Voice biometrics has proven to be universally embraced as an effective replacement for PINs and passwords. Organizations around the globe have increased security and their customer service game by making it as easy as speaking a simple passphrase for customers to authenticate into their accounts. Most recently, Investec, a South African banking and asset management group, became the first in its region to use voice biometrics in their call center. This type of innovation gives Investec a substantial competitive edge in customer service.
Forget passwords and PINs, your 3rd grade teacher’s name and card verification numbers. Companies around the globe are making accessing accounts though customer care agents as simple as small talk.
I observe this time after time, especially in the financial industry where competition is fierce and customer satisfaction is vital: Customers are frustrated with the authentication process when calling a contact center. The top reason for frustration is failed authentication and inability to access important information. People hate to fail. It creates a negative experience and perception of customer service along with a damaging brand perception. In contrast, voice biometrics is overwhelmingly preferred by consumers – it’s easy and secure, and lets customers off the hook in terms of remembering complex passwords/PINs or carrying anything with them.
Joining a growing number of banks around the world, earlier this week Investec announced that it will be the first financial services company in South Africa to offer voice biometric authentication in its call center. The new service allows Investec clients to confirm their identity simply with the sound of their voice during the normal conversation at the start of their call. Within seconds, information will be provided and transactions will be completed – assuming identification is positive. This innovative financial institution has joined other banks that are transforming their customer service, such as Barclays and Tatra Banka. This is also an exciting development for the region. With the assistance from Investec, South Africa is becoming a hotspot for convenient, secure and fast voice authentication with millions of customers’ voiceprints enrolled. In the most recent global voice biometrics census, Opus Research states that the EMEA region is among the top to adopt the technology.
One of the key business drivers for the rapid adoption of this technology is the improvement to customer satisfaction and the positive effect it has on customer retention as well as new customer acquisition. Craig West, head of Investec’s Global Client Support shared with us that voice authentication is going to drive new customers to the Investec brand and strengthen the relationship with existing customers. He also reflected upon how innovation and exceptional customer service is going to transform the banking experience.
OneVault, Nuance’s partner and voice biometrics specialist in South Africa, also expressed this view. More and more, consumers prefer to authenticate in a conversational manner, a trend underscored by OneVault CEO Ravin Sanjith at the 2014 Voice Biometrics Conference in San Francisco as shown in the video below. This is such an exciting time for voice biometrics technology.
This was a contributed post by Oksana Walton. She earned an MBA from the University of California, Davis and Masters of Science Equivalent in Aerospace Engineering from Moscow Aviation Institute. Oksana is fluent in Russian and enjoys developing and honing her communication and leadership skills with Toastmasters International. To see more content like this, visit the Customer experience section of our blog.