Voice Biometrics for Authentication – The Truth

This week has seen two highly publicised incidents where contact centres have refused service to people in the UK. In separate occurrences, Stephen Dennis and Sophia Reis could not access their bank account as the contact centre agent did not trust the validity of their call.

Security is foremost in the mind of contact centres in our financial industry. The contact centre agent, in each case, would be working to strict guidelines and would be trained to refuse access to funds where reasonable doubt exists over a caller’s identity.

On both occasions, however, details which had been logged with each bank, regarding the high pitch of Stephen’s voice and Sophia’s transition, were not sufficient to convince the operator.

This caused distress to both individuals, who were simply trying to go about their daily lives. It is a challenge for all contact centres, not just banks, to protect our security whilst also respecting the individual issues people face.

Can we eradicate this scenario?

What we must consider is the use of voice biometrics for authentication. Voice biometrics work by capturing and digitising a profile of a person’s speech to produce a stored model voice print.

The tones collectively identify your unique voice print. Voice prints are then stored in secure databases in a manner similar to the storing of fingerprints or other biometric data.

This would have created a profile for both Stephen and Sophia that would alleviate the stress of their situation. In situations where a voice may change over a period, the customer should be advised and necessary steps taken to re-record their voice…but only if this is absolutely necessary…and this would be a rarity.
The pitch and the intonation of your voice may change (a cold, feeling stressed), but other physiological features like your vocal cord location and larynx structure are unique to a person. It is impossible for a criminal to fake all these characteristics.

Combinations and updates

Voice prints alone are not the only support available to a contact centre. Knowledge-based authentication with dynamic security questions based on IVR events, caller geo-location, ANI matching and other contextual data can provide an operator with the comfort they require.

As an industry, we want to reduce incidents like the ones Sophia and Steven experienced, but we must also retain the trust of our customers that their security is protected at all times. Using the very best in voice biometric software will make a huge difference going forward.

Additional Information

SVL Business Solutions is based in East Kilbride for over 50 years, providing Voice Recording Software to the Contact Centre Industry.

For additional information on SVL Business Solutions visit their Website or view their Company Profile

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