[Editor’s note: November is Holiday Survival Month at Card Not Present (sponsored by Sift Science). The holidays are the best of times for most merchants, but they can result in sleepless nights for fraud professionals charged with protecting the bottom line amid a crush of orders. Check back here throughout the month for updated content that will help merchants make their customers’ holidays memorable while holding fraudsters at bay and keeping their staffs sane.]
Last year, e-commerce fraud spiked by around 22 percent during the holiday season. This period sees dramatic changes in the amount and types of fraud businesses encounter, from credit card testing and promo abuse to friendly fraud chargebacks and email tumbling.
So, what does that mean for fraud teams? ‘Tis the season to motivate everyone to get through the holiday rush. Here are some tips to make sure they’re in shape to face the madness head-on.
1) Set the stage with your team. Be honest with them—let them know upfront that this time of year is going to be stressful. But, remind them that they’re responsible for delighting and keeping your customers safe. Rally the troops!
2) Give them the tools to experiment and strategize. Ask your cross-functional partners about launches coming down the pipeline so you can adjust for future changes in customer behavior. And, partner with product or engineering teams to stress-test your rules or machine learning systems by running simulations. That ensures your team is optimally equipped for the additional volume.
3) Arm yourself with information. Ask your product or finance teams if they have a forecast for fraud and order volumes based on data from previous years. Using that forecast, your team can figure out scheduling and hiring needs.
4) Once you have that data, start planning. Figure out how much revenue you’re going to have to do and how many people you’ll need. Remember, many of your fraud analysts will want to take time off for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year. Ask them to rank their preferences for time off on each holiday. Once that’s done, you can start figuring out whether you need to hire contractors to deal with fraud surrounding each holiday.
5) Be smart with your contractors. Leave enough time to train them so they’re equipped to deal with the fraud rush. Consider letting them handle more “lightweight” functions like customer service, or having them work on lower-risk orders. To soften the potential impact of fraud on your bottom line, let your more seasoned fraud analysts handle more high-risk transactions.
6) Cross-train your customer support team. If needed, they can help out with lower-risk transactions. Like your contractors, make sure you’re giving them enough time to train and ramp up.
7) Document everything. Make sure you have a playbook to train new employees and contractors to make their onboarding experience as efficient as possible. Instruct your team on keeping detailed records on each transaction so you’re ready to fight potential chargebacks.
8) Empathy is key. The holiday season can by hard for your employees. It’s important to keep up their morale so they keep giving 110 percent. Consider letting your employees work from home, especially if they’re working overtime. And more importantly, take the time to recognize their hard work and celebrate their wins!