Voice Authentication in the Contact Center: Create Happy Customers & Improve Agent Productivity

In July, we presented Aberdeen’s latest research findings on voice authentication in the contact center in a webinar. Luckily, the event was recorded if you happened to miss it – you can watch it here.

In this webinar, we presented findings from our survey of 445 contact centers across the globe. Specifically, we shared the top factors influencing authentication programs, the ROI of different authentication methods, and recommendations for selecting the right authentication method. This post provides a summary of some of the key takeaways that we revealed.

Reduce Customer Effort, Increase Customer Satisfaction

Starting with the top factors influencing authentication programs, we highlighted that customer-centricity is a key element contact center leaders must consider. Authentication is no longer just an exercise to ensure a customer is the person they say they are. Rather, it’s a way for companies to protect customer information and assets such as savings, and hence, an important tool to build a trusted relationship with clients.

This relationship must require minimal effort from the customer and adapt to their channel preferences. We discussed that 55% of contact centers today use at least seven channels to interact with customers. Where multi-channel is now the new normal, it’s imperative for contact centers to incorporate omni-channel capabilities to authenticate customers across all relevant channels and provide a frictionless experience as much as possible.

In the webinar, we then discussed research findings showing the year-over-year performance gains observed by companies using different authentication methods. We started the conversation by looking at the chart below (Figure 1), which illustrates the annual performance gains observed by companies using voice biometrics and non-users. As depicted below, voice biometrics users enjoy superior annual growth across a variety of key performance indicators (KPIs) compared to non-users. We recommend watching the webinar to learn the top reasons driving these gains, and to learn why Best-in-Class firms are 83% more likely to incorporate this technology within their contact center technology toolbox.

Figure 1: Voice Biometrics Users Enjoy Superior Annual Performance Gains

Voice Biometrics Users Enjoy Superior Annual Performance Gains 

As part of our ROI discussion, we juxtaposed the impact of different authentication methods across KPIs, including average handle time, agent productivity and customer satisfaction rates. Overall, the analysis showed that each authentication method produces unique results – some delivering far superior than others across specific areas. Interestingly, data showed that voice biometrics had a positive impact on user performance across the three metrics noted earlier in this paragraph.

Choose the Right Authentication Method

Further along in our discussion, we delved into the key building blocks companies should use to select the right authentication method and get the most out of it. Specifically, we discussed the importance of using technologies that will help minimize the need for agents to spend unnecessary time to authenticate customers, and rather, use technology (where and as applicable) to do this work. As a result, agents have more time to focus on resolving customer issues. The related research findings show that companies struggling with using the right authentication methods observe significant unnecessary financial costs due to unproductive agent time spent on activities that could have been handled by technology. Please use this URL for a regular digest of related Aberdeen research findings.

We also clarified the distinction between active and passive voice biometrics for firms considering using this technology. The former refers to the contact center asking the customer to take a specific action they otherwise wouldn’t have. This may be saying a specific phrase, or recording a customer’s voice to create a voiceprint during an established time (e.g. 30 seconds) to capture the data that can be used to authenticate their identity in future conversations. The passive method on the other hand, doesn’t alter the natural course of the conversation by asking the customer to repeat a sentence or spend a certain amount of time to capture audio. Rather, it analyzes IVR and agent / customer conversations to collect data on a customer’s voice so it can be used for future authentication.

If you missed the webinar, I highly recommend that you watch the recording, as we also discussed additional ways contact centers can ensure delivering a seamless authentication experience across multiple channels. We introduced Best-in-Class companies and their related performance, which will help you transform your authentication activities, and as a result, further align your performance to that of the Best-in-Class.

Omer Minkara​
VP & Principal Analyst
Follow: @omerminkara

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