AIM Stock Story - Eckoh

In an increasingly technology-driven world, Cyber & Digital Security is crucial to us all, because it protects our data from theft, damage and other cyber threats. As more of our life moves to the digital world, we are under constant threat from cyber criminals, especially when buying things online. This is why we have Cyber & Digital Security as one of our positive investment themes and it's one of the reasons why we invested in AIM listed Eckoh PLC, as we seek out companies which make our online lives safer and more efficient.

Based in Hemel Hempstead, Eckoh is a global customer engagement security software specialist. Customer engagement is the process through which a company interacts with customers, via a variety of channels, in order to strengthen the relationship between the two.

As we all interact more in the digital sphere, companies engage with customers via social media, email, websites, community forums, or any other space where they’re communicating or consuming content.

Eckoh’s client base is broad and includes government departments, retailers, utilities and financial services companies. Its activities encompass two highly complementary areas: Secure Payment products and Customer Contact solutions. Eckoh’s patented Secure Payment products help contact centres and organisations to reduce the risk of fraud; secure all this sensitive data and comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) as well as other security regulations such as GDPR.

The Customer Contact solutions business helps organisations transform the way they engage with customers, enabling enquiries and transactions to be performed on whatever device the customer chooses, through any inbound communication channel and it allows customers to self-serve or to engage with a customer service advisor.

How Eckoh helps its customers is probably best illustrated by an example.

One of Eckoh’s clients is a large, US retailer of apparel and footwear, operating globally. The company owns more than 30 brands organised into four categories: Outdoor, Active, Work and Jeans plus it controls 55% of the U.S. backpack market with its Jansport, Eastpak, Timberland and North Face brands. It has eight data centres, nine contact centres and 275 sales agents.

Due to the volume of calls that are made to its contact centre which require taking a card payment over the phone, the client needed to comply with the PCI DSS to continue taking these payments for its services. The client also wanted to give its customers confidence that it can handle their payment card data securely.

With customer service being a key element in retaining and attracting customers, the company wanted to ensure that its contact centre agents could stay in touch with the customer throughout the call, even when confidential payment details were submitted. Eckoh implemented its patented CallGuard Audio Tokenisation solution that de-scopes, i.e., it removes from the payment process, the contact centre agent as well as activating call and screen recordings [1].

Historically, Eckoh has shown good levels of growth although it paused for breath recently, mainly due to the pandemic.

Macro factors such as the growth in online retail, regular data breaches, increased regulation and the shift to remote working are very much in Eckoh’s favour. We feel the present share price doesn’t reflect the company’s potential, particularly in the very large US secure payments market - which remains a great opportunity for them.

Written by David Elton