Speech Technology Magazine


Voice Biometrics Should Be Part of a Larger Strategy, Experts Contend

Blending biometrics with other security methods can help prevent contact centers from fraud, Speech Technology webinar participants contend.
Posted Jan 9, 2018
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As voice increasingly becomes the channel of choice for customer service interactions, new vulnerabilities threaten the companies that deploy it. Luckily, voice biometrics can mitigate some of that risk, executives from Convergys and Omilia asserted during a recent webinar hosted by Speech Technology magazine.

Just in the mobile space alone, some of the worst threats include number porting, device cloning, call forwarding, SMS interception, cloning and swapping of SIM cards, and more, according to Allyson Boudousquie, vice president of market and product strategy at Convergys.

Biometrics solutions, however, can provide a layer of proactive caller fraud protection. They can also help create a smother caller authentication process, something that has hindered efforts in the past, both participants admitted during the web event, which is titled "Voice Biometrics and Beyond: Protecting Customer Experience in the Contact Center."

"Indeed authentication is the big problem, most of the times, in call centers. It's a problem because it creates frustration for callers, it increases the average handling time," said Dimitris Vassos, CEO and founding partner of Omilia.

Voice biometrics, he warns, comes in passive and active varieties, and each has its merits and disadvantages. "Passive text-independent voice biometrics agent side is a robust technology, but it doesn't bring the cost savings. Active text-dependent technology is also operational, but with very small and very low user uptake," he said.

Additionally, neither is 100 percent fool-proof, which prompted Vassos to suggest using voice biometrics "as an additional factor of authentication, not necessarily as a single factor of authentication as it has been marketed."

He further suggests blending biometrics with caller ID, spoofing detection, security questions, anti-fraud analytics, and other security methodologies.

"Within the IVR, when we use voice biometrics not as the single factor of authentication but as an additional factor of authentication, we can authenticate callers at very low cost," Vassos said.

And, when used right, fraud-prevention technologies do not have to slow down average call handling times.

"There are going to be instances for certain types of transaction that have multiple red flags around them. In that scenario, that average handle time may go up, but it's not going to be the general rule of every single type of interaction," Boudousquie said.

Vassos agreed. "In most cases, it actually does not add any average handling time. We've also seen reduction in average handling time because agents have to do less, actually, when the call arrives with a high degree of confidence, that they've been authenticated and that there's no fraudulent activity happening," he said.

For more from this webinar, click here.

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