Apply Voice Biometrics on Live Agent Calls or IVR?

​Deployed in a growing number of contact centers​ worldwide, voice biometrics is a technology that validates a speaker's identity in real-time based on his/her voice characteristics. When first introduced to contact centers several years ago, voice biometrics solutions were mainly based on text-dependent technologies. Considering the technological limitations, these technologies were initially adopted by contact centers to support authentication in the Interactive Voice Response (IVR). Today, many contact centers experts still think IVR when they think voice biometrics.

But is it really the BEST way to think about voice biometrics for contact centers?

When deploying biometrics for authentication in the contact center, there are two main options:

  1. Applying voice biometrics on self-service channels like the IVR
  2. Applying voice biometrics on live agent calls

The main advantage of option number one is the potential increase in IVR containment rate. Voice biometrics makes authentication on the IVR more secure than traditional authentication methods, hence allowing a larger number of actions to be completed in the IVR without a human touch. The main disadvantage: when applied on the IVR, voice biometrics requires customers to actively enroll. This means that in order to create a voiceprint for future use, the customer first needs to say a certain phrase three to five times while talking to the IVR. This is not a good customer experience and at the end of the day – customers just don't do that…they DO NOT enroll to the service.  

From a customer experience perspective, option number two​ is much more compelling as the enrollment is done passively, in a seamless manner in the background of a natural conversation between a customer and an agent. Moreover, applying voice biometrics on live agent calls also improves the experience during authentication, since this too, is done seamlessly in the first few seconds of a call with an agent. Looking at the operational efficiency aspect, voice biometrics for live agent calls reduces the Average Handle Time (AHT) by 40 seconds on average, and usually much more than that.

No doubt that having voice biometrics for both live agent calls and the IVR in the contact center would help your business, but many organizations want to start from one channel and then expand to the other.

So where should you start from?

Working with contact centers for more than 30 years, and offering a voice biometrics solution that supports both the live agent call and the IVR channels, we at NICE have dedicated time and thought to figure out which of the options helps contact centers save more money and improve their service. We have served contact centers of different sizes, industries and regions deploying voice biometrics on various channels, and followed the implications on operational efficiency, customer experience and employee satisfaction. Based on that, our recommendation in most cases is to first apply voice biometrics on live agent calls, and then grow to IVR and other self-service channels.  

​Interested in what led to this conclusion? Download the whitepaper: 5 Reasons to Apply Voice Biometrics on Live Agent Calls Before Expanding to IVR.
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