The kiss of life for speaker authentication

I heard two people talking in the pub the other day. One asked, “what was the name of the person you first kissed?” I’d like to point out that I wasn’t eavesdropping; I just couldn’t help overhearing.

The point is, it reminded me of the list of security questions I was faced with recently when signing up to an on-line service. I don’t remember all the questions on the list, but I do remember not having an answer for any of them! I thought at the time, if I can’t provide an answer now, how am I going to remember the next time I face an interrogation.

I’m sure you’ve all had a similar situation, when you’re on the phone to your bank or insurance provider, and you can’t remember the answer to your security question. There must be a better alternative. Well, there is.

Voice biometrics offers a solution through the deployment of automated speaker verification. We’ve probably all got an IVR horror story, whether it’s Alexa getting it wrong or the phone not recognising who you’re trying to call. However, the technology is here to stay.

Contact centre managers are always looking for ways to maximise the self-service functions of the IVR front-end. Incorporating identification and verification (ID&V) as an automated process within the IVR is an idea that has matured, because of what it offers compared to agent-led ID&V.

If speech technology, in the form of automatic speech recognition, was the revolution that overthrew dual-tone multi-frequency input, automatic speaker verification (ASV) is the evolution that will supersede agent-led ID&V. Verifying by voice will become as commonplace as navigating your way through an IVR menu, but it will be less stressful.

There are several benefits to be gained from deploying an authentication system based on voice biometrics, not least of which are speed, convenience and security. Furthermore, speaker verification is completely natural and instinctive for the user, which means that security no longer comes at the expense of convenience.

Customer engagement is important. A poor experience has a negative impact on both customer loyalty and agent morale. For every customer frustrated at having to remember the answers to random questions there is a customer service agent equally frustrated by repetitive workflows and barriers to excellent customer service.

A return on your investment in ASV should be both rapid and sustainable. If you consider a range of contact centre metrics, including average handle time, cost per call/transaction, adherence to schedule, etc. the impact of reducing time spent on agent-led ID&V is obvious.

Eliminating the Spanish inquisition at the beginning of every call by using ASV means more time spent engaging with callers. A reduction in call time results in a reduction in cost per call. For high volume contact centres, the potential for cost savings is significant.

With identity theft and fraudulent account access on the rise, adding voice biometrics as a part of multi-factor authentication significantly lowers the risk of unauthorised user access. If you weigh up the costs associated with fraud remediation, the return on investment in ASV is even greater.

To discover more about speaker verification and authentication, check out our VoiSentry product sheet.

View the product sheet