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August 7th, 2019

Rethinking the Caller Authentication Journey

Call center professionals are constantly trying to secure their customers’ private data while improving the customer experience. But are they succeeding? 

According to the Customer Contact Week special report, “Evaluating Call Center Authentication,” customer qualification processing flaws continue to lurk across the voice-dominated landscape.

Today, more than 70% of consumers identify phone calls as their ideal customer service option. This is good news for call center leaders, who agree that the phone is the most urgent channel investment area. The bad news is that, according to a recent report by Forrester Consulting, nearly 50% of businesses experience decreased customer satisfaction and increased operational costs as a result of outbound voice challenges, and nearly 40% suffer lost productivity and revenue and a decreased customer base. Furthermore, phone numbers have lost their value as a means of caller identification due to spoofing, manipulation, social engineering, and other forms of exploitation.

Worldpay Process Optimization Analyst, Danny Rodocker, said improving data security and the customer service experience has long been a challenge for call centers. 

“[Contact centers and agents] want to help the customers and be empathetic, but it’s historically been a risk from a security standpoint. This is about finding the balance: how can we service the customers in an expeditious way but also increase security so that we’re not vulnerable to fraud?”

Because live voice communication has been the cornerstone of the customer experience, organizations have relied on knowledge-based authentication (KBA) methods to identify and validate customers for far too long. So long, in fact, that the one-time effective authentication solution has become the problem.

Today, KBA solutions are problematic for both security and the customer experience. Not only are security questions no longer predictive for authenticating callers and identifying suspicious or fraudulent calls, they create a slower, more frustrating customer experience. 

With KBA ill-suited for the modern customer experience dynamic, it can also leave contact centers more vulnerable to fraud by falsely approving impersonators if it is the only measure used to authenticate callers.

Moving forward, we need to ask ourselves if we would prefer to guess about whether a caller is legitimate or be certain of it? Would we prefer to bother them with identity interrogations or support them for faster problem-resolution?

Neustar’s ownership-factor authentication model is a customer-centric, secure alternative to outdated, and potentially harmful, KBA. Using an ownership token from a physical phone that hasn’t been spoofed, hacked, virtualized or manipulated, Neustar quickly and automatically assesses the legitimacy or risk of the person using the calling device while the phone is still ringing. So, there’s no need for costly or frustrating telephone interrogations.

The results — based on a green authentication token or a red flag — allow the call center to either accept the call with confidence or route it for further review, without asking anything of the caller. This makes for a more efficient and overall satisfying experience for legitimate callers, as well as an effective secure-conscious authentication process in what remains a voice-dominated landscape.
 

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