5 PCI DSS Compliance Myths Debunked

The number of credit and debit card payments being made in the UK each year has significantly increased over the past decade, the UK Cards Association reported that 15 billion transactions were made in 2015 with a value that amounted to around £660 billion (35% of the UK GDP in 2015). With the increasing rise in card payments payment security has taken more of a front seat in recent years, and rightly so.

However, there is still a bit of confusion around PCI DSS, many people don’t understand what it is and what implications it can have on them or their business. As a PCI DSS Tier 1 Service and Solutions Provider we have heard it all here at C3.

  1. We don’t process enough payments to require to be compliant

Ever since the implementation of the newest PCI – PCI 3.2 – in 2016 there is no longer a minimum number of transactions that have to take place for a merchant to be required to be PCI compliant. This means that even if you process one card payment every year you still need to adhere to the standards and be fully compliant.

  1. PCI only applies to e-commerce companies

Any company that stores, processes or transmits cardholder information, whether you have a shop in a physical location and use POS devices, process card payments online through your online store or offer a tele-billing service, PCI applies to you.

  1. Masking numbers is enough

Many believe that hiding the whole credit or debit card number with the exception of the last 4 digits is enough when in fact it is not, this is only a small step in the PCI process. This only hides the full number on the payment screen so that, in a contact centre for example, the agent can’t see the number, it does not account for your network or system storing that information in a non-compliant manner elsewhere where it can be retrieved and decoded later.

  1. Merchants are allowed to store any data

There are many business owners that think they have the right to store any and all of the data that they want to in order to aid their business. This violates PCI DSS as well as legislation regarding privacy, customers may not have given permission for their sensitive data to be stored. PCI states that unencrypted credit card numbers, CVV or CV2 numbers, PIN blocks, PIN numbers or Track 1 or Track 2 data cannot be stored under any circumstances. If anyone is found to have stored any of the above information they run the risk of facing serious consequences particularly if any data has been compromised, a security breach and all the costs that come with it could put a company out of business.

  1. PCI is unreasonable

When it comes to the security of the sensitive information and data of your customers nothing is unreasonable. PCI DSS is a common security practice, it may be hard to understand for those who do not have large security or IT departments, but that is where C3 come in. We are fully accredited to provide a range of secure solutions to process credit and debit card payments via telephone, SMS and/or online

We have worked with some of the UK’s biggest charity events such as Comic Relief and Children in need to process thousands of secure payments per hour. We also work with many retailers, value added service providers and tele-billing organisations to develop PCI DSS Compliant smart payment applications.

4 Reasons Why You Should Move Your Contact Centre to the Cloud

The popularity of the cloud is ever increasing, through recent years the number of businesses adopting the cloud has continued to increase significantly. If businesses haven’t already migrated and moved their files, services and processes to the cloud it is more than likely that they are planning to. It is the same for contact centres too, it has become more and more common for the cloud to be used as a platform within a call centre setting, and why not? Here are just 4 advantages of the many that using the cloud can offer…

  1. Cutting Costs

Setting up a physical contact centre is incredibly costly and time consuming, not every company has the resources to finance their own let alone maintain it. Contact centres can incur costs from thousands up to millions depending on their size and how many months or years of work go into working towards their opening. Not forgetting the utilities, salaries of every single worker and not just the agents, even the little things such as refreshments and other perishables that are essential to the daily workings of a contact centre. Introducing a virtual contact centre software system into the mix however can help you to cut down on a lot of these costs. Giving agents the ability and opportunity to work flexibly and even remotely and from home means you don’t need such a large premises to house every single member of staff. With the downsizing of your premises it means you’ll be saving on electricity and other utilities too.

  1. Flexibility

As pointed out in the last section, migrating your contact centre activities to a platform in the cloud gives agents the opportunity to work from home or somewhere other than the office remotely. All of the files are accessible from anywhere because they’re all online when they’re in the cloud, everyone has access to everything they need while still maintaining the ability to add, log or save any files, details or data into the virtual system as well. With the need of having agents in a physical location eliminated it allows you to seek out more specialist agents. For example, if your centre needed to service German customers or you required someone with detailed knowledge of computers then you have a wider pool of talent to employ from compared to your surrounding area.

  1. Scalability

Industries are incredibly varied and the needs, wants and requirements of the customers within those sectors equally differ, as a result the peak times in all of these different businesses are different too. For example, Christmas is a typical peak time for retailers where they usually have a lot more queries surrounding product issues at this time, and around admission and clearing time Universities see a rise in the number of people contacting them.

These peak times mean businesses need a lot more capacity to deal with their customer service during these periods and so need to scale up and employ more agents. This can become a costly effort however if you require so many more agents and equipment because you need to find somewhere for them to work and install and maintain equipment you might not need for the rest of the year. This financial strain can be mitigated with the help of the cloud. Any software and systems in the cloud are easily adapted to the requirements of the business, so when the business grows or temporary agents need to be taken on board any software can be altered to suit.

  1. Customer Service Improvement

There has been major growth over recent years in using multiple channels to deliver great customer service so using multi-channel contact centre software in the cloud is a no-brainer. It allows you to streamline all incoming information from different channels such as Twitter, Facebook, email, telephone and even text messages into a manageable feed in a central location. Having all of this detailed information in one place allows agents to access all of the detail they need to be to deliver exceptional service to customers and support them to the best of their ability.

Find out more about or multi channel communication platforms for the cloud environment

Mistakes to Avoid to Make your IVR System Excellent

An IVR system is a great component in helping you and your business to deliver excellent customer service, they are extremely helpful in filtering customers to the right call centre agent and delivering extra information to them. However, an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system is only useful when it works effectively, otherwise it can be a source of frustration for a lot of callers who get passed around the system and seemingly feel like they are getting nowhere. Here are a few things that you should avoid and steer clear of in your IVR system to make sure it is helping customers rather than hindering them.

Too Many or Too Little Menu Items

No caller wants to sit through a long list of 13 different menu options, not only is it frustrating, it’s confusing too. By the time anyone has reached the 13th option it is more than likely that they have forgotten at least the first 5, and they will definitely have to listen to menu all over again. However, it is very unlikely that most of the callers had stayed on the line to hear the option of listening to the menu again and if they did stay to the end they probably don’t have the patience to sit through it again. Customers just want to speak to someone to address their problem, so they will probably put the phone down instead and you would have lost their business.

Setting up between 3 and 5 different menu items is optimal, any less and it creates another problem for the customer. With not enough options the customer can become confused as to which option to choose to get them to the most relevant department. If you have too many options and you’re finding it hard to cut down, you could consider using voice recognition instead to eliminate the push button menu altogether and give the customer the power to tell your system what they’re looking for instead.

Using Jargon

There is a reason this word exists, to describe every word we don’t understand, much like the word ‘jargon’ itself. In most cases the customer is calling you because they don’t understand something, need help or have a question or query about something, so they probably don’t understand all of the technical industry jargon related to your business. You don’t want to blind your customer with these words and confuse them even further, so avoid jargon unless it is absolutely necessary, for example, if a technical term needs to be used in a menu item to point a customer in the direction of the department that deals with that item specifically.

A Lack of Consistency

Changing your wording from menu item to menu item is only going to cause confusion for the caller, don’t go from ‘Press 1 for sales’ to ‘To speak to someone about reservations press 2’, it throws the customer off because they can’t follow an easy, predictable pattern which means they have to concentrate on the menu options even more than before to make sure they select the right one and don’t make a mistake. As well as style of menu items, you need to ensure you keep the same voice and volume throughout, if the caller has to keep turning their volume up and down to suit the varying volume of your IVR system it is just creating more work for them which can really annoy them.

Not Including a Call Back Option

Calling call centres and customer service departments are branded with a stereotype that you will spend a lot of time on hold and being passed around without getting anywhere. No one appreciates being on hold, not even for a few minutes, it often stops you from being able to do anything else while you spend your time hanging on and waiting for a sign that you’re going to be able to speak to a real person soon. If there is no one available to speak to the caller you should always give them the option to hold until there is or to request a call back instead. Offering a call back option saves the customer from wasting their time and their money, it shows the customer that you care about them and understand that they have a life outside of the call that they are making, it’s just good customer service!

Avoid these mistakes to ensure your IVR system is user-friendly and won’t turn customers away! Find out more about our IVR systems.

WhatsApp passes 100 million voice calls a day

Welcome to C3’s Industry Insight blog series inspired by articles and comment on the web.

In this blog, as WhatsApp passes a significant milestone, Martin Kirkup considers the advantages of VoIP


Whatsapp revealed in a recent blog post that its users make more than 100 million voice calls each day equating to more than an astonishing 1,100 calls per second showing the growing demand for Voice over IP (VoIP) calls as consumers move away from traditional ways of communicating.   What’s even more surprising is that the app only completed the rollout of its new voice-calling feature for Android and iOS users in April 2015.

The chat app offers the facility to all its users, allowing them to transmit a voice conversation as ordinary internet traffic rather than as an ordinary voice call. This means that callers can use wi-fi networks or their data plans to make these calls.

Continue reading WhatsApp passes 100 million voice calls a day

It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way! Why Companies Hang Up On Customers

Welcome to C3’s Industry Insight blog series inspired by articles and comment on the web.

In this blog, Natasha Rutterford tackles the thorny issue of dropped calls


I love the daily tips emails from Contact Centre World. Some are really enlightening with new ideas and operating methods, many others highlight common failings in customer handling.

The issue in the below comment caught my eye as it is something which I have experienced and really irritates me as I know there is a simple technical solution!

Deliberately dropping calls during busy periods.

Continue reading It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way! Why Companies Hang Up On Customers

University clearing is important to both parties

Welcome to C3’s Industry Insight blog series inspired by articles and comment on the web.

In this blog, Martin Kirkup analyses the two-way street of University Clearing.


Now with the end of their exams and summer officially arrived it can be tough for students to keep track of all the different universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) deadlines that they need to keep to in order to start their university education.

For students wanting to apply to universities to study in 2016, June 30th marks the deadline for UCAS applications – from July 1st, any student applications received are automatically entered into the Clearing process.

Continue reading University clearing is important to both parties