Australian Tax Office Rolls Out Nuance Voice Biometrics

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has further expanded its voice authentication program by integrating Nuance Communications' voice biometrics technology into its mobile app. As the first organization to implement a multichannel voice biometrics authentication process, the ATO aims to improve the overall experience across the contact center and mobile app for taxpayers, with more than1.5 million people already enrolling their voiceprints.

Taxpayers can already authenticate using their voices when calling the ATO contact center, an innovation that was rolled out last year. This second-phase implementation now offers taxpayers voice biometrics authentication across its suite of online services, accessible through the ATO app. The implementation of biometrics means taxpayers no longer have to answer security questions or enter lengthy usernames and passwords to prove their identities when engaging with the ATO.

"The ATO is committed to delivering a contemporary digital experience for our clients, and feedback has shown an overwhelming acceptance of voice biometrics in the call center, making it a natural next step to bring this ease of access to the mobile app," said ATO Assistant Commissioner John Dardo in a statement. "Voice biometrics solutions have made the authentication process more convenient for taxpayers and service agents via the ATO mobile app. We're proud to be the first organization to provide this type of innovative mobile experience for our clients."

"In this changing customer service ecosystem, organizations need to provide experiences that are natural and intuitive across channels in order to meet customers' higher expectations and preferences," said Robert Schwarz, Nuance's managing director of enterprise for Australia and New Zealand, in a statement. "The ATO's commitment to delivering an authentication process that is faster and smoother across channels shows they are putting their clients first by offering a more compelling and effective experience." 

Taxpayers who choose to participate only need to enroll in the program once. Their unique voiceprints are authenticated when they engage with the ATO via the contact center and mobile app.

The ATO receives approximately 7.2 million calls per year. Prior to implementing Nuance's voice biometrics, around 76 percent of these calls required an ATO agent to verify the caller's identity, at a cost of 75,000 hours of agents' and customers' time each year.

Initial results from the ATO's voice biometrics deployment show broad acceptance of the technology, evidenced by the 1.5 million successful voice biometrics enrollments since the system launched. Additionally, 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 an agent, gaining access to their personal records faster.

Nuance's voice biometrics solutions have been adopted globally by other large organizations, such as ING Netherlands, Eastern BankManulifeSantander MexicoSK TelecomTangerine BankTatra BankaU.S. Bank, and Barclays.

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