Omni-Channel Payment Solutions

Secure payments, anywhere at any time

Make it easy to take payments

The way customers make payments has shifted. Today’s customers want the luxury of being able to make transactions or pay bills anywhere and at any time. For companies to keep up with the rising developments, online and mobile payments have become a requirement. The value of meeting customer demands is recognised by companies that provide multiple payment channels.

Our payment solutions enable businesses to take payments flexibly and securely across multiple channels:

  • pay-by-phone IVRs
  • agent-assisted payments
  • web payments
  • click-to-pay by email, chat and SMS

Pay by Phone

24×7 payment IVR with or without staff interaction.  IVRs can be created to suit your workflows, payment and customer types, with bespoke audios and different language and currency options.

As well as any regulatory obligations that you are required to comply with, there are clear benefits of automating your payment processing:

  • Payments can be made at any time of the day, not just during office hours
  • Card payment transactions are secure
  • Some customers prefer to pay by phone/without human interaction
  • Calls can always be transferred to a live agent on request
  • Reduced call handling costs: why pay someone to do the job that a computer can do?
  • Reduced call traffic and call wait times
  • Optional payment confirmation SMS to customer
  • Fixed cost per transaction
  • Real-time payment processing and reporting, on-demand reporting
  • Daily reports for all calls, payments made, failed payments and exit points.

“In simple terms, a payment IVR allows the caller to make a payment by phone at any time of the day and without the need for human interaction.”

The Firstcom Payment IVR allows you to process payments in a number of ways:

  1. Your agents answer payment calls and transfer calls to the IVR platform at the point in the conversation when they need to take payment. The caller uses their telephone keypad to enter their card details. The caller concludes the call or selects to reconnect with the agent.
  2. Your agents stay on the line and guide the caller through the payment process. The caller enters their card details through their telephone keypad. The agent doesn’t see or hear cardholder data. Minimal agent intervention is needed and the system hides card entries on the agent screen, blocks the DTMF tones from being recorded and notifies the agent of payment confirmation.
  3. The customer calls a dedicated automated payment line or calls your main number and selects the option to pay by self-service. The IVR processes payments and handles balance enquiries without the need for live agents, significantly reducing operational costs, freeing your resource from high volume, routine transactions whilst offering your customers a service that is conveniently available to them 24 hours a day with no queuing or wait time.

You can mix and match the above options as required.  For example, one Firstcom client always has option 3 available via its main switchboard, uses option 2 in its debt collection team during contact centre opening hours and switches over to option 3 for this team during closure.

Your solution can be seamlessly integrated with your existing systems to allow real-time checks of information such as references and outstanding balances. Real-time data-feeds back into your systems are also available as soon as a payment is made.

The payment IVR guides the caller through the payment process. The caller keys in all the data requested. If all verification checks are successful, the transaction is completed. The caller can opt to receive a confirmation SMS and your business receives a transaction report. At any time during the payment process the caller can opt to be transferred to a member of staff. Call transfer logic is used for error and exception handling.

You can offer payment processing as a self-contained interaction or callers can be directed to a payment IVR after having spoken to an agent, with the caller coming back to the agent for call closure as appropriate. Alternatively, with the Firstcom dialler platform’s conferencing technology, you can offer the customer for the agent to be present on a call during an automated IVR payment – the customer goes through the call flow and at the point of payment the card details are input as DTMF tones via the customer’s keypad. Since there is no manual intervention while entering card details, the service is secure and PCI compliant.

A 24 hour self-service payment service is a very effective way to offer a broader,  better service to your customers whilst minimising staff costs.  It has also been shown to improve collection returns.

Call centre agents can account for 70% of the expenditure in call centres.  Using automation frees up the most expensive cost of collections – your staff – to deal with the more complex cases.  This two-pronged approach can drive down the cost of collections and increase the returns.

Self service enables you to extend opening hours without the need to extend your staffing budget by employing more staff or paying for more hours.

Some studies show that over half of customers prefer automated self-service and see it as less intrusive than dealing with humans.

Man in white shirt using an application on his mobile phone.

Agent-assisted Payments

Agents stay on the line while the customer makes the payment; no payment data is heard, recorded or stored.

Using the latest encryption software, customers can make payments securely with a guiding hand from an agent, vastly improving the interaction between the business and its customers and boosting satisfaction levels.

Customers simply type in their payment details using their telephone keypad, a more secure option than reading confidential card details to the agent.  The agent can see the transaction progress on their system without actually seeing the card number and the call is recorded for regulatory purposes but without revealing the specific card details.

Web Payments

Browser-based payments through a secure online payment portal. Additional options include secure card storage, recurring payment plan set-up and bespoke API integrations.

A fully-branded PCI-DSS Level 1 secure online payment portal, with a range of integration options to work hand-in-hand with your existing systems.

Securing your website to take payments can be prohibitively expensive.  Our solution enables you to offer a secure payment service on your website, with all debit and credit card processing performed in a PCI-DSS Level 1 certified environment, with a look and feel that match your brand requirements.  Firstcom can work with you to develop simple payment pages through to full applications, as well as a range of integrations that work seamlessly with your back-end systems.

Omni Channel Payment Solutions

Click-to-Pay

Payments by email, SMS or live chat through personalized payment URLs.  Aside from providing a more convenient and streamlined customer experience, click-to-pay essentially limits the exposure of a consumer’s personal details when making purchases.

Personalised message content and increased payment conversion.

With Firstcom’s click-to-pay service you can email, live chat or text your customers a personalized, trackable URL that will prefill reference and payment amount details.  Clicking on the link takes the customer to a mobile friendly payment web page with as much or as little customer information pre-filled as required, allowing them to confirm payment details and complete the transaction.

A customer can enter new card details or use a previously stored card, making it easy for them to complete the payment process.  The personalised URL means there’s no need to enter a reference number or payment amount, just a payment method.

Many of our utilities customers have experienced a substantial increase in payments using click-to-pay.  The click-to-pay concept has also been adapted successfully for more generic utility communications such as meter reading requests.  Other applications include debt collection, payment and invoice reminders, appointments and cancellation services, marketing and promotional messaging and automated surveys.

Click to Pay

Payment processing and PCI compliance

When you’re taking payments, you need to ensure your organisation is doing so compliantly.  For you that may mean making a small number of agent seats or your entire contact centre environment PCI compliant.   Or it may mean ensuring your staff are able to take payments compliantly no matter where they or your customers are.  PCI compliance basically means that your payment system is secure and that your customers can trust you with their card information.  It protects consumers from payment card fraud and it protects your business from exposure to liability which, in turn, protects your brand reputation.

Pause and resume recording alone has its drawbacks: it is subject to agent error, it often still leaves the agent exposed to sensitive card details and it requires regular checks by your personnel to ensure agents are adhering to the pause/resume process.  And pause and resume over an unsecured telephone line just doesn’t protect the cardholder’s data.

The Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) warns of the risks businesses take if they use pause and resume call recording for processing payments by phone.

Pause and resume – whether manual or automated – only removes the call recording and its storage from PCI DSS scope. It does not address the risks posed by unscrupulous agents, their desktop environment and internal phone systems. PCI SSC’s guidelines are clear: the only solution against fraud and to ensure compliance is to completely remove payment card data from the contact centre environment.

For more information on PCI SSC’s guidelines, click here.

Productivity

Our payments solutions are just one facet of Firstcom’s suite of customer engagement solutions.  See below for some of our other productivity tools.

Back in March of this year we decided as a business that we needed to upgrade the “technology” behind our call centre and back office teams. On visiting the Call and Contact Centre Expo at ExCel in London, and out of all the businesses there offering similar products, we were immediately drawn towards Firstcom because of their approachable nature and collaborative support culture. This was quickly and professionally backed up by onsite meetings to understand our needs and desires, and then with thought out and well-presented recommendations. We know that we have made the right choice in wanting to work with Firstcom and we are looking forward to our relationship developing as we move forward as a business.

William Bryant, Head of Customer Services at Providor

We have worked with Firstcom for many years across the contact centre and find them to be extremely responsive and competent in handling our requests, often dealing with extremely short timescales and industry specific challenges.

The solutions we use which are delivered by Firstcom are live systems which are required to be available 24/7 and have proven to be highly scalable.  When challenges occur Firstcom are transparent and work as if they part of the Spark team in a true partnership.

Spark Energy
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