The latest Call Center Commerce Tracker looks at how call centers are using artificial intelligence (AI) and biometrics to keep customers satisfied and safe, as well as new voice and visual trends.
One of the biggest changes is that call centers are moving away from knowledge-based authentication (KBA) methods like passwords and PINs and employing methods with multi-factor authentication (MFA). According to a survey by TRUSTID, this year, 17 percent of call centers plan to replace KBA methods with MFA, double the figure (8 percent) from 2018.
Call centers are especially vulnerable. A majority (51 percent) of call center leaders cited the phone channel as the primary source of account takeover (ATO) attacks.
Three-fourths (76 percent) of call center leaders felt confident that they could prevent ATOs without diminishing the customer experience. And many are ready for a change: 46 percent of call center leaders were “very” or “somewhat” dissatisfied with their current caller authentication methods, a 50 percent increase from 2018.
Call centers are experimenting with hybrid methods to combat ATO attacks and other types of fraud. This type of MFA will combine certain KBA elements, such as usernames, with alternate authentication measures that are harder for cybercriminals to obtain.
While biometrics includes the better-known methods such as facial recognition and fingerprint ID, increasingly voice is also being used for authentication since speech recognition technology is improving.
Consumers are also interested in using voice in non-traditional ways. Voicebot’s research found that nearly a third of smart speaker owners are interested in using their devices to contact customer service departments.
Digital communications company Twilio is using AI to enable voice prints, a form of back-end authentication. The company enables this application for live voice calls, text messages, WhatsApp and other customer contact channels to support more contextual conversations and voice authentication.
Companies like technology provider ID R&D offer a biometric voice platform that is compatible with a range of devices, including Android and Apple phones, and uses a combination of AI, behavioral and anti-spoofing technologies for better authentication.
TD Bank has been offering TD Voiceprint since 2017, and the service examines approximately 150 separate voice characteristics to determine if customers are legitimate and prevent authentication frictions.
Lindsay Sacknoff, head of U.S. contact centers for TD Bank, spoke to PYMNTS about how the financial institution is using both AI and multifactor authentication (MFA) tools, including its Voiceprint service, to offer better authentication.
“We’ve seen better conversations [between agents and customers] and more awareness that we offer [TD Voiceprint],” she said. “As you offer more seamless solutions, customers want even more seamless solutions ... so there is that feedback loop,” she said.
The bank has also developed TD ASAP, a mobile-based authentication feature, to allow customers to interact through their smartphones. The app maintains crucial omnichannel experiences, and that it authenticates users with fingerprint scans.
AI Aids Customer Service
Increasingly, voice is also being used to enhance context and detect sentiment when users contact a call center. And even visual cues are being parsed for helpful clues.
Google is integrating speech recognition technology into its Contact Center AI platform as a way to streamline customer calls. The technology will enhance the language tools of Google’s AI, allowing it to better differentiate between common words for more helpful solutions.
Twilio recently launched Media Streams, an API that provides businesses with real-time access to the raw audio of their phone calls. Businesses can use Media Streams and integrate third party, AI-powered analytics capabilities to do things like analyze language and emotional levels of voices on a call, to better understand the quality of interactions in real time.
AI contact center startup Cogito is using behavioral AI to forge stronger connections. The company’s technology coaches human agents during their calls, offering cues for empathy or to change their vocal pitches and speaking pace.
It’s not all about voice, either. Vision is also getting attention. Visual customer assistance company TechSee is utilizing AI to pull insights from images as opposed to voice. The company recently launched AI-powered TechSee Smart, which lets customers take and upload photos that AI can process to identify issues. Customers are then transferred to human agents, who can use the information gathered by the tool for assistance.