Monday, October 26, 2009

Getting The Highest Security for your Voice Recognition System

Many functions on a call center system will require some form of caller authentication, whether through the call center IVR system or through an agent. The form this caller verification process takes says a lot about a company. It’s not enough for an agent or voice recognition system to pose a sequence of security questions anymore. Callers may feel uncomfortable if all it takes is their mother’s maiden name to access their accounts. In fact, the call center of my own cellular services provider asks two simple security questions to establish my identity, and they are quite easy for a potential fraudster to seek out—my birthday and mother’s maiden name! Each time I call this company’s call center IVR system, I must go through the same rigmarole answering these questions.

Aside from security questions, even a lengthy numeric password is not always secure. Passwords can be stolen, or callers may simply forget. Highly sensitive transactions—banking transfers, for instance—need to be executed in a way which makes the caller feel their personal information and accounts are safe, and which protects against fraudulent access.

The importance of call center security must not be under-estimated. Fraud is a prevalent concern. An August article on DigitalTransactions News reports on the trend towards call center fraud. Through increasingly sophisticated means, such as online phishing, fraudsters are gaining access to personal information and using it to access highly confidential personal accounts via call center IVR systems and call center agents. The consequences can be devastating.

Of course, many call centers work very hard to gain customer trust and keep the incidence of fraud as low as possible, but it is clear that the problem is rarely resolved. So whatever your current authentication system for your call center, it is important to ask yourself how your company can take it to the next level.

So what might be the best route you can take? Voice biometric technology.

The benefits of voice biometric technology are clear. Rather than authenticating callers based on something they know or have (such as a password or security chip), voice biometric technology zeroes in on something they are—the sound of their voice being a uniquely individual characteristic which cannot be replicated. Having a dynamic clearance procedure, in which the caller must repeat a different phrase for each call to the voice recognition system, guards against the possibility of voice recording.

The process saves times and reduces errors, thus improving caller experience. Voice biometric technology dramatically reduces the false acceptance rate with an agent or voice recognition system, and similarly limits the false rejection rate. Quality voice biometrics will function regardless of the caller’s environment, mood, or intonation. Advanced speaker verification technology can even authenticate a caller as he or she is speaking freely with an agent. 

I have noticed the technology is growing more and more prevalent in the call center systems of both high-security institutions and other product/service providers. My advice? No matter whether you are a bank, a service provider, or an insurance company, if you have a call center IVR system in place, it pays to invest in the most up-to-date and secure authentication technology.

For more tips on your authentication process or call center IVR system, and to see what other measures you can implement to improve your call center IVR system, feel free to contact me and describe your specific situation.