Making the Business Case for Voice Biometrics in the Contact Centre

Matt SmallmanHome Page, Make the case

Even if you’ve only been paying the scant attention to what’s going on in the contact centre industry over the last few months you will have noticed an increasing tempo of stories from a whole string of the world’s leading organisations implementing Voice Biometrics for their customers in the IVR, when speaking to contact centre colleagues and even in their mobile channels. In the UK alone, half of the country’s largest banks have already announced their intentions to deploy the technology and new market entrants even see it as a competitive advantage. In nearly every region I spend time, there are dozens more organisations fully committed to implementation who haven’t yet gone public.

Making every call easier, quicker and more secure

Whilst nearly all of theses implementations are shaped by the unique nature of the customers and organisations they serve they are almost universally driven by three promises:

  • Increasing the number of customers successfully authenticated thereby removing the need for them to remember a twelve digit number, their inside leg measurement, the model of their dog’s uncle’s first car or similar.
  • Reducing the time spent by front-line colleagues supporting those customers who fail automated authentication methods or subjecting every customer to an interrogation before they actually meet their needs.
  • Dramatically increasing the required effort from bad actors to infiltrate customer accounts, as well as increasing the confidence of customers in the security of their personal data, services and accounts.

Through using the unique nature of every customer’s voice that is inherent in every voice channel interaction, voice authentication is gaining steam.

It’s different this time

I also know that many of you will have been here before with high hopes, missed expectations and in some cases, hundreds of man hours spent on proofs of concepts with oversold silver-bullet solutions to all of your voice channel authentication challenges. So whilst there remains nothing fundamentally new about the science behind this technology there are a number of reasons why we have now reached a tipping point (if not gone past it in some industries and countries) where the rational case for change has caught up with the emotional one.

Increased authentication costs and losses increasing demand

On the demand side as customers move more of their day to day interactions to web and mobile, they are simply forgetting the steps to our security dances at their point of greatest emotional need whilst fraudsters are moving in the opposite direction as our online defences become more and more effective. These trends are only likely to accelerate as a new wave of mobile propositions hit the app stores and billions are spent shoring up cyber security.

Increasing product maturity and track record reducing cost and risk of delivery

Whilst on the supply side increasing vendor product maturity from several years of diverse early adopter deployments, an increasing body of delivery experience and general contact centre modernisation is reducing both the cost and time to build and run as well as risks associated with implementation. Likewise, this will only accelerate over the next few years as products become increasingly mature, commoditised, bundled and integrated with core platforms.

Greater customer awareness of their own security as a result of high profile data breaches and frustrations with increasingly complex mechanisms to mitigate risks with existing authentication approaches are also dramatically increasing acceptance with some astounding figures being quoted by some organisations who approach it in the right way.

Greater cultural acceptance

At the same time, organisations, often as a result of their experience countering cyber threats, are becoming more culturally accepting of solutions. Whilst these solutions are significantly better, though not always perfect, companies are adopting a defence in depth (through transaction screening and other methods) rather than front door posture that makes them more acceptable. Previous requirements that there be no chance whatsoever of a bad actor getting through are being replaced by an acceptance that existing authentication methods are both terrible in this regard and provide executives with no ability to tune or react to changing circumstances

Making your case

Of course every organisation is different because we all start from different places. Your authentication practices have probably evolved over many years to reflect the needs of your customers, changing commercial imperatives and fraudulent activity. So we can’t assume that the same cookie cutter implementation is going to work for you and we can’t assume that in your own unique situation you have reached or passed the metaphorical tipping point.

First step

Our short and sharp DISCOVER consulting package helps you gather the evidence you need to make the emotional and quantitative case for Voice Biometrics.