Australian Taxation Office Deploys Nuance Voice Biometrics in its Call Center

The Australian Taxation Office completed its two-phased deployment of Nuance Communications' voice biometrics solutions in its call center. With the introduction of its voice biometrics systems, it becomes the first organization in Australia to deploy voice biometrics in this manner.

The Australian Taxation Office receives approximately 9 million calls per year, with around 75 percent of these calls requiring agents to verify the callers' identities.

Prior to voice biometrics, when customers called, the authentication process involved several steps, putting pressure on both customers and the agents, who collectively spent approximately 75,000 hours each year just trying to verify customers over the phone.

To solve this, the ATO chose to deploy Nuance's voice biometrics solutions, in partnership with Optus, a managed network services provider. The ATO completed its first installation of Nuance's VocalPassword solution in September 2014, whereby customers speak a simple passphrase to verify their account. In April 2015, the ATO completed its second phase of deployment, the implementation of Nuance's FreeSpeech solution, which verifies customers during inbound and outbound calls without intrusive questioning. Combined, the new VocalPassword and FreeSpeech voice biometrics solutions provide an added layer of security for ATO customers, helping to prevent and detect identity theft.

This streamlined approach has let the ATO quickly boost call completion rates, while also improving security for customers using the contact center. Some initial results from the two-phase deployment include the following:

  • Between September 2014 and mid July 2015, more than 760,000 Australians have enrolled for the voice biometrics solution.
  • Early customer feedback has indicated that the contact center experience has improved, with repeat callers experiencing a 40-45 second reduction in the average time that they are on the phone with agents.
  • Within the first 12 days of the FreeSpeech release, total FreeSpeech enrolments were 25 percent of the volume of VocalPassword enrolments for the previous eight months.
  • There have been more than 480,000 successful VocalPassword verifications and more than 104,000 successful FreeSpeech verifications.

"No one wants to be on a call to the ATO longer than they need to, but we must ensure that convenience and ease of access are effectively balanced with our mutual need for security," said John Dardo, acting deputy commissioner of the Australian Tax Office, in a statement. "With Nuance's voice biometrics solutions, we have introduced a secure, fast, and easy way to verify a customer's identity, providing a greatly improved experience for our customers and for our staff. The streamlined authentication has allowed the ATO to quickly boost call completion rates while also improving customer security. Customer and staff feedback has been very positive, and they see this as another example of us delivering contemporary client experiences."

"All organizations are competing to provide new and engaging customer service experiences that are simple and secure," said Robert Weideman, executive vice president and general manager of the Enterprise Division at Nuance, in a statement. "The customer experience is at the core of Nuance's voice biometrics technology, a premise which aligns perfectly with the ATO's organizational goals. Using Nuance's voice biometrics solutions, the ATO has been able to greatly improve its customer service experience, while reducing costs and delivering an authentication process that eases the burden on both customers and service agents."

Nuance's voice biometrics solutions have been adopted globally by other large organizations, such as ING Netherlands, Santander Mexico, SK Telecom, Tangerine Bank, Tatra Banka, Turkcell, and Vodacom South Africa. Nuance voice biometrics technology has been used to store more than 50 million voiceprints for its customers.

SpeechTek Covers
for qualified subscribers
Subscribe Now Current Issue Past Issues
Related Articles

Virginia Credit Union Taps Nuance Voice Biometrics

Nuance voice biometrics lets VACU members use their voices to prove their identities.