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Barclays reveals often overlooked benefit of voice biometrics at VBC London

After returning from the recent Opus Research Voice Biometrics Conference in London, a particularly insightful presentation from Barclays left a lasting impression on all conference attendees. We often hear of the customer benefits realized through voice biometrics deployments at large companies, but Barclays enlightened the crowd by looking at the benefits of voice biometrics through a different lens.

The recent voice biometrics conference, organized by Opus Research and held in bustling London, delivered on its promise of educating attendees on this increasingly prevalent technology. Speakers from Mastercard, USAA and Lloyds voiced their commitment to leverage voice biometrics to authenticate customers and validate transactions. However, from my vantage point, the most insightful presentation came from Ann Grim, the Managing Director of Global Client Experience at Barclays. She mentioned how at Barclays, their success is dependent on creating an emotional as well as an intellectual connection with their customers. Achieving this objective, she added, “doesn’t include torturing them with security questions”.

Barclays, as you may know already, has had tremendous success with voice biometrics. Last year, they shared some of their initial results with voice biometrics within their Wealth contact centers. This infographic highlights some of their key success metrics, including a 15% reduction in average call handling time (AHT) and tremendously positive customer satisfaction results.

Ann shared some additional data points at the London conference; these include voice biometrics increasing their client advocacy and satisfaction metrics from 40% to 70%, a truly phenomenal result directly attributed to the improved experience voice biometrics delivers to their customers. Ann also shared that Barclays Wealth was expanding the use of voice biometrics to cover their contact centers in Singapore, Hong Kong and Monaco by early 2015, and that Barclays Retail planned on launching voice biometrics to their retail customers by the end of 2015 (read news article stating that 12 million Barclays Retail customers will be authenticating with voice biometrics). This rapid expansion of voice biometrics within customer care channels, including mobile apps, IVRs and contact centers, across the globe and across operating divisions, is a tremendous confirmation of the clear business and customer benefits of voice biometrics over traditional authentication methods. Passwords, PINs and security questions may not be dead yet, but at the very least for Barclays customers, they will no longer represent the primary method of authentication.

Personally, there was one data point that Ann shared that should make us think of voice biometrics through an additional lens. She mentioned that following the deployment of voice biometrics, Barclays Wealth registered a 6% reduction in employee absenteeism within their contact centers. Other organizations have previously reported on the benefits of voice biometrics at improving employee satisfaction, for example Vodafone had reported a 97% increase in employee satisfaction metrics as far back as 2009. Barclays also previously reported an increase in employee engagement from 80% to 95%. But how did this increase in employee satisfaction translate into operational metrics? The reduction in absenteeism provides us with one such metric, and a truly important one for anyone managing a contact center. Ann also mentioned that voice biometrics had a positive impact on reducing the employee turnover rate, leading in part to Barclays having an attrition rate that is at one third of the industry average in the United Kingdom.

If you didn’t have the chance to attend the London conference, I recommend having a quick view of the video above, where Ann Grim and her colleagues share some of the highlights of their voice biometric deployment. Also be sure to check out the link below to learn how another financial institution, Banco Santander Mexico, became Mexico’s banking innovation leader using voice biometrics.

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Adiós to PINs, passwords, and security questions

Download the case study to learn how millions of Santander customers simply use their voice to access their accounts

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  • Having just sweated through a major credit bureau’s knowledge based authentication questions in order to get a free look at my credit report, I can relate.

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Brett Beranek

About Brett Beranek

Like you, CX and biometrics expert Brett Beranek – Director Product Strategy, Enterprise – is fascinated by transformative technologies that have a real impact on our lives. With over fifteen years of experience in the customer experience and biometrics space, Brett brings strategic and tactical insights to organizations wishing to deliver a better experience to their customers via innovative security technologies. Prior to joining Nuance, Brett a technologist and entrepreneur by education and passion, successfully introduced several disruptive technologies to the health-care, IT and security markets, including as a partner of facial recognition firm Viion Systems and member of Genetec’s management team, a security firm that transformed the video surveillance market. Brett also currently serves on the advisory board of high-tech healthcare startup GaitTronics. Brett earned a Bachelor of Commerce, Information Systems Major, from McGill University as well as an Executive Marketing certificate from Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management. Brett loves travelling the globe and discovering new cultures with his three kids, Layla, Rayan and Nora and his wife, Tania.