Read my lips – voice biometrics is the future.
Security is always a top priority for business, whether it’s a contact centre protecting customers’ private information, or businesses keeping their data secure. Security experts maintain that we should make passwords and PIN’S longer, more complex and different for each application, as well as recalling recorded responses to security questions, making confirming your identity a memory test, and customer lockouts more frequent.
How Voice Biometrics is Changing That
Recent innovations in voice biometrics are making identity and access management seamless and painless. The concept is simple. Each individual’s voice is completely unique, with hundreds of identifiable characteristics – not just accent and pronunciation, but waveforms that indicate the shape and size of the mouth, nose and larynx.
After recording a couple of conversations, the system extracts the personal voice patterns and records a unique voiceprint as a hashed string of numbers and characters, which cannot be reverse engineered once stored. When a user calls in, identification against the stored voiceprint takes seconds either using a spoken password which is kept on file, or using conversational speech, which provides authentication through completely natural conversation.
The possible uses of this are obvious: contact centres, IVR caller verification, secure logins for remote workers – financial institutions, government agencies and telecoms companies are already beginning to introduce biometrics into their strategies.
5 Reasons Why Voice Biometrics Is A Game Changer
1. Increased customer satisfaction
No PIN’s to remember; no passwords to forget. When using conversational speech voice authentication, a customer can be identified during normal conversation with the customer service agent. No security questions, no memory test, no frustrating lockouts. Instead, the customer can have their identity verified while explaining the reason for their call, providing a ”frictionless”, convenient customer experience.
2. Multi-channel continuity
Uniquely, Connect’s voice biometrics also allows customers to be verified from short pre-recorded words or phrases, such as customers saying their phone number or repeating a randomly generated one-time PIN. This can be used not only in call centres, but also to authenticate customers in emerging digital mobile and on-line channels. This allows organisations to unify the authentication experience across all channels further enhancing user experience and eliminating frustration from the customer service channel.
Customers do not need to share their personal information (mother’s maiden name, address, phone number and date of birth) with the call centre agent, so their personal information is better protected. Once authenticated through voice, there is no need for the agent to actually know who you are - all they need to know is that the voice of the caller is the voice of the legitimate customer.
And with personal information eliminated from the authentication process, the opportunity for customers’ private and personal information to be stolen through the call centre is eliminated. For the organisation, this has implications for enhanced privacy compliance, customer service staff vetting and off-shoring.
You can’t fake a voiceprint. Because there are so many identifying factors, even background noise, poor audio quality or the user having a cold will leave enough characteristics for them to be successfully identified. And even the most talented impressionist can’t fool it – human voices sound very different to computers than they do to humans.
The random PIN and the unpredictable nature of live conversation means recordings don’t work in conversational interactions. But even if it was used at the start of the call to establish ID, uniquely, Connect’s system can continue to listen in, noting if the voice changes as the call continues. If the voiceprint is compromised, it has no value, and if a fraudster attempts to emulate it, he will leave behind his own voiceprint which can be blocked from the system and forwarded to the police.
Average call times are shorter without the lengthy authentication process, verifying users while business is actually being done, leading to fast return on investment. Historically, voice biometrics were hard to install, but the process is now much simpler and the technology improved, making it truly cost effective.
Despite the rise of online, self-service contact, voice interaction with companies is still crucial. When customers call, they want to speak to a human either because self-service channels haven’t fixed their problem, or because their issues are complex or urgent. Allowing the call handler to dispense with security questions allows them to concentrate fully on the customer, really listening to what is being said from the beginning of the call, establishing strong rapport with the customer and more “human” conversation from the very start.
Customer interaction is improved, creating a more positive user experience.
Consumers are ready for this – the sophistication of mobile hardware, fingerprint scanners on most mobile phones and the widespread use of Siri has made biometrics more commonplace. From the range of biometrics available, voice recognition offers a dynamic tool as opposed to a static fingerprint (making it harder to copy digitally) and is more cost effective than expensive retina scanning.
Overseas, in countries like New Zealand, 60% of the population have voiceprints instead of passwords for telephone services. Whether used to complement existing 2 factor authentication or as a standalone solution, affordable, accurate voice biometrics have finally become a reality.
To find out more about Voice Biometrics and how it could help your business, please feel free to contact us.