Until recently, customer identity management was associated with security, but today, it has become a key element in CX strategies to enhance customer experience and contact center productivity. Consider this: What happens when a customer dials your support desk, and the agent doesn’t immediately recognize the value of the caller in relation to his relationship with your organization? What if the agent does not know who is calling and why?

Customer identity management gives you a clear picture of who the caller is. It enables you to measure, analyze, and optimize the customer journey, turning every interaction into a more memorable experience through targeted and personalized conversations.

Let’s take banking and financial institutions, for example. Open banking today is evolving rapidly, with more than 61% of people using the internet and mobile apps on their smartphones to access banking services. In this digitally-enabled economy, before providing access to digital products and online resources, validating the identity of the account owners (from their device from anywhere) at any time is critical.

An efficient identity authentication method gives customers the convenience of advanced technology to safely and seamlessly use online banking services, minimizing the exposure to online fraud, and ensuring regulatory compliance. This is a big challenge for any institution in today’s competitive market.

Slow and cumbersome identity checks lead to more frequent and longer calls, higher cost (an average cost of $1/minute), and low customer satisfaction. According to a recent FICO survey, 97 percent of customers understand the need for security requirements, and 48 percent of the respondents expect the ability to prove their identity online as quickly as possible.

What are the key benefits of identity management?

Proper identity management brings about the right balance between customer experience, security, fraud prevention, and regulatory compliance. 

Benefits include:

Unparalleled CX – Identity management lets the right customers in. It helps agents identify who’s calling, why their calling, and how to best meet their needs. This upfront knowledge helps to improve the customer experience exponentially. 

Real-time fraud prevention – Fraudsters are identified blocked in real-time.

Operational efficiency – Cuts authentication costs, improves agent productivity, reduces agent talk time, and agent wait time.

Privacy and security – Improves data governance in the age of GDPR and other data privacy and security regulations.

Types of identity verification

Traditionally, the identity verification process matches the user input with the existing customer records such as name, date of birth, address, and social security numbers to confirm the caller identity. This method is no longer viable. This process is too time-consuming, and it leaves the door open to fraud. According to studies, up to 60% of fraudsters succeed in providing the correct verification information in order to gain access.

Some of today’s most common identity verification methods include:

Knowledge-based Authentication (KBA) – This approach uses security questions to authenticate a user. KBA comes with a few drawbacks. Since questions are generated from a broad range of public records, some people find it hard to remember the answers. The data breach of credit bureau Equifax in 2017, which exposed the personal information of 150 million users, highlights this weakness in knowledge-based authentication.

Biometric Authentication – This method relies on the unique biological characteristics of an individual to verify that he/she is who is says he/she says they are. It uses human characteristics, such as a fingerprint, retina, face or voice, and compares biometric data stored in a database.

Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) – This method combines two different layers of security. First, a user enters their username and password. Instead of immediately gaining access, the user must also then provide another piece of information, such as a one-time password that is received through SMS or email.

How does Acqueon handle Identity Management?

Instead of leveraging post-call authentication methods for the sake of saving time and money, Acqueon’s AI-based conversational engagement product suite comes with a pre-answer caller authentication, which instantly and automatically verifies the customers before an agent answers the call. In other words, Acqueon’s automatic authentication process identifies customers before they are allowed into your telephone system.

How does it work? Before initiating an outbound call (in the event of fraudulent activity, for instance), the platform sends a touch-enabled notification directly to the customer’s mobile device. This pre-call notification automatically launches the mobile app on the user’s phone, where he/she customer is presented with the phone’s built-in authentication features (such as Face ID and biometric authentication) to prove identity.

This eliminates the knowledge-based access (KBA), re-authentication for transferred callers, and fraudsters, making it cost-effective and straightforward to verify a customer’s identity before the call is sent to an agent. Similarly, for inbound calls, the caller can open the enterprise app and authenticate the identity. The platform also provides intelligent risk assessment and agent-to-agent transfer of trust that bypasses the need to answer the security questions repeatedly. This branded, pre-call notification capability complies with GDPR, PCI, etc.

In the event of fraudulent activity, the system works as follows: The bank sends a fraud alert to the customer’s phone via the bank’s app. When the customer taps on the notification, the app initiates the built-in authentication features, and once authentication is verified, the system connects the call to the agent. The consumer can schedule the call for a later time if desired. When the call takes place, a secure data channel is established, and no authentication is required. If the customer does not respond to the notification, the agent can still call the customer and perform live authentication during the call. If the customer calls in, the agent can ask to authenticate via the enterprise app.

It benefits both financial institutions and customers in several ways:

No interruptions: Since a caller is validated before an agent picks up the phone, the agent doesn’t need to spend valuable time verifying the caller. The agent can immediately address the customer’s problems without interruption. It saves time for the agent and makes the call more personal and engaging for the customer.

Scalable: Pre-call authentication enables agents to decrease average handle time (AHT) and increase call volume, allowing contact center operations to scale. It requires no onboarding, no new authentication steps, and KBA.

Safe and secure: This method increases the use of a bank’s existing, trusted enterprise apps and increases the ability to detect fraud from unverified callers.

To learn more about Acqueon’s pre-call authentication, contact us for a demo.