As the use of smartphones proliferated, many telecom companies in North America implemented a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) arrangement with employees, authorizing employees to use one device for both personal and business purposes.
The reasoning behind such a generous arrangement is clear: advances in the technology lowered the costs of providing employees with secure devices, while at the same time boosting their work satisfaction, as they now had the convenience of using only one device to manage their personal and work items.
But as the lines between personal and business communications have begun to blur, BYOD is revealing itself to be short-sighted, having long-term risks with regards to data security, privacy and compliance that are far-reaching and potentially very damaging. And because the telecom sector requires employees to always be handling sensitive customer data, this means BYOD is a risky proposition.
Given the gravity of this potential fallout, we need to look at both the pitfalls of BYOD policies, as well as how they can be circumvented in order to minimize risk to your business operations.
Is BYOD worth the risk?
Despite its surface advantages, letting your employees use personal devices to contact customers comes with a host of problems related to communications and customer data which can quickly metastasize and compound, including:
Turnover. The risks of using a personal phone become apparent when customer-facing employees leave the company – taking their phones with them. This concern is even more heightened in an industry like telecoms, where the retail and sales staff turnover continue to be both widespread and consistent. When employees leave with their devices, not only is it difficult to truly know whether they still have access to your company’s applications, they are effectively leaving with a long history of customer information that is a rich source of data on customer preferences.
Data Security. The majority of security breaches are mistakes made by employees who either don’t fully understand or fail to comply with company requirements when it comes to securing their device. Whether losing their device, failing to update it or to have the right encryption in place, leaving the storage and security of data to the whims of employees is risky. And if security is breached, you may be facing anything from data theft to malware infiltration, major concerns for an industry like telecom where employees handle sensitive customer data on a daily basis.
Compliance. We've all read the stories about the hapless or vindictive employee who was fired for sending out the wrong tweet, accidental or not, be it off-brand or downright inappropriate. As is often the case with BYOD policies, management has very little insight into the actual conversations that are transpiring between employees and customers, a blind spot that can have serious consequences if left unchecked in the hands of an inept or dissatisfied worker. A very quick and costly line can be drawn between the inability to monitor these conversations, inappropriate communications and hefty lawsuits.
Remove BYOD risk, improve customer experience
These potential consequences can range from the embarrassing to the catastrophic, but the impact will nonetheless always affect your bottom line. There are, however, a range of tools at the disposal of telecom companies to circumvent these problems by providing a stable, secure and compliant platform, and one of the most promising is business text messaging.
Unlike BYOD, leveraging a business text messaging platform allows businesses complete control over customer conversations and their storage. And not only does business text messaging make for a secure and efficient solution, but one that also improves the customer experience.
Business text messaging platforms lets telecom companies centralize and securely store previous conversations, so even if you have high turnover, your employees won’t be leave with your data. Having a long history of customer interactions at your disposal makes it easier for anyone in the team to take over the conversation without losing its context, and this continuity goes a long way towards satisfying customers who never have to repeat themselves.
And not just that – premium business text messaging platforms like Statflo can integrate directly with your Customer Relationship Management system and legacy infrastructures, so you can surface all the relevant information regarding a customer’s history without having it siloed and trapped in individual employees’ phones. The result: your outreach is not only consistent but tailored and personalized to specific customer needs and issues, which is critical to building trust and long-lasting relationships.
When it comes to security, your choice of business text messaging platform should have established security procedures in place. This is a non-negotiable requirement, and platforms like Statflo have SOC 2 Type II certificationand enterprise-grade security procedures to secure customer data. With data security ensured, you don’t need to worry about your employees leaving with their phones or forgetting to update them.
As for compliance, centralizing your communications in business text messaging platforms gives you greater insight and control when it comes to communications, so that your employees stay accountable to best practices. Business text messaging platforms like Statflo employ secure intelligent filtering, which lets you configure restrictions, so that any type of content you deem inappropriate – from profanity to off-brand messaging - is blocked before it gets sent or received. Enforcing legal, security and brand compliance doesn’t just eliminate the risk of sending unwanted messages, but prevents the losses that follow from it, from legal issues to a negative brand image.
Shore up your defenses
There are already many risks in the telecom industry when it comes to handling sensitive customer data, complying with messaging and ensuring a smooth and consistent customer service. BYOD does not have to be one of them.
Letting your employees use their own phones to dictate and store what is arguably your most precious commodity - communications - ultimately amounts to relinquishing control and security of the communications process.
But when you shore up your defenses with business text messaging, all the associated risks of BYOD can be eliminated with a simple platform. And business text messaging doesn’t just plug the leaks of a BYOD policy – its versality allows you to build a secure, stable and consistent communications process from the ground up, while still making sure customer outreach is simple, instant, and personalized.