Why There’s Life Left in Pause and Resume Yet 

Anwesha Roy

Contact centre payments can be safe and convenient to help people make purchases and pay bills

Why There’s Life Left in Pause and Resume Yet 

With customers looking for greater flexibility and more empowerment, facilitating payments through your contact centre is now almost a must-have. Particularly in the wake of COVID-19, with so many customers unable to visit physical stores or offices, contact centre payments can be a safe and convenient way to help people make purchases, pay utility bills, and drive profitability. It is estimated that more than 80% of UK merchants leverage their call/contact centre to collect payment details.  

But are organisations safeguarding payment processes, using the right security measures? That’s where pause and resume come in.  

What is Pause and Resume in a Contact Centre? 

Pause and resume (also called stop/start) is a contact centre functionality that allows agents to manually pause call recordings whenever any sensitive data is shared on a call and resume the recording once the data exchange is complete. It prevents any personally identifiable information (PII) or protected details like card CVV/CVC, social security number, etc. from being stored as part of contact centre records.  

Given that so many contact centres use call recording technology today, pause and resume is among the most straightforward data security measures you can take.  

The Case Against Pause and Resume

In the last few years, security and compliance advocates have been extremely vocal about the potential flaws in the pause and resume system, and the risk of compliance lapses. Agents might forget to press pause before details are shared, or might forget to press resume, which would hinder the recording’s quality and hold back QA/training. And when you upgrade your IT/telephony systems, you might need to revisit existing pause and resume configurations as well.  

Further, pause and resume don’t restrict data access from agents. In case there is an insider threat already present in your organisation, your customer’s transaction information and PII could be at risk. For this reason, alternatives to pause and resume like DTMF masking and voice recognition-based payments are gaining in popularity, eliminating the need to have a listen-in in the first place.  

The Real State of Pause and Resume Today

The reality is, despite the above concerns, pause and resume is overwhelmingly the no.1 method for controlling payment fraud risk. According to research, 73% of contact centres ask agents to manually pause and resume recordings, compared to just 42% using DTMF suppression. Even less opt for voice recognition-based IVR payments (16%).  

Clearly, there’s life left in pause and resume yet, owing to a number of key benefits.  

The Benefits of Pause and Resume 

  • It’s simple, straightforward, and easy to learn. Contact centres can quickly train agents and create reusable process documentation
  • It may be necessary for multilingual contact centres, where there are non-English characters in a security code, or voice recognition cannot adapt to a non-English language effectively  
  • Finally, pause and resume empower contact centre agents to use their discretionary judgement. Even if you have a DTMF masking system in place, pause and resume may be necessary if a customer wants to share any non-payment but sensitive data during a call



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