Call center operations have leveraged call recoding technology for decades to improve training, quality control and to resolve customer disputes. Today these same technologies can be used to authenticate callers seamlessly reducing average handle time and improving security.
Opportunities for Real Time Authentication With Voice Biometrics
Authentication has always been a challenge in any face-less environment, especially call centers where social engineering can cause significant problems. A good example was WIRED writer Mat Honan’s well documented personal experience. This included failures in authentication at Amazon and Apple call centers that led to a nearly complete identity takeover of multiple accounts.
Strong and seamless authentication in the call center can prevent many downstream problems related to fraud, customer servicing and experience, and operational workload. For example, recent research from Aite Group showed that 72% of financial institutions surveyed expected an increase in fraud from contact centers in the next 12 – 18 months:
Source: Aite Group Research “Contact Centers: The Fraud Enablement Channel”
The effort in the call center to deal with this growing challenge can dramatically increase the time it takes to handle a call as criminals attempt to socially engineer agents. There are a lot of up-front savings reducing call handle time in these scenarios. Improved authentication can also save significant costs downstream in operations, fraud charge offs and customer experience and loyalty. Had real time voice biometric authentication been in place, it is likely Mat Honan’s story might not have needed to be written.
Pre-Enrolled Authentication – A Customer’s Dream
Customer uptake and enrollment is one of the key challenges organizations face when deploying authentication in the call center. In the past it often required end users to repeat a phrase a number of time to create a voice biometric that could be used for future authentication. In addition, users often needed to use that phrase – such as “my voice is my password” – to actually authenticate. Today, text-independent capability offers a smoother user experience, authenticating seamlessly during the call flow.
By integrating with existing call recording capabilities an organization can leverage historical calls to enroll users seamlessly with no additional interactions required. This also provides the opportunity to analyze multiple calls to create the most accurate voice print. NICE Systems has seen large clients able to enroll hundreds of thousands of end users in just a few months’ time. This seamless, historical enrollment increases usage, reduces friction and greatly reduce the time to reach a return on investment. While some jurisdictions require some sort of consent or opt-in/opt-out, a strong partner will have these concerns in mind and can advise on how to implement a solution to maintain compliance.
Leveraging a Single Platform
By leveraging existing call center recording technology organizations can save costs when deploying and managing real time authentication through voice biometrics. Rather than stitching together disparate systems, organizations can substantially reduce roll-out and ongoing costs by leveraging and existing platform’s technology. This lowers the cost to implement, and also lowers the ongoing management cost, driving down total cost of ownership (TCO). Organizations can deploy fewer servers, reducing capital costs, reduce IT administration overhead by avoiding new administration tools and training.
Realizing the Benefits
None of this is entirely magic; call center technology is complex and vital to maintaining high availability operations. Even a few minutes of downtime could cost tens of thousands of dollars. Firms should look for strong partners who guide and support them through lessons learned, technology deployment and operational changes that come with such an enhancement, and provide ongoing support, ultimately improving customer experience while reducing costs.
Working closely with a vendor helps to minimize risks while maximizing the return on investment by aligning operational processes to leverage the new technology, optimizing parameters to improve average handle time, and maintaining the health of the solution ensure ongoing performance.