Why PII-based authentication doesn’t delight customers

Posted on: April 23rd, 2014 by Art Barger

The most important thing about running a call center is providing a level of service that builds trust and goodwill with your customers. Anything short of that can negatively impact the profitable business-customer relationship. The key to creating satisfied, returning customers is quickly addressing their immediate needs, making them feel like they’re your top priority, and resolving their issues faster then they expect.

In business, we often talk a lot about “customer delight”. This term refers to surprising customers beyond their wildest expectations. It is a goal all customer service departments strive for, but seldom achieve.

When it comes to the phone channel, how can you delight customers when the first thing they hear over the phone is a string of intrusive security questions? Essentially, telephone interrogations translate to this: we don’t trust you until you’ve correctly answered a list of questions. Once you do, then we’ll treat you like a valued customer. This, unbelievably, still happens to loyal customers who have banked with the same financial institution for decades. Talk about customer delight.

When contact centers rely on non-predictive challenge questions to authenticate customers and deliver a seamless experience, they’re actually putting their customers and private information at risk. Here’s why.

Using personally identifiable information (PII) to identify callers doesn’t hold up in today’s remote environments. With PII vulnerable to identity theft over popular social networking websites, putting your trust in an anonymous caller who just happens to correctly answer predictable questions is like leaving your house keys under the doormat. Anyone with the knowledge of where the keys are place can sneak in at any time.

As for legitimate customers, having to endure in a lengthy telephone interrogation every time they call their bank can be a real test of their trust and patience.

So what are the alternatives to knowledge-based authentication (KBA) solutions? The only tool that doesn’t rely on PII and authenticates callers before the contact center agent answers the phone is the TRUSTID® Physical Caller Authentication solution.

By instantly verifying the authenticity of each call pre-answer, banking customers aren’t burdened by frustrating interrogations. Plus, the validation process is completely invisible to callers. This means that when the call is high risk, it’s not automatically routed to a bank representative. Having this knowledge before the call takes place removes risky calls from the phone systems, eliminating criminal impostors from getting the opportunity to socially engineer your call center agents.

If the call checks outs to be from a legitimate customer, it’s automatically routed to a bank rep, who doesn’t have to drill the caller with a bunch of security questions. As a result of proactively validating all inbound calls behind the scenes, TRUSTID’s real-time telephone network forensics technology allows banks to address their customers’ needs faster, and in the process, creates a more secure and satisfying banking experience.