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Customer service trends

Image – dirkcuys (Flickr), CC license

In South Africa, technology implementation is largely reactive – we’re a nation of cautious adopters – yet there are many innovations likely to gain a stronger foothold in 2018 in the financial sector, particularly within the sphere of customer service and the contact centre environment.

Security and fraud prevention

The massive data leaks and hacks in 2017 have set the scene for 2018. It’s therefore imperative that financial institutions drive programmes that will secure data.

For example, a database of more than 30-million South Africans was recently leaked online, including estimated incomes‚ addresses, and cellphone numbers. The personal information that was published also reportedly contains names and surnames, identity numbers, employer details, gender, ethnicity, home ownership as well as other contact information which could be used for crimes like identity theft.

Using a small amount of this data, since identity verification techniques are similar across industries, an attacker could gain access to an individual’s profile by calling a contact centre and posing as that person, and then changing passwords, effectively hijacking a profile and the extra personal data that comes with it.

Voice authentication

Voice authentication is one solution being considered and rolled out in companies to verify identity. Voice authentication closes the security question loophole (and others) down; it works by recording the voice of the customer either in response to prompts or passively while the customer is on a voice call with the contact centre. This recording is converted into a sophisticated digital voiceprint unique to that customer and is used for future identity verification. Additionally, this technology automatically compares all voices on inbound calls with a database of known fraudsters – helping businesses proactively flag identity theft attempts before they occur.

Channel integration

Streamlining channels for improved access to data and the insights that data provides, and empowering agents with updated, real-time information that enables them to better service customer interactions will be critical for businesses in 2018. Moving towards an omnichannel environment means bringing different channels and departments into one place rather than in separate silos, leading to efficient, productive processes and resulting in enhanced customer experience. This is of great relevance to the financial sector, in which multiple, complex processes may take place in the course of one interaction.

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