We have a new wave of technology upon us that will make phone calls very powerful for contact centers. This major change is the convergence of the Internet and how technology like WebRTC and Biometrics will shore up some of the pitfalls of telephonic transactions, both from the business side needs and demands, but also delivery of a better experience for the consumer. First, let us take a look at the major “problem” of telephony; knowing who you are talking to is just plain difficult if not impossible. Just like the implosion of password security across the Internet, telephony has also suffered, in terms of ease of use and prevention of fraud, ironically phone calls to call centers suffer from similar methods of prevention techniques that the Internet has imposed upon us. Without Biometrics or some form of multi-factor based authentication system in place, you really never know who you are speaking to. Great example I love to give, is that my girlfriend often makes calls “in my name” to contact centers, because she speaks much better French than me. Hum, that means anyone can impersonate another; with the right information at hand. Kind of like having the password cracker for a web app, no?
So what does a contact center do to make things more safe and reduce fraud? Add layers and layers of questions to the identity session, that really in the end are doing little on the security side, as I point out in my example that with access to the “personal information” one can override all these efforts. But what is more damaging to the brand is the resulting frustration from these mitigation techniques and time “on the call” is ballooning. One major bank in the USA told me recently that shaving 30 seconds from a call can save millions. Hum, and if they are adding “minutes” to the call to ask what cake and ice cream I eat on my birthday, what does that cost? Add to this pain, whenever there is a transaction (purchase or payment) we are often reading off a multitude of digits and codes and billing address information that amplifies all the QoS metrics further.
Is there some silver bullet we can glean from the Internet lessons we have suffered over the past decade? Perhaps not just silver, but I dare say there is some gold to be dug. Many of us have experienced the ability to gain access to our phone or a website or pay for something using Biometrics. But what if that same concept was moved over to telephony? Now when I call into my bank, I can identify myself, or approve a transaction. That same technique not only provides a smooth and nearly “fun” experience to the customer, it also puts a nail into the basis of fraud, and collusion. Our Biometric system for telephony is built into our contact center and can be extended to yours or to nearly any application that leverages telephony. Meaning IVR systems, self care websites and cognitive alert systems banks use to prevent fraud.
Lets now look at the other part of the wave of Internet technology that we need to jump upon to stay afloat and ahead of the sharks, as it pertains to the world of telephony; that being WebRTC. There has been tons of activity in this emergent “gem of goodies”, that is more of an API specification than any sort of application or protocol. For contact center systems, we perhaps stand to gain one of the most significant benefits of the specification collectively because we base our core functions around the telephonic media. Why? simply put WebRTC will allow us and the caller to be anyplace there is an Internet connection and web browser. That means agents can be placed or pooled virtually, but consumers can also use the website to change from clicking to talking in a split second. Mix that with biometric identify capabilities, and you have some tangible change that will benefit all sides of the equation like never before.
WebRTC not only provides “virtualization” capabilities to the contact center agents, but also the ability to provision agents within seconds. No longer will dedicated equipment and software packages be rolled out, but rather permissions and accounts on a Cloud system that scales to the needs of the organization with fluidity. Telephony will remain in our view the core medium of communications for some time to come in the contact center environment. Yes, this will be enhanced, and complimented with chat, file or desktop sharing and video sessions. But the telephonic agent call will not go away soon; with WebRTC and Biometric identity new life has not just been breathed into voice, but these technologies have re-positioned a telephone call into a trusted business tool with confidence and reliability.