Gokul Blog — A conversation on VoIP, IMS, Cisco and Just about Anything

Deeper analysis of VoIP

Authorizing the Authorizer

Posted by tggokul on February 4, 2007

An agent from your credit card call center calls you to ask about certain details and whether you would be interested in other products. Mind you, I am not talking about some random call promoting new stuff that you are least interested in. I am talking about something which you really need and want to get. Yet, you feel uneasy giving those details to the agent since even though he seems to know a lot about you ( your DoB, your address etc.). But then this information can be dug out by a lot of people ( for example an ex-HR employee in your company). So how do you validate that the guy who is calling you is really from the credit card company?

Second scenario, you are talking with an agent in a call center and you are not happy with the way he is servicing you. He is very rude and you want to report his behaviour to his supervisor. Or you want to talk to the supervisor for some other reason (maybe for your satisfaction that somebody with higher authority is handling your case). It is the very agent whom you want to complain about that is ‘transferring’ the call to the supervisor. Now, lets say the agent gets a hint ( from your tone) that you are going to complain about him and transfers it to his friend who pretends to the supervisor? How can you tell?

The above two scenarios are something we all face sometime or the other. How can the Contact center solutions address these? The title of this post must kind of give you a hint as to where I am going with all this. “Authorizing the Authorizer”. Just like the end customer needs to authorize himself , the contact center agent needs to authorize himself through an ‘A-pin” ( Agent pin) which the end customer gets to set when he has started his relationship with the concerned product. So when you get a credit card, the credit card companies not only sends you a T-pin, I-pin ( internet pin) but also a A-pin. Just like the customer is allowed to modify the other pins ( normally through self serving IVRs) , he/she can modify A-pins as well. So when an agent calls saying he is supposedly from one of the call centers, the customer can ask him to authorize himself by stating the A-pin.

This would cover for scenario 1. There were talks about some implementations which already have these but I have still not come across a single one. This would be pretty useful application in a call center solution.( This would mostly be the outbound calls that are being made from the contact center).

Now to Scenario II.  Just like we talked about agent authorization, there should be a way for supervisor authorization. An S-pin needs to be configured which would be known to the customer and people in the contact center who fit the role of a floor supervisor or above. A normal agent should have NO knowledge about this.  So when you are supposedly talking to the supervisor, you can verify whether it is really the supervisor or just one of the agent’s cronies pretending to be the supervisor.

Most of the contact center solutions are contact center friendly, i.e the problems of a contact center are addressed primarily and their pain points are identified. The actual customer’s problems are not given due respect. It is assumed that the main problems of a customer dialing into a contact center are long waiting times and mutli-call resolution ( which means it takes more than a single call for a customer’s query to be fixed. Ideally, it should be just one call). Though these are important, they are a whole lot of other things like authorization I have just talked about which would make customer experience even better.

To implement these would need a concious effort on the part of the contact center and the solution provider to address these concerns. Yes, the cost will be higher but I am sure it will lead to greater customer satisfaction and hence more revenues. Question is, are the Call Center bosses ready for this?  Do they have the will to do this? If they do, they will stand the test of time else will be lost in the sea of obscurity.


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