone conversations.


Use a Secure, Cloud Contact Centre System

So you have call handlers entering information directly into your system, but how can you keep this data as secure as possible once it’s in the system?

Contact Centre

Using a secure contact centre solution (such as one from Braxtel) can keep customer data from calls secure, and enable your entire team to manage customer accounts efficiently.

In order to keep your customers’ call data secure, you need to store it in a professional, powerful contact centre solution. If you’d like to find out more about how YTL can implement a contact centre system for your business, feel free to get in touch with our team.


Make Payment Information PCI Compliant

If you’re taking payment information over the phone, you’ll need to take extra care to ensure that your procedures are PCI compliant.

Making your phone payments PCI compliant can be complicated, and having the assistance of a professional is recommended is order to make sure that you’re following best practice.

There are various different criteria you’ll have to meet if you’re to keep card information safe over the phone, and using the services of a professional is the best way to ensure you comply.

The criteria include measures like encrypting sensitive calls, and not storing some information like security codes at all.


Only Take Necessary Data

A simple way of minimising your risk when handling data over the phone is to only take the information you really need in the first place.

Necessary Data

Think carefully about exactly what information your call handers will potentially need from customers, and set out what information they should not take over the phone.

Only taking vital data means you won’t be liable for protecting information that isn’t even required for your call handlers or other staff to do their jobs.

When collecting sensitive information over the phone, first consider if there is a more secure way of doing this. Always take more secure options where available and only take personal details over the phone when necessary.


Encrypt Recorded Conversations

If you’re recording phone conversations either for training or monitoring purposes, you’ll want to consider encrypting these recording files.

Customers may discuss personal or sensitive business information in calls, and ensuring that you handle these recordings with care is important.

If you’re going to be using calls for training, ensure that callers are aware of this fact. You may also want to edit recordings to remove sensitive information before using them for training.

Finally, only store recordings while they are still in use. Once you have finished monitoring or reviewing calls you should delete them appropriately.


Put Procedures in Place

All of the points in this article are important considerations for managing customer data securely over the phone, and the best way to ensure your call handlers follow them is to set out a policy.

Procedures in place

You should lay out a comprehensive policy for taking, managing and disposing of data you record over the phone.

Giving your employees a clear policy to follow should give you the best chance of keeping data secure, and each of your call handlers will be responsible for managing call data responsibly.

A strong and clear policy should include guidelines for:

  • Entering call data
  • Storing and securing call data
  • Handling sensitive data
  • Taking payments over the phone
  • Disposing of collected data

If you can create a policy that covers all of the above, you should be able to handle customer data over the phone effectively.


In Summary

When taking customer data over the phone, your business needs to take steps to ensure this data remains secure.

You should aways be aware of the data you’re collecting, be able to minimise the risk to your business and handle data responsibly. Failing to do so could result in a data breach and real damage to your business’ reputation.

At YTL, we can work with you to implement a contact centre system that keeps your customer data safe and secure over the phone. If you’d like to find out more, just get in touch.

Download our free 'Office Manager's Data Protection Checklist'

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There are many factors to consider when adhering to data protection laws and best practices, some of which you may not have previously considered. That’s why we’ve put together this simple checklist to help you ensure your office’s compliance with data protection regulations. Download our guide with our free data protection checklist for office managers.

We work with many businesses across the UK to help them grow; making sure they have the right systems in place to meet their business needs.

We work with businesses ranging in size, sector and location so no matter where you are or what you need, feel free to get in touch and our experienced team will be happy to talk through how we can best help.

To discuss how YTL can benefit your business communications, call us today on 08448 470080

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