Last year’s Sabio/Avaya research into the security concerns of some 2,000 UK consumers found that security issues within contact centres were a real issue for over half of the respondents. Consumers said they had real concerns about the security of their personal and financial information, however they also said that they became unhappy when customer service compliance processes led to interactions that were too long and frustrating.
This dilemma usually arises when there’s a disconnect between an organisation’s compliance operation, which typically serves as a policing function, and its customer service function that exists to achieve other objectives while still managing compliance requirements. Customer service operational teams invariably find this a major challenge, but it’s no use complaining – compliance is simply a fact of life for today’s major organisations.
An added pressure for contact centre operators, and perhaps a key reason why the voice channel is the only area of UK customer service fraud that’s growing, is that improvements in both online security and cardholder not present retail transactions are now driving fraudsters to the contact centre.
Unfortunately this increased pressure has come at a time when organisations are placing increased focus on reducing Customer Effort. For contact centres this can be a real challenge – particularly as the growing volume of customers using dedicated mobile apps now expect the same levels of immediate responsiveness when they eventually need to escalate an interaction and have to speak to someone in a contact centre.
40% of interactions coming into our customers’ contact centres are now instigated by mobile devices
At Sabio we’re finding that as much as 40% of interactions coming into our customers’ contact centres are now instigated by mobile devices. So while there’s often a serious corporate drive to minimise customer effort, the disconnect and loss of context as a customer switches between self-service and live service is becoming a real issue for many organisations.
Accustomed to the ease-of-use and always-on connectivity offered by the best mobile apps, consumers will only become more frustrated if organisations can’t align the engagement experience and associated effort levels of mobile apps and contact centres.
Fortunately the answer to many of these questions lies in the innovation and omnipresence of their customers’ smart devices – particularly when it comes to finding new ways to balance compliance and customer effort requirements.
Putting the power of smart mobile devices to work Given the challenge of achieving the dual goals of increased compliance and reduced customer frustration, it makes sense for organisations looking to optimise their customer journeys to take full advantage of any technologies that can help. For example, a more integrated customer security strategy could see the actual Identification & Verification process increasingly migrating away from the contact centre towards consumers.
How could this work? While organisations have been quick to equip their customers with dedicated mobile apps, they have been slower to take advantage of the power and potential of the consumer device.
Smart device vendors such as Apple and Samsung, for example, have already successfully added extremely powerful fingerprint recognition technology to their flagship smartphone devices – effectively bringing biometrics technology to potentially millions of consumers worldwide.
These smart devices have the potential to support either fingerprint or voice biometrics identification. Add in the ability to ‘tokenise’ identity in the form of vouchers that are always sent within the data channel, and the smartphone’s voiceprint or fingerprint can be used to manage the end-to-end Identification & Verification process right through to core contact centre and CRM applications.
As consumers it’s unlikely that we would be prepared to establish separate identity vouchers for each of the organisations we deal with. However, with voiceprints on the smart mobile device we’ll have the opportunity for identity to remain our personal property – remaining within our smartphones and only engaging with external systems for verification.
By migrating Identification & Verification away from the contact centre towards consumer ‘edge devices’, organisations have the opportunity to reduce their customer compliance effort down to zero over time. And, given that an estimated 20% of overall UK contact centre talk time is currently focused on Identification & Verification, the potential overall contact centre savings for organisations will be significant.
Security won’t be the only contact centre function that will successfully transition to the edge. Increasingly smart mobile apps can also effectively replicate the capabilities of traditional IVRs, delivering a more seamless experience because security will already be established, and benefiting from greater personalisation as the customer’s history and current context will immediately be known.
Deploying customer smartphones to address the challenges of Identification & Verification and IVR replication are just two examples of how organisations can reduce customer effort by disrupting traditional process flows. Each new generation of smartphones brings new degrees of connectivity, speed and functionality, so the acceleration of services to the edge is a trend that service providers will need to track with care.
Ken Hitchen, Founding Director, Sabio
For additional information on Sabiop see their Company Profile