Labor costs vs. fraud losses: What has a bigger impact on your call center?

Posted on: December 04th, 2014 by Art Barger

For most contact centers, labor expenses are your highest costs. They have a bigger impact on your business than fraud, itself. The time it takes to identify each caller typically costs your operations more money than the number of fraud attempts your team fights throughout the year.

So, when it comes to making your call center more secure and cost-effective, what should banks and businesses focus on? This is a challenge that organizations struggle with everyday.

The reality is, decision makers have been under enormous pressure for years to do more with less. They’re challenged with reducing head count and automating functions wherever they can. While completely eliminating people from the call center is not a realistic answer, automating certain processes and better managing your call center representatives’ time can be the best way to create a highly secure environment and provide a best-in-class experience for your customers.

Let’s examine how both impact your contact center operations, and what improvements can save on your overall costs without sacrificing the customer experience.

Labor costs: The single most expensive piece of any call center operations is the hourly cost of your workforce. To provide a exceptional experience for your customers, you need friendly, highly trained agents to assist callers through their issues or transactions in a timely fashion. All contact center managers know this, which is why agents aren’t going away.

The key is to manage their time in the most efficient way possible. Having them manually handle processes that can otherwise be automated only increases labor costs to your operations. For example, having your agents to spend additional seconds or minutes interrogating every caller is both expensive and harmful to the bank-customer relationship. Automating the authentication process and having your telephone representatives focus solely on helping your customers, reduces costs and creates a better overall customer experience.

Telephone fraud: In the area of telephone fraud, waiting to authenticate customers after the call has been picked up is no longer predictive or efficient for identifying callers over the phone. Today’s criminals have found ways to defeat traditional knowledge-based authentication (KBA) methods. Once they’ve gained access to a customer’s sensitive data, they can even answer security questions better than your customers.

While contact centers can measure the cost of each call as it happens, the real impact is seen over time. On the other hand, tracking the impact of fraud is a little trickier. While actual fraudulent losses and the cost of creating new customer cards following a data breach can be measured, what can’t be fully measured is the long-term impact to your brand reputation. Some of the big questions that are more difficult to answer once your data has been compromised include:

  • What’s the industry perception of your brand?
  • How many current customers will you lose?
  • Will consumers stay clear of doing business with you? If so, for how long?
  • What steps are needed to rebuild your brand integrity and trust?

As you can see, both have a significant impact on your business in different ways. Reducing the time it takes to authenticate callers and prevent fraud requires automatic, proactive customer identification. The good news is this can be achieved through tools like the TRUSTID® Physical Caller Authentication solution.

With TRUSTID, banks authenticate every customer pre-call, which means callers are automatically validated in real-time before the telephone is answered.

The bottom line is, if you’re waiting until a call center agent picks up the phone to authenticate customers, it’s too late. Post-call authentication requires customers to go through time-consuming telephone phone interrogations. This add time and costs to each call, not to mention damages the trust between you and your customers. Additionally, when you rely solely on KBA to determine which calls can and cannot be trusted is as predictive as trusting the name on the Caller ID. And in today’s call center environment, nothing is more costly or threatening to a business than talking to someone on the other line who has not been validated.