Customer service and protecting customer information are vitally important to any business, but sometimes it can be tough to do one without impacting the other.
For WideOpenWest (WOW!), a medium-sized provider of cable, internet and phone services, its call centers and customer interaction are at the core of what helps to set it apart within a crowded and competitive market.
“We try to stay on top of the latest technologies and provide the best customer care experience that we can for our users and give them a strong personal experience, so that we can set ourselves apart from the larger providers,” Elaine McGuffin, director of call center telephony at WideOpenWest, told PYMNTS.
But the company also knew that in order to provide the best security and best customer experience simultaneously, it would need to exceed the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Security Standards Council standards.
With the primary goals of finding a solution with ease of integration, compliance tracking and quality monitoring control, WOW! set out to find a provider that could build a solution that would be able to meet PCI requirements and help boost customer satisfaction, call handle time and call center security — all without the challenge of altering existing infrastructure.
Moving Forward with a Trusted Partner
After evaluating a variety of software and hardware offerings, WOW! realized that the solution it required did not actually exist yet.
At that point, the company turned to IntraNext Systems, which was the vendor it used to implement its computer telephony integration (CTI) infrastructure several years earlier, to build and implement the new PCI-compliant payment system solution it needed for both its call center agents and interactive voice response (IVR) offering.
“We looked to IntraNext to have an integrated solution that would provide all of the security for all of those avenues and would integrate well with our phone system,” McGuffin explained.
From there, the iGuard solution was born — providing the security of sensitive cardholder data during an agent/customer interaction.
WOW! customers can provide their credit card information via their telephone keypads without customer service representatives seeing or hearing the information. With the iGuard solution in place, payment information goes directly into the back-end payment system, validation is returned and the transaction is completed during the conversation with the customer.
Bringing Stakeholders Onboard
McGuffin said that at first she thought bringing on a new solution may come with some pushback from call center agents or even customers, but instead the feedback on iGuard has been positive from both sides.
“The customers have been very positively responsive to the system because they realize we’re doing something that is protecting their information,” she explained. “They recognize that there’s something important in what we’re doing and that we’re trying to not only protect our interests, but we’re protecting their interests too.”
WOW! customers have recognized that the new protective measures being put in place with the new solution was for them and have been appreciative of that fact, McGuffin added.
Since implementing the solution, she noted that the biggest technical challenge has been getting through the resulting audits of the system.
“We as a company are very stringent on ourselves, and we want to make sure everything is completely covered as far as security,” she said, adding that IntraNext has been useful in helping WOW! maintain a strong security environment and working through technical tasks, like segmenting its network, ensuring that everything passed within the audit, segmenting port requirements, etc.
IntraNext first brought up the iGuard solution in its own development environment that mirrored WOW!’s, which McGuffin noted really helped to eliminate any technical challenges or issues throughout deployment.
“Those kinds of technical challenges have been mitigated with this really robust testing phase and development phase before we actually moved something into production,” she said.
A Personal Difference
McGuffin said the experience working with IntraNext was different from other vendors or business partners in many ways, namely because of the consistency and quality that has been maintained throughout the project.
With IntraNext, she said there hasn’t been high turnover in their technical or support staff, which takes away the time and effort that comes with having to constantly break in new technicians and bring them up to speed on the environment.
“They also have provided excellent project management resources for us, which is another big piece of the puzzle when you have a company that you’re working with,” McGuffin added.
One other differentiating factor — that McGuffin said isn’t required when working with a vendor but can be a huge help — is that since IntraNext was in close proximity to one of WOW!’s call centers, IntraNext employees would often travel down when big changes had to be implemented.
This would enable the IntraNext staff to work directly with WOW! call center agents onsite and see where improvements needed to be made.
“That’s not necessarily anything that anyone would need to have, but it has been a plus and has differentiated them from other vendors,” McGuffin noted.
Since the implementation of iGuard, WOW! has experienced a 74 percent success rate of customers who can self-assist using the IVR system and a 100 percent success rate with agents when they use the iGuard application.
“IntraNext also provided reports that have been very helpful and have been integrated into our larger-scale reports, so we see the success rates and where the problems might be,” McGuffin explained, adding that WOW! has also been provided with audits to help ensure that they are utilizing resources correctly.
“The IntraNext family has a very strong, positive influence on our environment, because they come through with their promises,” she said. “They are there to support you, and it feels like an extension of our own company at times … They’re just professional at all times. They have a really strong technical organization and share information with each other in order to make our experience the best possible experience we can have.”