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Fraud and Chargebacks Pose a Serious Threat to Holiday Profits

By Ann-Marie Stagg, Chief Executive of the Call Centre Management Association

The 2017 shopping season is wrapping up, but — for many retail contact centres — the season of returns and chargebacks has just begun.

The national retail federation projects 2017 holiday spending to be at least 4% higher than 2016, hitting anywhere from £724 to £917 spent, per shopper. This year’s growth has had retailers seeing visions of revenue dancing in their heads.

Further, shoppers spent over half of their shopping budgets online. We’ve seen this coming for years: The convenience factor has finally reached the tipping point, and online shopping is now shoppers’ preferred option.

As I write this, though, the post-holiday chargeback season is upon us. More online shopping means more fraud from card-not-present transactions for multichannel and e-retailers. Since 2016, online fraud has risen by 31%, and its understood that contact centre fraud has increased by an alarming 113%. These losses can take away nearly 8% of revenues from merchants, with up to 50% of those stemming directly from fraud — quite the lump of coal in merchants’ stockings.

Vendors that solely protect against fraud in their physical and online channels leave their contact centres open to potentially significant amounts of profit-eroding chargebacks. It’s estimated that 90% of fraud has at least one touchpoint in the contact centre. Online channels are often protected by several layers of security, including two-factor authentication or device fingerprinting. But, with heavily-armed online defences, failure to protect the contact centre will simply shift fraudsters to attack the less-defended channel, leading to no reduction in chargebacks at all.

There is hope, though. Chargeback management and fraud mitigation and prevention, both online and through the contact centre, are not impossible tasks. Although the process can be harrowing, knowing the battlefield gives you the edge to ward off fraudsters and those looking to “grinch” your holiday profits.

Fraud prevention needs to be holistic, covering all customer contact points with multiple layers of security. Protecting every channel, creating proactive return policies, and giving oversight can boost your profits, help you maintain manageable chargeback ratios, and keep you off your card issuers’ naughty list.

 

About Ann-Marie Stagg

Ann-Marie Stagg is the Chief Executive of the Call Centre Management Association in the UK and President of the European Confederation of Contact Centre Organisations (ECCCO). She is also a UK Ambassador for the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA).

Before devoting herself full-time to these organisations Ann-Marie has 25 years of operational contact centre experience leading both sales and service operations at Director level for blue chip companies including the Automobile Association, Scottish Power, Brakes Food Group and the Co-operative Bank.

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