4 call centre workers sitting at desks with headsets on with a pink overlay to represent the Privacy 108 brand

Privacy for Call Centres: Increase Privacy with These 5 Tips

Call centres are hotbeds for the collection – and theft and misuse – of personal information. With the consequences for mismanagement of personal information increasing, call centres are looking to improve their privacy practices to better protect their customers. These 5 privacy tips for call centres can help improve data security and management:  

5 Tips to Improve Privacy for Call Centres 

Tip 1: Implement a Multi-Pronged Approach to Privacy 

Given the high volume of personal and sensitive information that passes through call centres, it is essential that call centres implement a multi-pronged approach to privacy and data management.  

Limiting the amount of personal and sensitive information collected and stored should be a high priority for call centres looking to reduce their risk. With data minimisation in place, call centres should then map all their data flows and implement a cybersecurity program that addresses the risk the personal information poses. 

Their cybersecurity programs should contemplate the call centre’s network and system security, customer verification security, and team member training and other operational processes and procedures – at a minimum.  

Tip 2: Make the Security Questions Difficult to Answer Based on Public Information 

Many organisations just ‘identify’ customers calling in, they don’t authenticate their identity. This makes it easier for criminals to conduct ‘Account Takeovers’, where they steal personal information, account rewards (like frequent flyer points), or use the account for financial gain.  

To reduce the risk of social engineering attacks, consider: 

  • Asking multiple open-ended questions like: “How long ago did you open this account?” or “What types of account(s) do you have with us?”. 
  • Implementing phone PINs for customers or authentication via email or SMS. 
  • Adopting voice biometrics, which can help to reduce the likelihood of a fraudulent caller being able to access the account. 

Watch this video featuring an ethical hacker to understand why it’s important to make security questions dynamic and difficult:  

Tip 3: Do Not Ask Customers to Read Personal Information Out Loud 

People are becoming more aware of the importance of keeping their personal information safe. Businesses need to respond to this – or risk alienating their customers (which can result in reduced customer loyalty).
Call centres should avoid, wherever possible, requiring their customers to verify their personal and sensitive information or their security details out loud. Instead, implement technologies that give customers the option to verify numeric information via the keypad. 

Tip 4: Educate Your Customers 

Let your customers know what your ordinary authentication practices are – and what you would never do:  

  • Tell them that you would never ask them for their online password or for the multi-factor authentication passcodes.  
  • Let them know that they should hang up and call a specific number if they’re unsure about whether a certain call from your centre is legitimate.  
  • Advise customers to choose a secure phone PIN and not share it with anyone. Ideally, the phone PIN will be provided via the keypad and the agent themself won’t hear it or otherwise be able to access it. 

Tip 5: Implement Strong Protections If Your Agents Work from Home. 

Your staff already represents the largest risk to your call centre’s privacy and data security. This risk is amplified when they work from home for many reasons. For example, there are more potential entry points to the network for hackers to exploit. It’s also more likely that operational procedures and processes will fall to the wayside.  

Call centre worker sitting at a desk at home with a headset on

As a result, call centres need to have robust protections and policies in place for team members who work remotely. At a minimum, these should include:  

  • Mandating the use of organisation-provided equipment and networks for taking calls and accessing the organisation’s systems at home.  
  • Using a secure cloud-based system and software for all organisational processes.  
  • Requiring your team to use specific work-from-home security protocols.  

If you need help addressing privacy and data security at your call centre, reach out. Our privacy team would love to help.  

  • We collect and handle all personal information in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

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Privacy, security and training. Jodie is one of Australia’s leading privacy and security experts and the Founder of Privacy 108 Consulting.