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Study: Voice Biometrics Could Solve CRM Woes
[February 27, 2007]

Study: Voice Biometrics Could Solve CRM Woes

TMCnet Contributing Editor
Caller identification procedures and the need to protect customer privacy and information may prove to be a bigger challenge than contact centers can handle, according to research by Biometric Security Ltd., a provider of voice-based biometric verification and identity management.

The firm said an unceasing need for customers to remember PINs and passwords is becoming unsustainable and could damage institutional reputations, while also leading to customer churn.
This warning comes on the heels of research that has shown that UK contact centers spend GDP 820m a year on caller identification procedures. Steve Morrell, author of the research, notes that it is necessary for larger call center operators to do more to improve the customer experience, while also protecting customers’ private information and controlling costs.
The report said UK citizens spent 47 billion minutes on the phone to contact centers in 2006, making over 10 billion separate calls. This contact center interaction activity is a 350 percent increase over the past 10 years.
This report also determined that the simple task of asking for PINs and passwords is now costing UK contact centers a massive GBP 820m per year. In the US, this figure has reached $10 billion per year. In addition, the average time to manually verify a caller’s identity is 22 seconds, with costs ranging between GBP 5 and GBP 15 to reset forgotten passwords for every user.
Technology that has the potential to completely eliminate the need for PINs and passwords is now emerging in the market. Voice biometric technology for verification is becoming available. In addition to the potential to eliminate the need for PINs and passwords, the technology also has the ability to improve the user experience. Contact centers can take advantage of such technologies to not only significantly reduce operating costs, but to also help to protect the customer base.
“In trying to adhere to regulatory pressures and better protect customer data, call centers are establishing more complex identity verification procedures that are simply driving away customers,” said Paul Lindsey, executive chairman of Biometric Security, in a statement.
“Customers want to know that their personal information is protected, but they are starting to demand procedures that are simpler and more convenient. They don’t want to have to take an intelligence test to access their bank, utility or shopping accounts,” he added.  
While the costs associated with customer verification are staggering, the consumer base has come to expect a certain level of protection and verification process when calling the contact center.
While voice biometric technology may eliminate the need for PINs and passwords, we should expect that there will be a lengthy adoption time for such verification. After all, what is the norm in the latest James Bond movie is not what consumers are used to when dealing with the contact center. As such, consumers may be hesitant to accept such technology as sufficient for protecting their information.
Want to learn more about contact centers? Then be sure to check out TMCnet’s White Paper Library, which provides a selection of in-depth information on relevant topics affecting the IP Communications industry. The library offers white papers, case studies and other documents which are free to registered users. The papers are authored by industry leaders, who, in turn, receive qualified sales leads from interested parties. Check here for the latest in CRM information.
Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMC (News - Alert) and has also written for To see more of her articles, please visit Susan J. Campbell’s columnist page.

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