Does agent fatigue make call centers vulnerable?

Posted on: June 22nd, 2017 by Art Barger

Your bank’s call center agents are your frontline security and brand ambassadors. Known for taking upwards of a hundred customer calls per day, a high level of repetitive interactions coupled with a wide range of emotions and unique challenges can come at a price.

When you consider all the details a telephone rep needs to analyze the caller’s problem and come up with an effective solution in a timely manner, you can start to understand the challenges telephone agents face during a single, eight-hour shift.

If that isn’t enough, for many contact centers, all this follows critical customer identification processes that are designed to validate each call. Before agents can begin addressing the caller’s needs, they’re first required to authenticate them by asking a bunch of personal security questions. These knowledge-based authentication (KBA) questions are problematic because legitimate customers often forget answers to their own personal questions. This complicates the process and can lead to a denial of service for legitimate customers.

Combining fatigued agents and outdated authentication methods can make it difficult for agents to identify good customers from the bad ones. After taking dozens of calls per hour, agents are likely to do what they can to help customers who can’t remember an answer to a KBA question. This can lead financial institutions vulnerable to social engineering and other fraud attacks.

There’s no question that mental fatigue can set in after multiple interactions with customers, clouding a phone rep’s security judgement. Trained to assist customers any way they can, rather than denying the caller’s request, agents may give bad actors the benefit of the doubt even after they incorrectly answer a personal question.

While there have been several studies on how agent fatigue can impact cognitive thinking in the fight against phone fraud, the questions themselves can also create a double threat to banks. Today’s call centers need to reconsider how much they rely on challenge questions to validate callers, and if removing telephone interrogations would improve security and their overall customer experience.

Creating a situation that damages the security of your contact center and the level of customer service that your agents provide can have long-term repercussions on your bank’s reputation. Instead of having agents continue to use outdated methods to identify customers over the phone, automating the telephone authentication process can improve the security and efficiency of your call center, as well as strengthen your ongoing bank-customer relationship.

Using the TRUSTID® Physical Caller Authentication solution, the customer verification process is removed from the customer experience. Rather than putting customers through frustrating telephone interrogations, TRUSTID uses advanced telephone network forensics to automatically authenticate customers, and the risk of each inbound call, behind the scenes. By eliminating intrusive, time-consuming security questions from your banking journey, financial institutions can improve the overall customer experience and reduce potential security vulnerabilities created by fatigued contact center agents.