One Step Ahead: Fraud, COVID, and the Contact Center

Posted by Kathy Sobus + LumenVox on Mar 16, 2021 10:00:00 AM

This blog post was co-authored by Kathy Sobus (Senior Director, Customer Experience Strategy, ConvergeOne) and LumenVox.

Anxiety surrounding identity theft is high, and justifiably so. 83% of Americans are concerned about their identity being stolen, as 9 million Americans had theirs compromised last year. The pandemic has only exacerbated the situation, causing a 10%+ rise in identity theft. Even more nerve-wracking, up to 21% of identity theft victims have had their identity stolen multiple times. Clearly, customers are seeking organizations that can protect them from this threat.

What are businesses doing to set themselves apart when it comes to COVID and fraud? Being one step ahead. Proactive, forwarding-thinking organizations know when a fraudster is knocking at the door, not after the fact. Once they’ve gained entry, the social engineering and account-compromising happens. We owe it to our customers to be one step ahead, and the best proactive fraud strategies utilize voice biometrics as an added layer of threat prevention.

A Rare Opportunity to Reduce Fraud, Increase Satisfaction, and Streamline Operations

Voice biometrics reduce fraud. Voice biometrics also streamlines conversations. When it comes to contact center authentication, callers overwhelmingly prefer voice biometrics to knowledge-based security questions. Depending on the survey, the numbers suggest that at least 8 out of 10 callers prefer to be authenticated using voice biometrics over traditional knowledge-based authentication. Why? They don’t need to be interrogated. They don’t need to remember answers to certain questions. They don’t need to waste their own time. Instead, they can authenticate with the sound of their own voice.

Voice biometrics reduce fraud, but what many don’t know is that they help streamline operations in two ways: IVR containment and reduction in handle time.

IVR Containment Increase

IVRs are not necessary to have voice biometrics; however, if you have an IVR, there is an opportunity to increase your containment rate. With active voice biometrics in the IVR, more callers can easily authenticate themselves at the beginning of the self-service application. Depending on the individual organization, making callers remember long account numbers and pins can be eliminated using this method. This results in more callers working with the IVR and completing self-service transactions.

Each call that is fully contained in the IVR—as opposed to being transferred to an expensive call center agent—saves an average of $8. The addition of voice biometrics regularly increases containment by 2 – 5%. Depending on the call volume, this nominal increase in IVR containment adds up significantly. For example, an IVR receiving 50,000 calls a day would see an increase in containment of around 1,000 – 2,500 calls per day. At $8 each, that’s an annual savings of $2,920,000 - $7,300,000.

Reduction in Average Handle Time (AHT)

Traditional authentication is a source of dissatisfaction for both customers and agents. Contact center agents spend an average of 20-40—and, in industries like finance and insurance, as high as 60 seconds—authenticating callers using traditional knowledge-based questions. These questions are increasingly insecure because the data is either widely known, or has been compromised through large-scale hacking. The questions are annoying to callers/members, and they are highly repetitive for call center agents. They’re painful for everyone involved.

The addition of passive voice biometrics reduces AHT by an average of 35 – 45 seconds. Given that most contact centers in the US have a loaded agent cost of ~$1/minute, even if one only reduces AHT by 30 seconds (being conservative), passive voice biometrics can save about $.50 per call. Assuming a contact center that has 10,000 calls per day, the annual savings from deploying voice biometrics would be around $1,825,000. It is significant, to say the least.

One Step Ahead

Whether it is one step ahead of your competitors or criminals, it is critical to take care of your business and your customers in the time of COVID and beyond. Voice biometrics present a unique opportunity to do just that AND streamline your operations. Let your customers know they are the priority, and that you truly care about their security and convenience. Differentiate your service in a unique way. Whatever your motivation for considering biometric authentication, the time to act is now!


ConvergeOne Biometric Authentication Services combine the use of voice, thumbprint, facial recognition, and more to identify and stop criminal activity, protect the company and the customers, and reduce costs.

Learn More About Biometric Authentication

Topics: Contact Center, Customer Experience, Cyber Security, LumenVox