The Door to Personalized (and Secure) CXs


The Door to Personalized (and Secure) CXs

Recent research from McKinsey reveals that 71% of consumers expect brands to personalize interactions, and the majority of consumers get frustrated by non-personalized communications.

What’s driving this? In short, the shift toward digital channels and marketing, eCommerce, and social media is at the heart of personalization.

According to Deloitte, investments in advanced marketing capabilities and related content personalization have significant impacts on the preference for personalization and, as a result, customer loyalty.

The growth of digital channels also means it’s easier for consumers to try new brands and new experiences. One study found that “if brands fail to offer a personalized experience, 44% of consumers say they’re likely to take their business elsewhere.”

Personalization at scale, of course, depends on high-quality data. Even consumers appear to recognize this, given the number of people, according to this report from Formation, who are willing to share their data with brands in exchange for a better customer experience (CX).

At the end of the day, companies are under more pressure to meet consumers’ expectations for personalization, so they’re rolling out a range of technologies and solutions to create those delightful, profitable experiences.

But these experiences must not come at the expense of data protection and security. It’s essential, then, to leverage technology that offers the best of both worlds: securely authenticated consumers and a personal touch for every interaction. It is the door with the virtual locks and peepholes that allows customers in, and which keeps the fraudsters out.

Personalizing and modernizing the CX

Once a customer has been securely authenticated, their personalized customer experience (CX) can begin. Now the agent can immediately access the customer’s information to understand and predict what assistance is required.

It’s about much more than greeting the customer by name. It’s knowing they need to pay their bill, change an upcoming reservation, or check the status of their recent order before they even ask.

This level of personalization requires a complete understanding of every customer’s relationship, interactions, and transactions with your brand, which means data from every channel must be aggregated and accessible at the agent level.

Why Fraud Prevention + Personalization Matters

Not only must brands continuously meet consumers’ needs and expectations, but they must also invest in technologies and platforms that help them fight fraud.

Damage to a brand’s reputation, loss of future sales, and loss of trust are more difficult to quantify yet no less real or important.

Experian estimates that online payment fraud losses will exceed $206 billion from 2021 to 2025. And that’s just one category of fraud among many. Damage to a brand’s reputation, loss of future sales, and loss of trust are more difficult to quantify yet no less real or important.

But fighting fraud is inherently difficult. And for a variety of reasons.

For one, fraudsters are adept at impersonation, social engineering, and account takeovers. The more we learn about prevention and deterrence, the more they adapt and evolve.

Secondly, fraudsters can buy, steal, or intercept everything they need to get around traditional knowledge-based authentication processes (e.g., usernames and passwords, date of birth, mother’s maiden name). Which makes these so-called security features much less secure.

Finally, contact centers are well-recognized “as the delivery channel that is most easily compromised by fraudsters, often leading to account takeovers.”

Delivering even the most basic personalization means brands must know their customers. So, how do brands create these experiences without sacrificing security?

Using AI and Biometrics to KYC

Knowing your customer or KYC is about so much more than just knowing their name. It’s about understanding the customer’s history and anticipating their needs.

But it all must start with authentication. Customers expect this process to be fast and easy so they can quickly get the answers or service they need.

Yet verifying customers with passwords, secret account code words, and other personal information can be cumbersome and easy to exploit. Even device-centric authentication is unreliable since it can be spoofed.

Consider the 40% of customers who forget their account access codes. When they reach out to the contact center, the agent must essentially interrogate the customer to authenticate their identity. And while this process is critical, it could be easier.

Biometric authentication, when layered with other authentication factors, seamlessly and securely verifies customers’ identities during natural interactions, whether that’s through how the customers sound, what they say, or how they behave.

This process happens automatically and with minimal effort for customers and contact center agents alike, even in the backgrounds of the calls.

Advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) mean that the solution can authenticate legitimate, trusted customers in seconds while detecting potential fraudsters by checking callers’ voices against watchlists and providing immediate alerts.

Authentication and Fraud Prevention Factors

The biometric approach to fraud prevention is built around three core factors:

  • Voice biometrics, which are the unique qualities and attributes of a person’s voice for fast, secure authentication and real-time fraudster detection.
  • Behavioral biometrics, which are the ways people interact with their devices for passive and continuous fraud detection.
  • Conversational biometrics, which melds the caller’s voice characteristics with other conversational factors to detect social engineering and deepfake money mules.

Fraudsters cannot spoof or steal these factors since they are unique to each customer, similar to a fingerprint.

More advanced biometric solutions can even detect recordings and synthetic voices, so it’s significantly harder to fool the system and gain control of a customer’s account.

These factors can be combined with environment detection, anti-spoofing technology, and other classifiers to authenticate customers, mitigate fraud losses, and protect the reputation of the brand.

False positives can be just as frustrating for both consumers (think of declined transactions) and for contact center teams, who find themselves investigating legitimate transactions instead of focusing on customer service.

Thanks to their high level of accuracy, AI-powered biometrics can securely and seamlessly authenticate customers without overwhelming fraud teams with false alarms.

Protecting Customers and Brands

A digital identity study recently found that 56 million Americans had a new bank or credit account opened in their name in the preceding 12 months without their authorization.

It’s a problem that has contributed to a massive loss of trust in brands and their identity authentication processes. As this same study showed, that loss of trust has meant more consumers opting out of creating accounts, sharing their information, subscribing to emails, and purchasing additional products.

When consumers choose not to share information with brands, it hampers the company’s ability to offer the personalized services, products, and experiences that are in high demand — and it impedes their ability to prevent fraud and protect the customers’ information.

But when brands replace slow, vulnerable authentication factors with AI-powered biometric authentication, they can reduce friction through the process for both customers and agents. New research indicates that biometrics are gaining trust among consumers, with a majority of users saying they’re now comfortable with biometric authentication.

Fraudsters, however, don’t stop at the authentication process. Biometrics also play an important role in continuously analyzing each customer interaction as it happens to detect fraudulent activity such as hand-offs and employee fraud.

And because biometric authentication means agents don’t need to see sensitive information to validate customers’ identities, this information cannot be passed along to fraudsters.

Protecting customers and their accounts is not only good for consumers but also for the brands. Likewise, disrupting criminals has broader implications for our global communities.

Getting Started

At the end of the day, creating personalized CXs demands a simultaneous focus on account security.

When customers feel known through personalized experiences, they can gain trust in the brands. But the rate and prevalence of fraud can chip away at that trust.

Securely authenticating customers by using voice, behavioral, and conversational biometrics is a solid first step at shoring up security as well as consumers’ trust in the brands, while enabling the necessary pathways for delightful customer experiences.

Creating these personalized yet secure customer engagements can seem daunting. For that reason, it often starts with understanding the balance between the need for frictionless service and fraud detection and prevention. When contact centers are ready to adopt biometrics as part of their layered approach to fraud prevention, they must do so with an eye on achieving overall success metrics – from improving revenue and reducing long-term costs to creating ideal customer and agent experiences.

The good news is that AI-powered biometrics solutions are available as cloud-native services, allowing contact centers to accelerate innovative, convenient, and secure customer experiences.

Simon Marchand

Simon Marchand is the Chief Fraud Prevention Officer of Security and Biometrics at Nuance Communications Inc. He has extensive expertise in fraud prevention, detection, security and authentication in both the banking and telecom industries. Prior to Nuance, Marchand held key fraud prevention positions at Laurentian Bank, Bell and Québec’s Order of Chartered Administrators. Marchand works closely with Nuance clients to design biometric-based authentication and fraud prevention strategies that disrupt criminals while reducing effort and friction for legitimate customers.