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Written by: Pindrop

Contact Center Fraud & Authentication Expert

In today’s technology-obsessed world, the way customers communicate with businesses has changed. In addition to the good old phone call, we now also have email, mobile apps, live chat, and social media channels. Still, despite the availability of a variety of communication channels, the phone call still plays a vital role  in customer experience.

The phone call gives your business the opportunity to let customers hear and feel your eagerness to help them: the voice of a human being ready to listen and empathize. After all, who wouldn’t prefer to interact with someone who is invested and caring? The qualitative aspect of the caller-agent connection goes well beyond any statistics and metrics that contact centers use to measure and improve on their work performance.

When we talk about pleasant communication, a polite, customized greeting can turn a neutral or a negative experience into a positive one. Sometimes, when a customer faces a difficult problem, the human element is exactly what they prefer — comfort and reassurance.

A call center generally deals with thousands of callers on any given day, so adding a personalized touch in every call might at first seem like a daunting task. But, it is crucial to avoid the discouraging sound of indifference in an automated menu or in an agent’s voice.   

How to add personalization without straining the contact center operation

ANI (Automatic Number Identification) Match is a telephony service that allows a business to search their own database for a match with an existing customer account. This process makes it fast and easy for the business to identify the person calling and potentially personalize the interaction. However, ANI Match can only be used safely if the business can trust the number displayed on the Caller ID. For that, a business will need to validate the ANI. ANI Validation confirms that a call is coming from the device that owns the number–the call has not been spoofed or manipulated, and the number on the caller ID can be trusted. Once the number calling has been validated, the ANI Matching process can begin. ANI Validation combined with ANI Match can be a powerful tool to improve the customer experience while also saving time and money for the contact center. 

Contact centers use authentication tools to provide frictionless, personalized customer experiences. But some authentication tools are better suited to that task than others. Exploring best practices for contact center authentication translates to positive gains in other areas. For example passive authentication techniques can optimize the process to reduce average handle times, empower customers, and improve operational efficiencies. You can leverage authentication best practices for quantifiable gains for your contact center. But more importantly, applying caller authentication best practices will improve your customers’ experience, increase your performance in customer experience metrics and give a boost to your brand’s power and the overall loyalty around it. 

“Getting down to business” through the IVR

Some customers, and some situations call for an experience that prioritizes speed and efficiency. In other words, sometimes the best approach is to “get down to business” quickly. For these scenarios, the interactive voice response (IVR) can be a powerful tool to avoid the delays that come with human-to-human interaction, and add convenience by using voice and button prompts to help customers make their selections, and potentially complete their desired action entirely. This is called IVR self-service. When customers self-service in the IVR, they can avoid time waiting on hold, call transfers, and any of the other frustrations that come with them. Since the IVR is always available, customers can also call after-hours or in other parts of the world for help and assistance. 

While the IVR helps to decrease hold times and improve customer experience in some ways, designing the ideal self-service menu also has its challenges. The result of a bad IVR experience may leave customers rapidly pressing the “0” key or screaming “agent” into the phone to give up on their preference for automation. Fortunately, passive authentication can be used to optimize the IVR experience to steer away from the things that frustrate callers. Optimizing the IVR can be the key to delivering on customer expectations and bottom-line contact center savings.

Rapid Decisioning for a better Customer Experience

Certain actions may not be completed within the IVR and require the involvement of an agent. For all of the frustration that customers may experience when being forced into conversations with agents when they don’t prefer them and having to repeat information can lead to negative experiences, too. 

Generating credentials for every inbound call in real-time and creating an authentication score can give the agent the data necessary to make a confident decision about the caller. During the caller’s interaction with the call center, the agent can then confirm the identity of the caller at any point without needing to ask repeat questions. This would not only shorten the handle time and avoid frustration for the agent but also create a consistently pleasant experience for the caller even after being transferred from the IVR to the agent.

Whether it’s through ANI Match and ANI Validation, in the IVR or at the agent, it’s crucial for your business to use the right solutions at your contact center to authenticate legitimate callers quickly and accurately. Doing so you can reduce call handle times, enable personalization, and improve customer experience.

Additional Resources to Help You Reduce Friction in Your Contact Center

Contact Center Authentication: A Mystery Shopper's Journey

Aite conducted extensive Mystery Shopping calls into various contact centers to find out how customer experience is affected by authentication requirements. What did they discover?

Having an enrollment strategy and process that removes barriers for both consumers and contact center employees is imperative especially in challenging times. We will discuss the necessity of focusing on enrollment to achieve optimization of authentication rates.

Learn about one of the most important technology trends in banking and financial institutions today, Artificial Intelligence (AI).