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10 reasons to use voice biometrics – part 1

Developing a business case for the deployment of new contact centre technologies can be challenging. At the top of many executives’ wish lists are things like omnichannel, AI/machine learning, webchat, self-service, workforce management and interaction analytics. Voice biometrics often also shows up on lists like ‘the Top (choose a number) most important areas’ of contact centre spending plans. Adoption of voice biometrics technology is still relatively low, perhaps due to the perceived high cost of implementation – a myth that can be easily dispelled. In reality, cost should not even be a consideration; there are at least ten good reasons for deploying voice biometrics, all of which contribute to an ongoing, year-on-year return on investment (ROI). As voice biometrics is the only biometric that can be used remotely over the phone, it’s ideally suited to verifying the identity of inbound callers. Equally, it can be used to authenticate people on the end of outbound campaigns, where ID verification is also needed. Calls to live agents still represent 60-70% of all inbound interactions and over two-thirds of respondents to industry surveys, across all major vertical markets, use outbound calling. So, both inbound and outbound channels can benefit from the use of voice biometrics.

Reason #1 – fraud mitigation

A major benefit of voice biometrics is that it mitigates the risk of fraud. There’s lots of evidence for the scale of fraud, with organisations such as FFA-UK and CIFAS claiming that it has reached epidemic levels. It’s also the case that no business, large or small, is immune. No wonder then that the Payment Service Directive (PSD2) (mandatory from September 2019) requires strong customer authentication (SCA), or two-factor (multi-factor) ID verification. If you have a choice of two from three factors, voice is the obvious primary factor to use for inbound and outbound calling – for the voice channel. PSD2 means providers must choose two from the following: knowledge-based authentication (KBA); token-based authentication; or a biometric. Find our more in our ‘Multi-Factor Authentication and PSD2’ article.

Reason #2 – customer experience

Beyond mitigating fraud risk, arguably the major benefit of voice biometrics is its impact on the customer experience (CX). Customers, fundamentally, are looking for transparency and simplicity. Take passwords for example; the Biometrics Institute reports that 93% prefer biometrics to passwords and that 70% perceive biometric authentication to be easier than password authentication. Those percentages ring true for callers presented with KBA (security questions / secret sentences) when calling into a contact centre. Agent-led identity verification (ID&V) on the voice channel is neither quick nor simple, and with voice biometrics presenting a form of self-service, using the technology will improve the experience of a majority of callers. Find our more in our ‘The value of accurate voice identification’ article.

Reason #3 – speed and convenience

Speed and convenience is a mantra often heard in relation to voice biometrics. That’s because there’s a need to balance those aspects with security measures, regardless of the industry or use case in question. Customers understand the need to take security seriously. However, when they call the contact centre, customers’ overriding concern is to have their issue resolved. As a result, they don’t appreciate delays caused by having to answer security questions. So, if it’s quick, convenient and secure (because the business is using voice biometrics), it gets a thumbs up!

Reason #4 – reduce frustration

If you’ve never experienced frustration when calling in to a contact centre, the chances are you’ve never needed to call one! Those interminable security questions are like the Spanish Inquisition, and an agony for the majority of callers. Answering the same old questions, repeating secret sentences, call after call, leads to extreme frustration. Don’t even get us started on the need for repetition when you’re transferred from department to department, or what happens when you’ve forgotten the answers you originally gave months, if not years, ago. Callers haven’t got time for a multitude of questions; they just want their issue resolved. Voice biometrics takes this pain away.

Reason #5 – call centre metrics

There are many metrics – or key performance indicators (KPIs) – involved in managing a contact centre. They include things like time to answer; agent-led ID&V time; call waiting time, etc. All of those things are important; some more so than others. What’s important to call centre managers is customer satisfaction (CS), or net promoter score (NPS™), adherence to service levels, and first call resolution. However, what’s important to customers is not quite the same; they want to get through to the right person, first time, and have their query answered quickly and accurately. There is clearly some common ground between the two viewpoints. Both CS and NPS can be improved by ensuring callers get through quickly and conveniently, and have their issues resolved in the same call. Voice biometrics can help with that.

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If you are thinking of introducing voice biometrics for identification in your business, and would like to discuss your requirements, contact one of our consultants today.


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