Fraud protection has never been taken lightly by call centers, but the need for stricter authentication is reaching new levels in the face of automated bot attacks and near-daily account takeover (ATO) attempts. Call centers are reevaluating how customers are authenticated across all channels, including websites, mobile apps, chatbots and traditional telephone calls.
Seventeen percent of call centers are looking to replace knowledge-based authentication (KBA) with multi-factor authentication (MFA) to better protect customers from scheming fraudsters, and though that may not seem like a high percentage, it is double the number of centers that were looking at such methods in 2018. KBA tools use information that bad actors can easily obtain, like passcodes or PINs, making stronger methods favorable.
Many customers still like the convenience of KBA tools, however, which is why Lindsay Sacknoff, head of U.S. contact centers for TD Bank, believes it is important for firms to have innovative authentication measures that protect against fraud and deliver quality customer experiences. Sacknoff recently spoke to PYMNTS about examining how these authentication tools fit each channel customers use to interact with businesses.
“Fraud is an ever-evolving space, [so] it’s important, with multifactor authentication, to look at it holistically,” she said.
TD Bank currently utilizes both artificial intelligence (AI) and biometric authentication products, such as voice and fingerprint scans, to verify customers’ identities. Sacknoff noted that it is important to maintain the personalization and convenience that customers have come to expect, even as fraud security measures grow tighter.
Why AI, MFA Are Necessary Within Call Centers
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. Customers do not have to provide additional details once they are enrolled in Voiceprint, unless they are looking to make high-risk transactions. The bank has augmented Voiceprint with additional biometric authentication factors and analytical tools, allowing customers to be fully authenticated in fewer steps.
“Innovation goes both ways,” Sacknoff said, “to provide more security [as well as] personalization.”
The need for personalization is increasing as more customers come to expect such experiences from various institutions. Customer familiarity with quick authentication tools means that call centers are locked in a constant cycle of innovation.
“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.”
This seamlessness is essential for all channels that call centers maintain, but it is especially important in mobile as the number of consumers using this channel continues to expand. The bank has developed TD ASAP, a mobile-based authentication feature, to respond to this need, allowing customers to interact with it through their smartphones. Sacknoff noted that the app maintains crucial omnichannel experiences, and that it authenticates users with fingerprint scans. She also explained that if customers wish to call from the app, after already verifying their identities, they will not be required to authenticate themselves a second time. High-risk transactions are the exception here, as well.
“We will say, ‘You have already been authenticated through the app, what can I help you with today?’” she said.
This places biometrics at the forefront of the experience while making authentication little more than a blip on the customer’s radar.
Evolving Call Center Channels
KBA’s inadequacy and the need for call centers to stay on top of the innovation cycle is likely to grow, especially as consumers begin to express their problems and concerns on new channels, such as social media.
“We absolutely consider social media to be part of our contact center. This is a [channel] that is used in a few different ways,” Sacknoff said. “It can be used purely for marketing or, like we use it, to address customer inquiries.”
Consumers often turn to channels like Twitter to express issues they might have with a company. Some of these institutions have responded with dedicated teams that seem to fold social media into the contact center, but this channel comes with its own set of challenges. Call centers will need to find the best ways to interact with customers in this newly popular area without sacrificing the convenience that drives them there in the first place.