Five years and 250 million better conversations later

Matt Smallman
Matt Smallman
4 mins read
Last updated
22 May 2024

What a fantastic opportunity to reflect on the journey and those I should be grateful to. I started SymNex because I wanted to make a difference to the conversations we all have with organisations every day. To get the security process out of the way so that our colleagues and agents can make a real connection with their customers and really understand their emotional and functional needs. Your mother’s maiden name and date of birth are not real security. Anyone still asking questions like those is kidding themselves and wasting their customers and colleagues time. PINs and passwords might be theoretically a bit more secure, but they’re also significantly more frustrating.

First steps

I wouldn’t have known there was a better way in the first place without the time, support, resources and reality-checks provided by Anne Howell-Jones, Anne Grim, Jamie Paterson, Nick Watts and Iain Hanlon. We thought Voice Biometric authentication in the background of an agent conversation (what we now know as passive) was desirable. Still, we were all far convinced that it was feasible.

I genuinely expected that the publicity and material impact of the first application of Voice Biometrics in this way would open the flood gates for others to follow. We proved it was not only feasible but uncovered a whole host of unexpected commercial, customer and colleague benefits. The flood, however, was more of a trickle. There were still challenges with the technology, but implementation required a mindset change that most organisations were not (and many are still not) prepared for. I realised that I was uniquely positioned to help close this gap. Still, without the support and inspiration of Maxine Gooding, Oke Eleazu, Peter Massey, Andy Hill and Ivan Dubovsky I wouldn’t have had the courage to make the leap.

So five years ago, today, SymNex was officially born (the story for the name is for another time). I will be forever grateful to my first clients Carsten Miller, Laura Jardin, Martin Dodd, Mike Reddy and Suzanne Ellison, Andrea Ayres and Melanie Hennesey, who took a chance on me (which I hope they agree paid off).

One billion better conversations

During those early days, I joked with a colleague that it would be great to say I’d enabled one billion better conversations. This was meant to be an exaggeration for effect. I didn’t expect my combined clients to deliver more than 250 million voice biometric authentications in the next five years. Each of these was quicker, easier and more secure than they would otherwise have been. I also believe that every one of those customers was just a little bit happier that day as a result. Of course, these organisations and their people deserve the credit for their vision, leadership and investment but I know I helped get greater results, quicker and more confidently than if they’d gone it alone.

In thinking about accelerating change and delivering 750 million better conversations in the next 5 years, it became clear I needed to think bigger and my book “Unlock Your Call Centre: A proven way to upgrade security, efficiency and caller experience” was born. The next chapter of SymNex is to support as many organisations as possible to transform their security processes and not just with Voice Biometrics. Network Authentication and Behavioural analytics all play a part in what I have termed Modern Security, where the security process gets out of the way of the human to human interaction.

I’m so excited about the launch of “Unlock Your Call Centre” and the powerful tools we’re making available to help organisations chart their own course. We’re still a few weeks away from launch, but you can get the first chapter free and find out more about the book and availability at Your customers and agents deserve better.

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