Voice Biometric Adoption challenges in the Call Centre Industry
7 mins read
7 mins read
There is no doubt that Speaker Recognition using Voice Biometrics in the contact centre allows organisations to improve the efficiency and security of their calls, while at the same time making it quicker and more convenient for callers to get their needs met. The underlying technology is proven, implementation best practice established and caller acceptance is high. Some of the most trusted brands have implemented it and every week there is news of another deployment. Industry awareness is also high as we are yet to meet a senior leader of customer contact operations who doesn’t wish they could deploy this technology. So why is it that the majority of these deployments are in substantial businesses and mostly in Financial Services but adoption elsewhere is low?
In talking to dozens of potential and actual end-users around the world, it is clear that it is hard, expensive, and time-consuming to deploy this technology today.
While we have seen determined organisations get to full-scale deployment with thousands of agents within 12 months, this is very much the exception rather than the rule, with many implementations taking several times longer.
The harsh reality is that with today’s products and delivery models, in the vast majority of cases even on a five-year time horizon, the return on investment is poor. Significant upfront costs outweigh the present values of those benefits achieved far later in the period and Voice Biometric adoption therefore remains low.
As a rule, only organisations with the highest value at risk, or significant scale to spread the investment over, are prepared to invest. Organisation’s without these features may still take the plunge for broader customer experience, innovation, and brand reputation reasons but these will inevitably be the exception.
Hope, for the industry and technology, is however on the horizon, as a result of the conflux of several trends and innovations:
While some vendors have always delivered their products this way, it has not been the preferred implementation approach for most end-user organisations. As they increasingly adopt this delivery model for other business-critical applications however, this attitude is rapidly changing. Perhaps, more importantly than the delivery model is the commercial approach that allows organisations to pay as they go. As organisations only really derive value at the point of verification, it’s only fair that they only pay for these so expect per verification charging to emerge as the dominant pricing construct allowing far more explicit alignment with value delivered. With the right design, this approach will also allow for more straightforward migration between vendors, leading to greater price competition and incentivising vendors to continuously improve their service to retain business.
There is no doubt that the majority of contact centres will transition to cloud-native telephony platforms in the medium term and we expect smaller organisations to do this even quicker. The very largest organisations may transition more slowly but even they are likely to move to traditional platforms delivered in a more cloud-like way. Whichever way you go this transition provides an increasing opportunity to standardise and often simplify integration points and the increased similarity of audio will allow vendors to offer better out of the box biometric models.
The increasing use of natural language self-service applications and callers more conversational engagement learned from devices such as Amazon Alexa is increasing the length of audio provided to automated services. At the same time vendor’s speech scientists are improving the underlying algorithms, to the extent that these still short utterances can achieve acceptable verification results using text-independent enrolments. This holy grail will allow organisations to derive more significant self-service benefits than traditional approaches, while also improving agent interactions.
We’ll explore each of these themes in subsequent posts (so don’t forget to sign up to be notified when they are published), but it is clear to us that as these themes play out Voice Biometric adoption will increase, as the cost and complexity of implementation will fall, in some cases dramatically. Because this technology so significantly impacts the quality of interactions organisations have with their customers, we are excited about the impact it will have on customer service in the far broader range of industries for whom this is now affordable.
We are also looking forward to adapting and making more broadly available our hard-won best practice from the most successful existing implementations and plan to increase the transparency of the value and applicability of different vendor offerings, so that organisations can deliver the greatest possible impact in the shortest possible time.