Five ways technology is helping retailers

With consumers driving channel choice you can’t afford to ignore any means of engagement but, at the same time, you’ve got to keep their data secure.

Digital channels have become an absolutely vital component in the retail portfolio, and have a strong influence on brand, positioning and customer experience. But, you don’t want to forget the less tech-savvy shoppers or those who may still prefer to pick up the phone and speak to an agent. So how can you keep both ends of the spectrum happy?

Whether it’s automation secure payments or agent assistance you need to find a solution that can help you achieve this. And, as important, making them all work together to form a seamless customer experience.

Here’s five cases - from secure payments to self-service and customer engagement channels - that show where retailers are staying ahead of their competition.


Carter’s Inc – the largest branded marketer of children’s clothing in the US – needed to extend their secure payments for its products across all of its call and distribution centers and achieve a robust solution to PCI DSS compliance.

Carter’s chose CallGuard to de-scope their entire operation and so prevent any card data from even entering the contact center environment. The simple solution requires limited integration or changes to existing processes and therefore was attractive to Carter’s. The solution utilizes Audio Tokenization to convert sensitive payment card data, keyed in by the caller using their telephone keypad, to non-sensitive placeholders – devaluing card data before it enters the contact center environment and so making it of no value to thieves.

As one of the largest and most respected brands in the US and Canada, Carter’s were intent on maintaining their customer’s trust and brand reputation by ensuring that all customer personal and payment card data we safe.

“We are excited to implement CallGuard Audio Tokenization as we believe this enhances our ongoing commitment to the privacy and security of our customers” Vice President Retail, Carter’s Inc


Hillarys - the UK’s leading window dressing retailer – originally addressed their PCI DSS compliance using ‘pause and resume’ functionality in their contact center which prevented customer details from being recorded. However, later revisions of the PCI DSS standard tightened requirements such that this no longer met the requirements. Hillary’s needed a seamless in-call transfer to secure IVR payment capture for their remote advisors as well as enabling their contact center agents to remain on the line while the customer is making a payment.

EckohPAY, as an automated self-service payment solution, lets customers make payments over the phone 24x7x365. The service securely authenticates the caller, using identification and verification, before guiding them through to make the payment.

CallGuard, as an agent-assisted secure payment solution, allows constant conversation between the customer and Hillarys’ agents while the payment is being processed. Because the system replaces card digits with flat tones the card data is kept anonymous. In fact, the agent cannot see, hear or gain access to the customer card data.

Both solutions remove desktops, systems, agents and call recordings from PCI DSS compliance scope and don’t require the customer to speak their card details aloud.

“We were impressed with the flexibility and unobtrusiveness of CallGuard” Head of ICT, HiIlarys


Ideal World - the multi-channel TV and web retailing business – outsources its two contact centers in Mumbai and Manilla. They wanted to improve the telephone ordering process to make it easier for their two million customers to place orders and ensure that call waiting times were reduced.

To manage the huge peaks in their call volumes, which are triggered by the popularity of items sold on the TV and web, Ideal needed to effectively automate the routing of calls between the two contact centers, identify repeat customers and explore web and social media channels of engagement.

Eckoh implemented and IVR for Ideal’s orderline and customer service line. This uses inbound telephony, including advanced speech recognition and interactive voice response, to simplify the ordering process. Fully integrated with the database the customer can receive information products, stock levels and membership. When all the agents are busy, all calls can be switched to the automated, scalable service. Agents can also engage with customers using Live Chat and Social Media which helps resolve customer enquiries outside the contact center, freeing up agents to handle more complex queries.

The Orderline and Customer Service line take over 1.5 million calls per year, enabling customers to complete orders without speaking to an agent. The identification and verification function in the IVR has reduced agent handling time by an incredible 1.4 minutes per customer. Significant cost savings have been made using automation over a human agent but, at the same time, the live agents are there to provide a more personalized service to callers who need it most.

“We are extremely pleased with the services that have been delivered and we’re thrilled to be working with Eckoh to extend the automated services for our customers.” Head of Customer Service, Ideal Shopping.


Hayes Garden World – a family-owned garden center business – needed a way to improve its online engagement after it noticed that website visitors were spending time browsing but not making a purchase. They wanted a simple way to encourage customers to ask questions if they were unsure to help them complete a purchase.

Eckoh implemented an Instant Call-Back function which is now available at the top of every page of Hayes’ website. Call-Back analyses mouse movement, pages viewed, time spent on pages and scrolling behaviours. When a customer is browsing the site, at certain key points, a pop-up window asks if they’d like a call-back from a customer advisor. This call is free for the customer and helps them to get a direct answer to their query when they’re in the best frame of mind.

To further enhance the experience and help encourage more sales Co-Browsing was also implemented. This allows the agent to share their screen with the customer so that they can guide the customer around the website answering their questions as they go and even help them place an order. Importantly, at the point at which a payment is made the agent does not see the customers’ screen which helps keep the cardholder’s data secure.

Hayes Garden World was able to increase online sales by 13% with Instant Call-Back and Co-Browsing from Eckoh.


Vue Entertainment – the operator of 116 state-of-the-art cinemas across the UK, Europe and Far East – needed to make the booking process easier for customers while raising the quality of its customer service, reducing call waiting times and providing basic information on films.

Eckoh provides Vue with a live, PCI DSS compliant, UK-based contact center and an automated information and ticket booking solution for their 80 UK cinemas. Both services integrate seamlessly to ensure customers receive fast, efficient and personalized service.

Using Eckoh’s advanced speech recognition technology, the automated service allows customers to request film information and screen times as well as book and pay for tickets. Eckoh also operates Vue’s complete customer contact center, managing inbound and outbound customer calls, emails, bookings, inquiries, complaints, refunds as well as Vue’s gift card operations.

In 2011 Eckoh handled over 300,000 calls through the contact center and over 1.2 million calls to the automated service, taking over $1.93 million in payments.

We have been working with Eckoh for a decade and they have consistently demonstrated and unrivalled level of flexibility, responsiveness and expertise in the delivery of their telephony and contact center services. COO, Vue Entertainment

For more information on our work in retail take a look at our case study. We’re here to help you, no matter what your customer engagement challenge. So, why not give us a call on 866 258 9297 or drop us an email?

Loading Conversation

Posted by eckoh at 12:15 PM on Aug 15, 2017


Recent Posts

Healthcare identity theft and fraud is a fast-growing threat in the US, but some…

This year is the 40th anniversary of the classic 1978 sci-fi movie Invasion of…


While the US retail industry is reeling from what has been declared by some as…