Effortless: elevate your customer experience with voice biometrics

As customers are turning to mobile apps for routine transactions and call centers for complex interactions, they almost always have to pass a memory test of remembering their passwords, PINS and security questions. This -- more often than not -- leads to a frustrating experience and wasted time in non-value added steps. So how can businesses improve the customer experience by reducing the customer effort while also strengthening account security and helping users remember information? One government organization found a solution to improve the caller experience: multi-channel voice biometrics.
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Business runs smoothly when voice biometrics improves the customer experience and secures account information.

When customer expectations change, so do their preferences in how they interact with businesses.

The call center has traditionally been the main hub for customers to interact with businesses and it remains a critical channel today. But alongside the ever-popular call center, mobile apps are increasingly becoming a platform in which customers can communicate with companies. And with the mobile app market projected to grow 270% by 2020, a more intuitive and efficient mobile application is more important than ever.

So, what’s a business to do when tasked with streamlining the customer experience across multiple (often times disjointed) channels without compromising security? A leading government organization shows us the path forward– by deploying voice biometrics.

Why voice biometrics?

With so many security tools on the market, it can be hard to find a solution which is equally beneficial to the customer and the enterprise. Voice biometrics is different; it allows customers to easily verify their identity without the hassle of remembering complex PINs or passwords. It can be used across a variety of platforms, including the call center and now, mobile applications, and this multi-channel accessibility makes it easier for both customers and companies to achieve their goals.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO), the Australian government’s principal revenue collection agency, chose voice biometrics for both functionalities.

How forgetful are your customers?

Organizations are recognizing growing consumer frustration with PINs, passwords and security questions; in fact, a recent survey indicated that consumers want technology that can verify their identity without using character-reliant solutions. Eighty-eight percent of Americans forget something every week.  This forgetfulness is attributed to a growing phenomenon called ‘digital amnesia’ – the act of using technology to outsource memories.

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In the same survey, 62% of respondents reported forgetting their passwords and PINs. Consequentially, 44% of these participants have begun trusting their important PINs and passwords to smart devices. Many of these lapses in memory can stem from the complex requirements surrounding passwords – the flaws in passwords become clear when the vast majority of users forget the very things meant to secure our digital memories.

Not only does this outsourcing create account vulnerability, but also makes remembering passwords a challenging process.

For ATO, multi-channel voice biometrics solved customer frustrations with accessing account information. The implementation provides taxpayers the option of using voice biometrics authentication across its online services through the mobile app, as well as in the call center. Taxpayers no longer need to remember obscure security questions or enter complex usernames and passwords to prove their identity when engaging with the agency.

Beefing up security measures

Not only is voice biometrics incredibly useful for improving the customer experience, but it also increases security. The deployment of voice-powered authentication can help reduce cases of company data breaches and fraud. Sophisticated algorithms analyze more than 100 voice characteristics and can use a caller’s voice to validate their identity and protect against hackers. And best of all, individual human voices are as unique as a fingerprint – so they have the enhanced ability to replace passwords, PINs, and security questions.

In the case of ATO, this increased level of security helps keep tax and personal information protected. The organization saw the benefits of using voice biometrics – it consistently delivers a tighter security net and uses voiceprints, which has no value to a hacker. And in previous studies, the technology performed favorably compared to other authentication methods.

ATO experienced the benefits of working with voice biometrics. Not only did it solve direct concerns that the company hoped to address, but it also helped approach wider scoping dilemmas like account security and overall risk management. And in the end, that’s a win in our books.

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The Remind Me Generation

Digital amnesia is affecting consumer behavior and impacts the overall customer service experience. Implementing a proactive and intelligent approach is necessary for businesses to remain agile as service expectations become even more challenging.

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Advait Deshpande

About Advait Deshpande

Advait Deshpande, CISSP, is responsible for all aspects of product security for the biometrics and fraud solutions. Advait leads Nuance customers through risk and security vulnerability assessments to ensure the success of voice biometrics implementations and created best practices for implementations that are now part of Nuance’s methodology for global deployments. He is experienced in guiding customers globally through various regulatory representations to gain approvals for biometrics implementations. Advait has more than a decade and a half of financial services industry experience and was responsible for one of the first Vocal Passwords implementation in North America for Vanguard, a large financial services company. Prior to his work at Nuance, Advait ran the authentication and consumer security group for Vanguard.