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Building Smarter Contact Centers

Here's How to Deliver Faster, Safer Contact Center Experiences in 2021

Chances are, your contact center is “the path of least resistance” for hackers canvassing your organization.

In fact, while most companies were turning their attention to strengthening and optimizing their digital channels over the past five years, global contact center fraud just kept on growing (accounting for 61% of all organizational fraud losses in 2019, according to Aite Group).

And that was before the pandemic.

Over the past year, with face-to-face customer service all but impossible, an explosion of new callers and contact-center-directed fraud may have (finally) changed the equation—compelling worldwide management teams to prioritize improvements to contact center security and the caller experience in 2021.

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at which specific improvements are most needed, and which solutions are available to help.

 

The Trouble with KBA

Knowledge-based authentication (KBA) is the traditional method of verifying a caller’s identity. The problem with this approach, however, especially in 2021, is an increased number of fraudsters either phishing this information or extracting it from public social media posts.

And there’s another problem with KBA—customers hate it.

In a recent Forrester Research study on Voice Biometrics, the authors shared this customer insight:

“A North American bank reported that knowledge-based authentication (KBA) has had a 25% false reject rate, which resulted in an unacceptable level of customer dissatisfaction. Adopting voice biometrics allowed the bank to reduce false rejects to less than 3%.”

In short, replacing KBA with voice biometrics has a dual benefit of improving security while simultaneously enhancing the caller experience.

 

The Need for Speed in Customer Service

An exponential increase in calls makes it particularly important to avoid spending too long with each caller; longer calls exacerbate wait times and create backlogs—not an ideal situation for either callers or customer service representatives (CSRs).

In fact, digital supply chain leader GEP reports that Average Handle Time (AHT) increased from an average of 3-6 minutes (pre-pandemic) to 10+ minutes in 2020, while Abandonment Rates (AR) increased in proportion to the longer wait times.

Voice biometrics can help alleviate these problems in two ways:

First, Daon customers report that eliminating the need for CSRs to ask (and callers to answer) KBA questions reduces AHT by 25-45 seconds on average, per call.

Second, using voice biometrics within the contact center’s IVR system allows higher-risk transactions to be automated without compromising security, which reduces the backlog of calls for CSRs and lowers the average customer wait time.

 

Voice Biometrics: Powerful and Versatile

You may have guessed by now that we’re big proponents of voice authentication as a solution for over-burdened and under-protected contact centers. And we’re not the only ones.

Forrester’s report (based on numerous client interviews) concludes that voice biometrics: “provides better security than static passwords; reduces friction for user authentication; suits low-cost, contactless authentication requirements well; improves agility and service delivery; helps CSRs provide better service; and has many synergies across channels and other biometric modalities.”

But “voice biometrics” is not a monolith. First, you’ll need to decide if your applications require active voice authentication, passive voice authentication, or both.

Active (sometimes referred to as text-dependent) voice authentication, in which a user speaks the same phrase every time, has the highest degree of matching accuracy. On the other hand, text-independent voice authentication can be done passively (i.e., without bothering the user), which in many cases is the preferred customer experience.

Many contact centers also use voice biometrics as a core component of their “identity continuity” strategy, which is the process of consolidating disparate identity interactions into a single, seamless view of the customer—within and without the contact center.

Forrester notes that “voice biometrics plays a crucial role in ensuring identity continuity across channels. For instance, the user can authenticate using voice biometrics to a telco’s mobile app, perform a simple transaction, then for more-complex transactions, call the call center from a mobile app without being forced to authenticate again in the call center.”

In our experience, businesses that employ voice biometrics most effectively do so by following well-defined strategies for mapping solution types, use cases, and integrations.

 

Increase Security, Improve Customer Experience

Believe it or not, the unending rise of caller fraud, friction, and frustration might just be an opportunity for your business; in such times, organizations that can effectively safeguard their customers and provide superior customer service can differentiate themselves and earn lasting customer loyalty.

Voice authentication is the best solution we know to help minimize caller fraud, reduce handle times and wait times, cut operational costs, increase customer satisfaction, and even take a bit of stress off your CSRs.

And with a voice biometrics strategy in place, you can make 2021 the year your contact center turns from the “path of least resistance” for fraudsters to the channel of least frustration for customers.

 


Still have questions? We recommend reading Forrester’s full report on Voice Biometrics, which we’re making freely available for a limited time.


 

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