Customer-focused organisations know that trust and brand loyalty is built through consistent, high-quality, multi-channel branded experiences. But the reality is, many organisations struggle to provide consistent experiences across all channels. Despite the quick, seamless experience online customer service channels provide, customers are still struggling with agonising wait times and tedious ID verification questions before accessing customer support over the phone.
Although the ID verification process is a crucial step for call centre staff, it can be a painful experience for customers who could verify themselves more easily online. So it’s no surprise that businesses are starting to explore the benefits of voice biometrics – particularly passive voice biometrics – as a way to reduce customer friction, reducing wait times and improving verification.
Knowledge based authentication vs. active voice biometrics
Knowledge-based authentication (KBA), otherwise known as passwords and secret questions, is a common way for contact centres to authenticate callers. However, the time required to run through these questions wastes precious call time, increasing wait times in the queue and frustrating customers. Not to mention KBA poses major security issues – according to Gartner, in some cases KBA will reject 15-30% of legitimate customers while accepting up to 60% of criminals. It’s a sub-par user experience that’s also bad for business.
As organisations explore new technologies to help improve efficiencies in the contact centre, voice biometrics is fast becoming a technology of choice as an alternative way to verify a customer’s identity. Active voice biometrics works by simply asking a customer to record a specific phrase, which they then repeat the next time they call to confirm their identity. Because the spoken phrase itself is a constant, the voice biometric matching is extremely accurate and, in many cases, requires no additional authentication in most circumstances. Given their unique voiceprint can be recognised simply with the act of speaking a sentence, customers no longer have to remember passwords and secret questions, making the entire verification process much smoother for customers.
Taking things up a notch
Passive biometrics, however, is taking customer verification to the next level. Unlike active voice biometrics where the caller needs to speak the exact same phrase every time they call in, passive voice biometrics can identify a caller in the time it takes to exchange pleasantries and have them explain their reason for calling. By removing the need to repeat a certain phrase, customers can get straight to the point, while their identify is verified in the background. Not only does this offer customers a completely frictionless experience with the contact centre, the improved verification system reduces the time spent with each caller, ultimately reducing the number of callers in the queue.
The key to passive voice authentication is that it works better the longer the customer is speaking for, so it’s an ideal solution for the lengthier, more conversational situations like explaining issues or concerns to a live contact centre agent. If, for some reason, the voiceprint cannot be verified, the call centre agent would be prompted to take an additional verification step. However, many of the lowest-risk transactions can be authorised in seconds, without any further verification from the customer required.
Consistent multi-channel experiences
To provide the most streamlined, frictionless customer experience, it would be a mistake for organisations to rely on a single strategy or authentication technology – organisations will likely need to implement a mix of active and passive voice biometrics, with other biometric and non-biometric authentication factors used when required, depending on individual situations.
However, the inclusion of passive voice biometrics is a crucial element in the overall strategy for contact centres. With the ability to reduce the average call handling time by 25-45 seconds, the use of passive biometrics improves the bottom line, minimises fraud, and helps to reduce the total cost of operations. But most importantly, this frictionless approach to customer verification will finally provide organisations a consistent customer experience across all channels, making over-the-phone verification as stress-free for customers as their experiences with online customer service channels.