Data Privacy and Security

England wins The Ashes, but what can they learn from Australia beyond the cricket pitch?

This is a contributed piece by Brian Redpath, Public Sector Director at Nuance Communications

England may have trounced Australia in The Ashes, but if we look beyond the cricket pitch, there are other areas where we can learn from the Australians. The Australian Government is transforming the delivery of public services, improving access for citizens, whilst also tackling fraud. 

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) like many public sector organisations is tasked with having to handle large volumes of citizen enquiries of varying complexity as efficiently and securely as possible. Receiving in excess of nine million calls per year, the organisation spent up to 75,000 hours annually just trying to verify customers over the phone. After considering various options to reduce this time spent, it decided to implement voice biometrics technology from Nuance. Essentially, it allows the ATO to relieve customers of prolonged and intrusive questioning to confirm that they are who they claim to be, whilst helping to prevent and detect identity theft in the call centre, which is rising.

The risk of attack

Much like the attacking field strategy in cricket, where fielders move nearer to the wicket to improve their chances catching a batsman, fraudsters are rapidly closing in on organisations’ call centres to strike. IDC recently said that institutions are increasingly experiencing fraud in the contact centre from the perspective of social engineering. This is where fraudsters call the contact centre to get information and access accounts and then may go through another channel, like online, to actually commit the fraud. This threat is intensifying as intelligent fraudsters plot their next move. Just recently, 100,000 US taxpayers' information was lost when it was illegally accessed by cyber criminals. And, similar instances are happening worldwide.

As security tightens, frustrations grow

Like a cricket team under pressure, organisations are changing tactics by strengthening security measures within the call centre. However, this has significantly impacted the customer experience. We have all been there. Having to answer, and often failing to answer, endless security questions such as your Mother’s maiden name or where you were born, along with remembering passwords and passcodes is frustrating to say the least! Recent research found that a quarter of Brits forget at least one of their login details a day and a third of people get angry after struggling to remember login details. What’s needed is a way to ensure customer interactions and information are safe, but in a way that doesn’t compromise the experience and keep people waiting.

Providing corker service

Having the ability to deliver a corker customer service is the name of the game. If we look at the ATO, voice biometrics is being used to authenticate customers that call into the call centre far quicker than before. A customer’s identity can be verified during the course of natural conversation and can be confirmed in seconds, rather than having to answer barrages of security questions and give out various passwords. So, contact centre agents can get to the root of the query, fast, solve it and move onto the next one. This not only provides a better experience thus enhancing customer satisfaction, but also improves efficiency and productivity of the organisation as a whole.

When we look at the challenges that UK public sector organisations face, namely, having to do more with reduced budgets, they need to think of ways to streamline processes without undermining security or positive customer experiences. Having the right technology to underpin service delivery will help achieve this. Unlike The Ashes cricket score outcome, it’s a win-win all around.


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