Introducing and Implementing Voice Biometrics in Call Centers

Voice Biometrics in Call Centers

It wouldn’t be wrong to say that voice biometrics is the way of the future, when it comes to verifying the identity of customers contacting call centers. Market research firm Forrester, for one, predicts it will be the go-to authentication solution for financial institutions by 2020.

But it is just as accurate to say that voice biometrics is rapidly being recognized as today’s best practice as well. Already, major businesses in such sectors as banking and finance, healthcare, telecom, and other security-sensitive fields are recognizing that voice authentication offers a wide array of compelling benefits.

For one thing, it vastly improves the customer experience, by doing away with the unwelcome interrogations that call centers traditionally needed to go through to identify each caller. Since voice authentication relies on the caller’s normal conversation itself, and verifies a caller’s identity in real time without requiring any effort on the caller’s part, the process is frustration-free, unlike a barrage of questions. In fact, most consumers say they prefer voice authentication to jumping through the current hoops. Secondly, because voice authentication takes into account more than 100 variables of speech in a sophisticated mathematical expression, it offers a high degree of accuracy and security that rivals or exceeds the certainty of the fingerprint.

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(Infographic Source: NJIT)

And, in no small matter for businesses, it offers benefits that go directly to the bottom line. By eliminating time spent on verifying identity every time the phone rings, it frees up employees for the revenue-generating activities at the heart of their jobs.

That said, it is still the case that making the transition from the old way to the new and improved way doesn’t come without challenges. Fortunately, with the right guidance for efficient implementation, these adoption challenges become negligible.

Facing the hurdles, and clearing them

  • As much as deploying a voice authentication solution is a technical challenge, it is also a legal one in many jurisdictions. It can’t happen without the consent of the customers, so investigating the requirements and potential issues is an essential starting point.
  • Once legal questions are resolved, the next step is optimizing the process of actually asking for consent. The key to mounting a successful recruitment campaign includes not only making an effective pitch by way of carefully selected channels (mass media, email etc.), but also providing consumers with the information they need about voice biometrics to make an informed decision about whether they want to opt in.
  • Enrolling those who give consent demands yet another optimized process to collect and maintain all the necessary records, but it also calls for attention to a crucial factor. If done less than optimally, enrollment can be a lengthy, complex, and expensive proposition to gather the voiceprints of customers. The alternative, as pointed out by the experts at NICE, a leading provider of voice biometrics solutions, is to enroll customers “passively“. As opposed to using an “active” approach, in which customers might be asked to repeat a phrase a number of times to create a voiceprint, a process that undermines the customer experience gains voice biometrics offers. The passive approach employs a solution that integrates with existing call recording capabilities to leverage historical calls. Once they gave their consent, customers can then be enrolled without having to do anything at all.
  • The need for integration doesn’t end with enrollment. It is not uncommon for call centers to need to integrate voice biometrics technology with a number of other systems such as security and CRM software. That can be a lengthy and costly process when an ad-hoc integration is attempted, but selecting a biometrics product that offers ready-made end-to-end support or that features embedded APIs can alleviate the problems.

The advantages outweigh the challenges

Everybody wins with voice biometrics. It puts the customer first, because it eliminates extra steps and frustration. Businesses and customers alike benefit from the added security it provides, and from the shorter call times, which pay off in convenience for the customer and increased ROI for the company – especially when the company has selected a biometrics solution that adapts to all necessary integrations.

By Naomi Webb

Gilad David Maayan

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