What questions should call centers really be asking?

Posted on: October 23rd, 2014 by Art Barger

We’re programmed at a very early age to ask questions. We’re told that by asking the right questions we will ultimately find out the truth. When it comes to call center authentication, however, it’s never that easy. While security questions may be cut and dry, they may not reveal the truth behind the calling party.

For a myriad of reasons, challenge questions — which are the basis for knowledge-based authentication (KBA) methods — are sort of the anti-authentication for contact centers. Why? Because they can negatively impact the overall costs and security of your operations.

Consider a few ways security questions can impact your business reputation and annual profits:

  • Longer phone calls: The biggest way security questions impact your call center operations is by increasing your average call handle (ACH) times. Just a few questions can add precious seconds or even minutes to each call. This can drive up phone costs anywhere from pennies to .50 cents or more per call. Multiply these costs by the number of customer calls you receive each year and you start to get the picture of just how much telephone interrogations can impact your operating expenses.
  • Greater risk: Using KBA to identify inbound calls puts your customer accounts at greater risk because of the mishandling of sensitive customer data. Thanks to the Internet and social media, personal information  is highly accessible by just about anyone. When financial institutions rely too much on sensitive data to verify callers, they set themselves up for potential social engineering schemes that are getting better at defeating traditional KBA methods.
  • Brand damage: When it comes to fraud and data breaches, we all want to steer clear of reputation damaging headlines. When identity-interrogations are beaten by innovative fraud tactics that compromise your accounts or private information, headlines, social media and general word-of-mouth can have a lasting impact on customer retention and recruitment.

For these reasons, call centers should be questioning the use of KBA. They should ask themselves if challenge questions are improving their business operations or putting themselves or their trusted customers at risk. These are the types of questions all call center managers, security experts, and CFOs should ask themselves. If the answers are as clear as we see them, then it’s probably time to re-evaluate the way you identify customers over the telephone channel.

With the TRUSTID® Physical Caller Authentication solution, telephone interrogations are no longer part of the authentication process. That’s because our real-time telephone network forensics automatically validate the authenticity of the call before it is answered. Not only does this help lower average call handle times, saving up to .50 cents on each call, it helps lower the risk of answering fraudulent calls that put everything at risk.

So, instead of throwing a bunch of expensive, non-predictive challenge questions at your customers each time they call (which also interrupts the customer experience), why not let TRUSTID help you better protect your business and improve your call center efficiency by automating the authenticating process? It’s simple questions like these that make us wonder why financial institutions still use KBA at all.

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