U.K. Contact Centers Spend Too Much on Agent Verification

Costs in the United Kingdom associated with contact center agents asking for customer verification information has risen by 10 percent in the past year, topping out at $1.8 billion (906 million British pounds), according to a new report from customer relationship management and contact center analyst firm ContactBabel.

The report, released Sept. 27, examines the use of speech technologies within U.K. call centers, having pulled information from 3,600 operations within the country.

This latest ContactBabel report mirrors findings released earlier this year for U.S. contact centers. In that report, ContactBabel placed costs associated with identity confirmation across the country at $11.7 billion, while agents spend 11,000 years of time verifying PINs, passcodes, and answers to secret questions.

The U.K. report, which was sponsored by Voice Vault, received coverage on Opus Research’s Web site, and seeks to demonstrate the need for a voice biometrics system within call centers, not only as a money-saving strategy but also a means to improve call handling time and reduce waiting time. The report states, for example, that a contact center receiving 10 million inbound calls per year, with each identification process taking 20 seconds, could save $6.5 million using voice biometrics solutions instead.

Julia Webb, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Voice Vault, says the company expects the adoption of voice biometrics in the U.K. call center to be well received.

"Increasingly, individuals are locked out of their bank accounts when they don’t remember the amount of their last deposit or the location where they opened their account," Webb says. "Once locked out of their accounts, individuals have to make a trip to their local branch office to prove their identity. Voice verification improves customer satisfaction by eliminating the need for the customer to answer a series of cumbersome questions or, worse, being locked out of their account while at the same time saving the financial institution 40-60 cents a call."

Currently, Webb states, financial call centers in the U.K. are leading the way with the adoption of voice verification systems, but notes that the healthcare market is another vertical expected to invest in the technology.

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