Cybersecurity professionals have an unenviable job: helping companies mitigate risk and protect consumer data, all amid an ever-changing threat landscape. Yet even in the face of daily reports of data breaches, they manage to spot a few silver linings. When it comes to digital security, every year brings its good and bad, and cybersecurity professionals celebrate the first while reminding us that we must constantly improve if we are to protect our customers and our businesses.
A look back in the rearview mirror shows that 2021 was no different. The bad: By the end of September, the United States had already recorded more data breaches than in 2020. Even more concerning, a 2021 Forrester survey of those responsible for implementing authentication without a corporate password, a proven cybersecurity measure that helps defend against such breaches, showed adoption is lagging with half of respondents less than three months into the process.
On the bright side: This same Forrester survey found that companies are taking steps to combat fraud, with more than two-thirds of respondents adopting passwordless authentication for employees or partners. This increase in the number of companies deploying passwordless authentication demonstrates their ease in embracing an increasingly common trend of identifying and authenticating individuals with high levels of accuracy, while dramatically improving the customer experience. : voice biometrics.
Let’s explore this approach to security and its net positive impact on customer experience through the lens of the contact center, often the first and most frequent customer touchpoint for many businesses.
Voice Biometrics — An Overview
Most new smartphones and laptops have facial recognition and fingerprint scanning tools, which pushed biometric authentication out of dystopian sci-fi literature and into the hands of millions. These passwordless authentication methods are far superior and more secure than their knowledge-based and token-based authentication predecessors, which are compromised when a fraudster gains access to either.
We are taught in elementary school biology that every human being’s fingerprints are unique, which has led to them becoming a highly secure method of authentication. But we may have overlooked another biological truism – our voices are also uniquely ours, a characteristic very coveted by security professionals and, increasingly, by customer support teams who answer countless incoming calls in places like contact centers.
Here’s how it works: Customers preemptively choose to record their voice to create their unique “voiceprint”. Using modern technology, including artificial intelligence (AI), each user’s voiceprint captures a unique voice-only identifiable pitch, pitch, speed, dialect and range of other characteristics. to this user. This stored voiceprint is then used to accurately identify and authenticate the customer each time they call the business, adding another highly secure data point to help mitigate fraudsters that are nearly impossible to steal or steal. mimic and, unlike iris or fingerprint biometrics, does not require the individual to be physically present.
Voice biometrics in the contact center
While applications for voice biometrics are countless, it is rapidly being adopted in contact centers which, due to the large volume of calls and personal data they handle, are frequent targets of fraudster attacks and frustrations. client.
Contact centers have come under significant pressure over the past two years, amplified by the shift of many of their agents to working remotely and an overall spike in customer service calls. As a result, key performance indicators (KPIs) important to contact centers have moved in the wrong direction: average abandon rate, average talk time, average handle time (AHT), and average speed of response all recede, according to a recent study. issued company.
Customers suffer the most, and while there’s no single culprit, some of that downside can be mitigated by improved security measures that speed up authentication through free-flow automation. service, without compromising (and often improving) security and the overall customer experience.
Voice biometrics helps to improve the efficiency of companies and their contact centers; the process integrates directly into the call flow and can speed calls down the line to get customers to the right agents quickly. This reduces the time spent authenticating customers (no human agent is needed to authenticate voice), increases IVR call containment, better allocates valuable human capital to tasks that computers cannot handle, and ultimately leads to more better customer experiences with higher levels of security.
The technology has found enthusiastic and rapid adoption in heavily regulated industries such as healthcare and banking, where strict security mandates have come at the expense of positive customer experiences and operational efficiency. On onboarding, frontline contact center agents found little to no learning curve, but rather shorter AHT, more freedom to solve more complex issues, and happier customers.
Voice biometrics is not a brand new technology and it certainly does not represent the keystone of cybersecurity. But today, the technology can provide contact centers with enhanced levels of security against threats while dramatically improving the agent and customer experience with a low adoption curve. We are still in the early days of exploring all that is possible with biometrics and, as always, security approaches will continue to evolve alongside the threat landscape and new approaches taken by hackers. Right now, however, voice biometrics is a silver lining in the fight against fraud, giving businesses a better way to put the customer first by enhancing security while streamlining the authentication process to improve CX.
Image credit: Zapp2Photo / Shutterstock
Rui Biscaia is Vice President, Product Management, Talkdesk