Finding the perfect holiday gifts for family and friends has always come with its share of hassles: non-existent parking, endless checkout lines and sub-freezing temperatures. Increasingly, consumers prefer to shop online in the comfort of their own home at any time of day they wish. According to a recent study by research firm eMarketer, online sales in the U.S. this holiday season are expected to exceed $94 Billion—up 17 percent from last year. For most U.S.-based online retailers, the six weeks between Black Friday and Christmas Day are the busiest time of year. And fraud professionals are impacted as much as—or more than—any other employees in an e-commerce retailer.
Staying ahead of the bad guys while trying to minimize false positives and support manual review amid an avalanche of orders can cause panic during the busy holiday season. CardNotPresent.com asked current and former merchant fraud managers to share their best tips for surviving the influx of orders and stress just around the corner for retailers around the world. We found that a mix of preparedness, creativity and a dash of the holiday spirit can get even the most harried fraud team through this craziest, most wonderful time of the year.
On CyberMonday, consider holding a “War Room” for your team. Gather them in a room—away from their desks—and provide breakfast and lunch while people work, and then drinks at the end of the day. This will not only increase your productivity on a very busy day but also helps “set the tone” for your team in advance of the holiday season.
-Richard Barbieri, Manager, Risk Operations, Etsy
Know your customer. Listen to your teammates! Ask their opinion–don’t provide the answer yourself. Make them to come up with the conclusion on their own. Guide!
-Fraud Prevention Professional for an International Bank
Feed people, praise them and get their feedback on anything they feel important enough to comment on (you will be annoyed, surprised and educated if you do it right; if you aren’t, they didn’t believe your request for feedback was sincere). Keep notes during the holiday on how things went, tracking what worked and what needs improvement (e.g., rules, hours on high-volume days, unexpected high-volume days, promotional sales volumes, seasonal staff quality, manual review processes, communication with your sales/marketing, web development, and customer service teams). Get feedback on your training so you can make it better next year.
-Blaise Peters, Sr. Manager of e-Commerce Fraud Prevention, NewEgg
Stay close to the marketing & merchandising teams so you’re ready for high velocity from promotional items, especially door busters. Adjust your strategy to control review rates for low dollar & low risk orders. Make sure to take your team out of the office for lunch or an activity before/after the holidays to thank them for working extended hours during Q4.
-Sr. Manager of Investigations for a large multi-channel retailer
Build morale for your manual review analysts to demonstrate appreciation and the holiday spirit. Provide caffeine in the form of coffee, tea or soda. In the past, I’ve organized games such as Bingo, trivia or word searches based on types of fraud, common passwords or common fraud ring methods or recreate an old game show in the break room like Let’s Make a Deal. Have dress-up or theme days (e.g., 50’s day, Back to the Future, formal attire or a Fairy Tale Ball). It’s been my experience that things like this not only boost morale for the team while increasing productivity and accuracy despite an increased amount of orders.
-Timothy Laudenbach, Vice President of Card-Not-Present Fraud Services, eBureau (formerly Director of Credit/Risk for BestBuy.com)
Be prepared and set realistic expectations amongst your team. It’s an incredibly busy time but also an opportunity for everyone to pitch in and really feel like they are part of something. Make sure you also reward you team and keep them motivated as it’s not easy on them! Setting a clear workflow for the team is a great way to stay on top of things.
-Fraud Manager, Boutique Online Bank
Try to be prepared for everything in advance. Have a plan of action for each “worst case scenario” and be ready in case anything goes wrong. Once you have put those preparations in place, it’s just about enjoying those six weeks. They are tiring and stressful, but it’s Christmas time for us too!! It’s a time when every action is more rewarding and when we go even more than the extra mile (for customers, for the company and the team!). That feeling and your opportunity to shine is priceless! Positivism, a sense of humor and coffee are everything at this time of year.
-Financial Crime Analyst for Short Term Loan Company