Getting ready for the call deluge when Strong Customer Authentication hits customers

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Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) means hard work for European banks looking to ensure compliance from day one. Come September, it’s going to mean some hard work for customers too. People are used to making online purchases quickly and easily, and suddenly they’ll be forced to go through additional authentication steps. They may not understand why they need to do it or how it works – and they’ll likely be frustrated. They might simply decide to abandon the shopping cart. Or they might decide to call their credit or debit card provider.

While nobody knows exactly how customers will react to SCA, we do know that customers tend to contact customer service when they have a problem.  A surge in call volumes in the aftermath of SCA is going to create headaches for contact center leaders and heads of workforce planning. If they don’t prepare properly, it will strain existing infrastructure and resources. For one thing, quickly hiring agents and managers to ramp up and down in sync with fluctuating call volumes is always a challenge. HR can take 10-12 weeks to fill positions. There’s also the task of training new hires in SCA to give them the confidence to deal with frustrated customers.

Associates may also require additional training in areas such as how to:

  • Handle queries from non-tech savvy customers – who may have different kinds of concerns around SCA – with empathy.
  • Ensure the accuracy of mobile phone contact information. This is needed to mitigate fraud as passcodes are sent to phones as part of the two-factor authentication process.

Who’s going to provide this training? Existing teams, overwhelmed by staffing, scheduling and operational issues, might not have the bandwidth to train them.

With retail eCommerce sales expected to surpass $400 billion in 2022, balancing SCA compliance with consumers’ growing preference for a one-click check-out process is going to be a tough task. Under- or over-staffing contact centers can have a disastrous impact on customer experience as well as the bottom line. One solution is to partner with an experienced contingent workforce solution provider who can staff contact centers with trained resources, allowing banks to ramp resources up and down, as needed.

Two leading UK banks are working with us to get ready for their anticipated call deluge. They are tapping into our SCA-trained flexible contingent workforce to make sure they have SCA-trained people they need. For example, they may need around 100 people over the summer and ramp-up to over 300 by September when call volume is expected to peak. They’ve both started their prep early, and are ready to provide strong customer experience around SCA. They will be able to ensure their contact center is staffed with the right number of trained associates (at all times) to handhold their customers – without the associated hiring headaches or infrastructure burden.

This article is written by Siddharth Parashar, Chief Revenue Officer, Customer Management.