6 Ways to Strengthen Customer Authentication

CX Today Team

Create a secure and easy system for customers and contact center agents

6 Ways to Strengthen Customer Authentication

Identifying and validating consumer identity is often cumbersome. On the one hand, contact centers must minimize the potential of a data breach or fraud. On the other hand, having clients jump through hoops with different PINs, security questions, and account numbers is irritating for everyone involved.

In today’s environment, when more customers demand slicker processes and heightened security awareness, achieving strong authentication is vital. With this in mind, here are ten methods for delivering seamless and secure identity and verification (ID&V) processes.

1. Recognize the Threat

To establish authentication processes, organizations must first understand the types of threats their organization faces. This begins with a comprehensive risk assessment that looks at their vulnerabilities, the sensitivity of their data, and the resources required to mitigate any potential risks.

There are several possible sources of failure, from technology and data gaps to personnel who may purposefully or inadvertently provide classified information to the wrong people.

2. Implement Voice Biometrics

Voice biometrics uses individuals’ voices to verify their identity across both inbound and outbound voice channels. To do so, it picks up on thousands of individual characteristics within a person’s voice, speaking style, and even smartphone navigation.

Most advanced is a passive voice biometrics solution, which detects these patterns and alerts agents to possible fraud in the first moments of the customer conversation. With such a system, the customer does not even notice the authentication process unless they are not who they say they are.

Unfortunately, there is a bit of customer effort to begin with, as customers have to register their voice as they would a thumbprint on a new phone. However, after that, their experience becomes much slicker.

3. Rethink Security Questions

Still, many companies rely on security questions as a form of authentication. While this method is relatively easy for clients, it does not offer the same level of security as other approaches. After all, many of the answers to these questions are easy to research and may lurk on social media.

Organizations can use software that enables customers to submit more security questions and answers before storing these in a database for future reference. Doing so can increase its effectiveness. Yet, other issues may arise, with some companies asking questions such as: “What is your favorite movie?” The answer to which is likely to change over time, setting the scene for a future arduous experience.

So, at the very least, businesses should rethink their approach, ensuring that questions are straightforward, memorable, and consistent while also being incredibly tough to guess.

4. Invest in Agent Education

It is also crucial to teach new employees about security procedures and policies while still learning the ropes. Doing so at the time of hire and on a regular basis keeps employees up to date on the most recent dangers and concerns.

Such education should include everything from contacting the fraud detection and prevention team when someone tries to access an account without the necessary credentials to keeping a watch out for internal data breaches from their fellow employees.

5. Apply Advanced Security Analytics

Many businesses rely on analytics and fraud detection software to gain better insights into data security. As a result, they can analyze transactional and behavioral patterns to identify suspicious activity that suggests a possible security or compliance breach.

With this information, businesses can engage with customers before the fraudster completes their mission. Such proactivity is likely to impress the customer, who may then become an avid brand advocate.

6. Converge Authentication to a Single App

This concept condenses the service department into a single app. Customers can then identify themselves through smartphone verification – i.e., a fingerprint or face ID – before contacting customer service. The contact center then recognizes them and bypasses other ID&V processes.

Many banking apps follow such a process, allowing them to build a central hub where it is easier to connect data. However, these companies may not open themselves up to a digitally-averse customer base.

Final Thoughts

Achieving strong customer authentication is critical to protect customers and the business. As such, many contact centers also take additional steps to enhance ID&V processes. These include administering and patching the network, keeping antivirus software up-to-date, and installing access controls.

Yet, building these ideas into a coherent, robust strategy is a challenge. Furthermore, poor implementation of these security measures can result in vulnerabilities. Contact centers must carefully pay close attention to data flow, considering possible people, process, and technology pitfalls when bolstering customer authentication processes.

Is it time to upgrade from security questions as a method of customer authentication? If so, check out our article: Want to Move on from Security Questions? Here’s How


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