Pairing Security and Convenience in the Contact Center

hand touching techy blue phone icon
Mark Horne Photo
Chief Marketing Officer

4 minutes

Every phone call affects your business, so make sure you are making the best possible impression.

Every call a customer or potential customer makes to a financial institution is an opportunity to make a good impression—or an awful one. As competition grows ever fiercer and prospects become more demanding, maintaining a secure and customer-centric contact center operation is essential to success. The alternative isn’t pretty: 32% of all customers worldwide say they will leave a brand they previously loved after just one bad experience.

When considering your contact center, you need to understand the type of experience your customers are having and how it can affect their brand loyalty. Look at how long they are kept on hold, whether every call requires talking to multiple people, if an interactive voice response system enables swift resolution of basic account actions. And, perhaps most importantly, ensure that your callers are who they claim to be.

Contact Centers, COVID-19 and Rising Security Issues

Contact centers have been a vital part of the banking and credit union industry for decades, but the events of the last two years have, if anything, increased businesses’ reliance on phone support. When branches temporarily shuttered in March 2020, businesses began conducting huge portions of formerly in-person operations over the phone. During this time, many contact centers “decentered” to a remote work model that kept employees safe but introduced new security challenges.

According to a study by Forrester, fraud attacks in the call center have increased by 57% since the pandemic started. These attacks can take the form of account reconnaissance, call spoofing, automatic number identification masking and social engineering. Though malicious callers cannot perform a complete account takeover through the IVR, the information obtained there may give multi-channel attacks a greater chance of eventual success. If fraud isn’t detected in the IVR, the cybercriminals get a head start, and security has to play catch up.

Contact center security at its best isn’t a matter of laboriously keying in your birthdate or answering security questions about your mother’s maiden name. Automated systems can discreetly flag suspicious IVR calls and notify agents in real-time. A secured IVR can scan incoming calls for signs of phone number spoofing and other unscrupulous activity. Similarly, voice authentication can detect fraudsters operating social engineering attacks, bots and deepfakes aimed at depleting member funds. Today’s best-in-class security operates with minimal distraction for members and call center staff alike.

Younger Members’ Demands

There’s a real opportunity for credit unions to expand their customer base, including among millennials and Gen Z. A generational shift is underway, and regional banks and credit unions are poised to benefit if only they can make a persuasive case to a uniquely challenging population. Credit unions and local banks are naturally appealing to younger people who have grown suspicious of multinational corporations. These consumers appreciate that local or regional operations provide more of a personal touch, but they may also worry that credit unions or regional banks might not have the security and efficiency that the impersonal big banks have.

But these younger consumers know that contact center experiences can be painful. On average, customers wait between five and 10 minutes for support, but new tools can reduce this friction in the customer contact center journey while increasing security.

Passive voice authentication can make customers’ experiences with contact centers both faster and more reliable. If customers can be authenticated by their voice, they no longer need to answer knowledge-based authentication questions about their mother’s maiden name, their childhood pet or their Social Security numbers. This helps keep personally identifiable information secure. It also makes it quicker for customers to gain access to their services, and in today’s fast-paced environment, speed keeps customers happy. Faster interaction times also improve operational efficiencies for call centers; for example, $4.4 billion CommunityAmerica Credit Union saw that incorporating voice authentication reduced customer hold time by up to 98%.

A modern contact center with IVR security doesn’t just save money related to fraud and efficiency, it also helps earn money by retaining customers. Every phone call affects your business, so make sure that callers are left with the best possible impression. Security and convenience are challenges, it’s true, but they’re also opportunities for businesses able to act smart and act quickly.

Mark Horne is CMO of Pindrop, a voice security solutions company. He is a holistic marketing executive with a proven career record of driving strategic development and operational execution of transformational, customer-centric initiatives that impact and support organizations’ mission and growth objectives. He has led high-performing organizations across the B2B cloud, software, and technology landscape and has a comprehensive background in creating and spearheading strategies and programs that drive marketing planning strategy, brand awareness, customer demand, and revenue growth.

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