Empathy humanizes each customer service interaction

The pandemic has been the ultimate stress test for banks, catapulting digital transformation to top priority status.

While technology continually transforms how people engage, the need — and desire — for human connection remains strong. Contact centers have played a vital role in building human connections during social distancing.

In the past, the primary quality stressed in customer service was professionalism. Empathy only existed in “moment of truth” interactions, those “make-or-break moments” when brands must resolve high-stakes service situations. Until the pandemic, empathy was often missing outside of these moments. 

Similarly, the contact center was viewed as a cost center, there to manage run-of-the-mill transactions. But as its unique position and capabilities have become more apparent, the contact center has shifted to the forefront of customer service strategy, providing both necessary services and emotional support for consumers and businesses dealing with unexpected hardships. 

Callers to a contact center are under a lot of strain. They worry about losing their homes, their jobs and their loved ones. Combined with the stress of a prolonged pandemic, many have exacerbated feelings of uncertainty and powerlessness. 

The role of the contact center agent has changed accordingly. Calls to the contact center are now more complex and emotionally charged. Customers choose the phone because they expect personalized answers to their problems. Soft skills — compassion, understanding, active listening — have always been important, but equally important are critical thinking skills and being mentally nimble. The customer experience of each interaction is driven not just by what they want to achieve, but also by factors such as emotional state, urgency of request, and past experiences.

The way consumers interact with businesses has been forever changed. With greater access to mobile technologies and social media, consumers are more informed and engaged than ever. Digital experiences will account for even more service interactions and personalized service will become a common thread of every future customer service interaction. Receiving highly-personalized service is the status quo for these empowered consumers, the majority of whom expect first-call resolution, something more likely to occur through human interactions. Delivering a superior member experience is critical to retaining customers and driving business results.

But while technology and innovation have transformed how consumers and companies interact, one truth remains: Consumers need human interaction. The pandemic raised the bar for empathy and human connection. To truly drive emotional engagement with consumers, institutions will need to balance digitalization with highly personalized human connection. 

Now more than ever, consumers need human connection. Knowing the voice on the other end of the line is a real human being is critical. What does empathy mean for customer service? Quite simply, empathy means letting people know you care. It starts with recognizing the humanity in the person on the other end of the phone line, and putting yourself in their shoes. As a result, the interaction successfully ends with the customer feeling fully understood.

Banks ordered to promptly flag cybersecurity incidents under new U.S. rule
U.S. banking regulators last month finalized a rule that directs banks to report any major cybersecurity incidents to the government within 36 hours of discovery.

Separately, the banking industry said it had successfully completed a massive cross-industry cyber security drill that aims to ensure Wall Street knows how to respond in the event of a ransomware attack that threatens to disrupt a range of financial services.

The developments highlight the growing threat large-scale cyber incidents pose to financial stability.

The new bank rule stipulates that banks must notify their primary regulator of a significant computer security breach as soon as possible, and no later than 36 hours after discovery.

Banks also must notify customers as soon as possible of a cybersecurity incident if it results in problems lasting more than four hours.

The new requirement applies to any cybersecurity incidents that are expected to materially impact a bank's ability to provide services, conduct its operations or undermine the stability of the financial sector. The rule was approved by the Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

It sets explicit expectations on how quickly banks must make cybersecurity breaches known, as regulators look to catch up to the rapidly growing role technology is playing in every type of banking service. Previously, there was no specific requirement for how quickly a bank must report a major computer breach.

Top Cybersecurity Tips For Vacations

As the holiday season approaches, millions of people will be traveling. If you are among the many, here are some tips to help keep you cyber savvy and safe.

Mobile Devices
Bring as few devices as you can. The fewer devices you bring while traveling, the fewer devices that can be lost or stolen. In fact, did you know that you are far more likely to lose a mobile device than have it stolen? Whenever leaving a hotel room, restaurant, taxi cab, train or airplane, do a quick device check and make sure you have all of your devices. Don’t forget to have friends or family traveling with you to double check for their devices too, like children who may leave a device behind on a seat or in a restaurant. As for the devices you choose to bring, make sure you update them so they are running the latest operating system and apps. Keep the screen lock enabled. If possible, ensure you have some way to remotely track your devices if they are lost. In addition, you may want the option to remotely wipe the device. That way if a device is lost or stolen, you can remotely track and/or wipe all your sensitive data and accounts from the device. Finally, do a backup of any devices you take with you, so if one is lost or stolen, you can easily recover your data. 

Wi-Fi Connections
When traveling, you may need to connect to a public Wi-Fi network. Keep in mind you often have no idea who configured that Wi-Fi network, who is monitoring it or how, and who else is connected to it. Instead of connecting to a public Wi-Fi network, whenever possible connect to and use the personal hotspot feature of your smartphone. This way you know you have a trusted Wi-Fi connection. If that is not possible and you need to connect to a public Wi-Fi network (such as at an airport, hotel, or cafe), use a Virtual Private Network, often called a VPN. This is software you install on your laptop or mobile devices to help protect and anonymize your Wi-Fi connection. Some VPN solutions include settings to automatically enable the VPN when connecting to non-trusted Wi-Fi networks.

Public Computers 
Avoid using public computers, such as those in hotel lobbies or at coffee shops, to log into any accounts or access sensitive information. You don’t know who used that computer before you, and they may have infected it accidentally or deliberately with malware, such as a keystroke logger. Stick to devices you control and trust. 

Social Media
We love to update others about our travels and adventures through social media, but we don’t always know who every friend or viewer is online. Avoid oversharing while on vacation as much as possible and consider waiting to share your trip until you’re home. Additionally, don’t post pictures of boarding passes, driver’s licenses, or passports as this can lead to identity theft. 

If you will be working while on vacation (we hope not!), make sure you check what your work travel policies are ahead of time, including what devices or data you can bring with you and how to remotely connect to work systems safely.

Vacation should be a time for relaxing, exploring, and having fun. These simple steps will help ensure you do so safely and securely.

AaSys Advisory - Apache Log4j Vulnerability
We are aware of the weaknesses presented by the log4j vulnerability and are continuing to determine which systems are potentially affected. The external facing systems you currently operate that AaSys has immediate insight into are your firewalls and Dell SMA, neither of which are affected by this vulnerability. Additionally, Fortinet has updated the IPS Signatures on their FortiGate Firewalls to block the exploitation of the log4j2 vulnerability.

Other devices may be external facing and be subject to the log4j vulnerability such as Core routers or web applications. These devices have been identified and are actively being reviewed by the relevant vendors. We are actively monitoring the press releases from these third party vendors to ensure that any vulnerable products are swiftly remediated. If the need for any remediation is discovered to affect your environment we will be in contact with you immediately. 

No systems on the AaSys Network are currently affected by this vulnerability.
Please Note: the following Adobe products are end of life and are no longer being supported by Adobe! Adobe will no longer issue updates or security patches for these products.

  • Acrobat X Pro
  • Acrobat X Standard
  • Acrobat X Suite
  • Acrobat XI Pro
  • Acrobat XI Standard
Proofpoint is offering complimentary Awareness Training Kits. The kits give you the tools you need to engage your users and turn them into a strong line of defense against phishing attacks and other cyber threats.

The kits cover Phishing and Password Awareness. Download them now!

And if you are interested in acquiring Proofpoint for your organization, please contact your Account Executive today!
AaSys Advisory Regarding SmartSheet
AaSys has been in the process of converting our document storage process from the older portal to SmartSheet. AaSys hopes to have all customers converted from using the portal to using SmartSheet by January 2022. In the past, the portal was used to not only upload requested documents, but also as a place to store and archive important documents.  AaSys is taking a very conservative approach and electing not to use SmartSheet for storage. It was really designed to share documents and enhance the project management process. With this in mind, only current active documents will be available on SmartSheet and we will be clearing these documents as they are no longer needed. AaSys will be saving documents on a secure server; however, you should save them on your network/storage as well for easy access. Thanks for your help in reaching this goal. If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact your Account Executive.  
From the AaSys family to yours, sending wishes of warmth, joy and peace this festive season. Our thanks to you for sticking with us through this difficult year. We couldn’t have done it without you.
2021 Company Holidays
Friday, December 24, 2021 - Christmas Eve Day (AaSys will close at 12:00 PM EST)
Saturday, December 25, 2021 - Christmas Day
Friday, December 31, 2021 - New Year's Eve (AaSys will close at 2:00 PM EST)
Saturday, January 1, 2022 - New Year's Day
AaSys Group, Inc.
11301 North US Highway 301
Suite 106
Thonotosassa, FL 33592
(813) 246-4757 Phone
(813) 246-4576 Fax