How To Improve Caller Authentication in Contact Centres

How to improve caller authentication and reduce costs in the contact centre – Jamie Melling, CEO at  Smartnumbers discusses

Up until a few years ago, many organisations relied on trusting the caller and only asked basic questions, such as their name and address to validate their identity. However, with so many recent data breaches and identity thefts, fraudsters are now armed with more information than ever to bypass these simple security checks.

Organisations now face the challenge of finding the right balance between simplifying caller authentication and making it harder for fraudsters to access customer accounts.

Caller authentication takes longer and costs more

With more information, fraudsters take advantage of the latest technology to execute increasingly advanced attacks. From using prank call apps to manipulate a caller’s identity to using synthetic voice services, it is increasingly difficult to spot bad actors.

In response, organisations have implemented sophisticated security measures. But, fraudsters continue to explore different ways around these tighter controls. As a result, authentication has become more complex, taking on average 38 seconds to authenticate a caller at the cost of 48.5p per call. This costs organisations millions of pounds each year.

Contact centres are an attractive target

With two-factor authentication, biometrics and faceID, digital channels have become more secure. But as there isn’t equivalent security on the telephone channel, this makes the contact centre an attractive target for fraudsters.

Fraudsters exploit this vulnerability to gather information, set-up or execute an attack. It is estimated that more than 60% of all fraud touches the contact centre at some stage.

For example; A fraudster might use the IVR to validate customer information such as recent transactions, which is then used to conduct fraud through other channels. Or they might register for voice biometrics on a customer’s account to gain access.

Moving from KBAs to multi-factor authentication in the telephone channel?

The reliance on passwords is becoming increasingly ineffective in the face of rising data breaches. This is driving organisations to replace Knowledge Based Authentication (KBA) with multi-factor authentication. These factors include:

› Something you know: Certain knowledge only known to the user like a password, PIN or TAN.

› Something you have: A physical object in the possession of the user, such as a bank card or security token (USB stick).

› Something you are: A physical characteristic of the user which can be identified by biometrics, such as their voice, fingerprint or eye iris.

While we have seen developments in cyber security such as 3D secure payments, it has been difficult to achieve multi-factor authentication in the telephone channel. Technology such as voice biometrics can confirm the inherence of the caller but there are challenges. Not all customers are enrolled in “active” voice biometrics which limits the effectiveness as a tool to streamline authentication.

The solution is a layered defence

An effective solution is analysing incoming calls through the telephone network and the full call behaviour. This technology determines the trust level of the call and confirms they are calling from the number they claim to be using. Combined with other authentication factors enables more self-service transactions to be offered in the IVR reducing the number of calls required to be answered by agents and improving customer satisfaction.

For calls that must be answered by an agent, trusted callers can enjoy a faster track through authentication. The agent can then spend more time answering a caller’s enquiry as opposed to managing a lengthy authorisation process. Customer satisfaction is significantly improved, with the added benefit of reduced costs.

By adopting a layered defence with this approach, organisations can improve caller authentication and reduce costs  by successfully balancing customer satisfaction with fraud prevention.



Jamie Melling is CEO at Smartnumbers

Smartnumbers protect organisations by ensuring your voice network stays secure and your customer calls can always be answered. By authenticating callers and detecting fraudsters in real-time creating a frictionless caller experience for your customers.

As a software company with a telecommunications pedigree, Smartnumbers create market-leading voice resilience, security, and compliance solutions.

Smartnumbers’ cloud-based platform uses direct access to the carrier network, patented machine learning technology and sophisticated call management to protect your voice communications.

For additional information on Smartnumbers visit their Website

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