2 minute read
By Dick Bucci
Posted in Customer Engagement
I will never forget the time I called the local phone company about my bill and was asked to first recite my mother-in-law's maiden name. The agent explained that the account was opened in my wife's name and it was she that established the challenge question.
I could not recall my mother-in-law's Finnish maiden name and if I did, I probably would not be able to pronounce it. Despite my pleas that my wife would have no objection to my speaking on her behalf, the agent was having none of it. I had to accurately answer the question. That was the rule.
It is not a great way to start off the customer interaction by challenging the caller's identity -- people expect to be trusted. Authentication is a very common practice. For some types of businesses, authentication is essential for fraud detection and privacy -- think banking, financial services, insurance, government services, and healthcare.
It can be something simple such as asking for the last four digits of the caller's Social Security number; however, this still introduces a small hurdle that has to be overcome. Wouldn't it be great if the authentication step was not at all intrusive? The caller would feel relieved that they didn't have to prove they were who they said they were, and the agent would not have to start off from a negative position.
There are fundamentally three ways to establish authenticity:
The first two options are easy to fake or pilfer. The last option, something you are, cannot be duplicated. Biometrics are physical attributes that you and you alone possess. Most common, as we all know from watching detective shows, is the fingerprint. Another is your face. Both of these are pretty foolproof but a little hard to handle over the phone.
The one biometric that is unique, works best over the phone, and is virtually impossible to steal or replicate is your voice. Voice authentication is just as accurate as fingerprinting and is also ideal for mobile callers and people with disabilities.
Verint Systems was early to recognize the value of voice biometrics for authentication. In 2013 Verint invested in a "passive" biometrics platform. Passive technology automatically creates individual voice prints during normal conversation. Embedded with Verint's industry-leading Verint Intelligent Call Recording, customer voice prints can be prepared during conversation or even from stored recordings.
A positive authentication is achieved when the caller's voice meets a threshold level of conformance with specific voice parameters, as established by the voice print. Verint Identity Authentication and Fraud Detection is offered as a complete, fully integrated suite for end-to-end authentication and fraud detection.
Customers are accustomed to having their voice analyzed for quality and compliance purposes across contact centers today. And using biometrics for security is becoming very pervasive in smart phones and other devices. These two factors, along with the popularity of Siri, Alexa, Cortana and other speech-enabled applications, are making customers more comfortable with speech technology.
Best of all, you won't have to remember your mother-in-law's maiden name!
Principal Pelorus Associates
LOL - secret handshake... very good! I referenced Verint's biometric capability in a recent customer presentation in the UK and immediately got a sharp intake of breath... "Ooh... personal details... permission..., GDPR, etc etc.". But fraud detection is a huge issue still in many sectors, particularly in government, and biometrics is a natural way to go. I guess the "record your call for training and monitoring purposes" statement needs to just be externded with the word "identification" unless and until this becomes the norm and expected?
Did you like this story?
Subscribe for more Customer Engagement insights