How Contact Centers Can Verify a Caller’s Identity With Machine Learning and Amazon Connect Voice ID

BY:

Jul 21, 2021

Provide a seamless customer service experience, gain efficiency, and reduce losses from fraud with Amazon Connect Voice ID

Key Takeaways:

  • Call centers are the latest targets for fraud, increasing 113% between 2016 and 2017
  • Amazon Connect Voice ID provides real-time identity authentication using machine learning
  • Voice ID only needs a small sample of speech and no repeated or specific words
  • Using machine learning, Voice ID authenticates using rhythm, pitch, intonation, and volume of the caller
  • Voice ID provides efficiency for the call center, prevents loss, and provides a seamless customer experience

Preventing and fighting fraud requires constant vigilance. Even with security protocols in place, criminals are always looking for a way around these measures. The latest target for fraudsters is the call center. 

Call center fraud grew from 1 in every 2000 calls in 2016 to 1 in every 937 calls in 2017, a 113% increase, and monetary losses almost doubled between 2015 and 2017. Contact centers now have a new weapon against fraud with Amazon Connect Voice ID, which gives callers the option to authenticate themselves by voice. Voice ID then uses machine learning to verify their identity.

Amazon Connect Voice ID provides real-time authentication, which means calls are more efficient and callers don’t have to answer a series of questions to prove they are who they say they are. Customer service is seamless, and the entire process is more secure and efficient. Voice ID also can be used in the IVR as an additional security layer, verifying customers with no human intervention, which means your business can provide self-service options for a wide range of concerns. 

Although Amazon Connect Voice ID is not yet generally available, it is available in preview (requestable from the service page). Here’s how it works, whether you access the preview or wait for it to roll out for everyone.

Two steps to authentication

Authenticating callers using Voice ID requires customer enrollment and customer verification. 

Enrollment

A customer who calls for the first time has their identity confirmed via the existing security process, which usually involves a series of questions and/or a one-time passcode sent by SMS.

The agent will then move the caller through the process, complying with data protection laws and obtaining customer consent where required. Then, with customer permission, they initiate the Voice ID enrollment request.

Voice ID listens in on the call until it captures 30 seconds of the customer’s speech and uses that to create the enrollment voiceprint. Through machine learning, this voiceprint mathematically represents the unique rhythm, pitch, intonation, and volume of the caller, without the need to say specific phrases or repeat themselves. 

Verification

Only 10 seconds of a caller’s voice is required to authenticate them. This speeds up customer interaction, whether it’s with an agent or the IVR, because it all happens behind the scenes during the usual customer interaction — asking for a caller’s full name or what they are calling about is usually enough of a voiceprint for ID verification. 

Amazon Connect Voice ID then grabs and compares this audio with the caller’s enrollment voiceprint, generating an authentication confidence score ranging from 0 to 100, with a default threshold of 90. Agents then get a real-time message that either enables them to finish helping the customer or requires them to take additional security measures. 

How to get started with Amazon Connect Voice ID

The first step to getting started with Voice ID is to have a user with permissions to edit contact flows log into your Amazon Connect Instance. Then, follow these steps:

  • 1. Choose Routing> Contact flows, then either open the contact flow where you want Voice ID enabled or choose Create contact flow
  • 2. At the beginning of your contact flow, add the Set Security Behavior block
  • 3. Set Voice authentication to On, and Amazon Connect will start streaming the customer’s portion of the audio call to Voice ID. 
  • 4. Set your Authentication threshold, usually set at 90, to a number that fits your security and business needs. 
  • 5. Now, provide the information Voice ID needs to determine the identity of the caller to be enrolled or verified. You can do this by pulling their unique customer ID from your CRM, base it on their phone number, or a security question response. You’ll then use the Set contact attribute block and assign a value to the attribute you use to assign the customer ID. 

Confirming customers in your IVR using Voice ID

The Check security status block can be used to check Voice ID responses once it’s been enabled. An enrolled caller receives an authentication score, and the Check security status block will return a result of either authenticated or, if Voice ID doesn’t have enough speech to verify, inconclusive. The full range of status messages also includes “not enrolled” and “opted-out.”

This allows you to set up intelligent routing based on the results, sending a call directly to a customer service agent to enroll for authentication if they are not enrolled. A drag-and-drop interface means it’s easy to create a secure self-service customer IVR.

Create a custom authentication experience for your agents

The Amazon Connect Streams API means you can create a custom agent experience by integrating Voice ID with your existing Amazon Connect applications. You can either embed Amazon Connect Contact Control Panel UI components into your page or directly manage agent and contact states to control them via an object-oriented and event-driven interface.

 Available actions using Streams APIs include:

  • Customer enrollment and opt-outs with the click of a button through an interface created in the enrollSpeakerinVoiceID API.
  • Caller re-authentication during a call using the evaluateSpeakerWithVoiceID API using the parameter ‘startNew = true’. This is useful if the agent thinks someone else has taken over the call or if a different person’s identity must be validated.

This sort of situation is usually caused by a customer using someone else’s phone whose number is associated with a different customer ID. In such cases, the agent can use the updateVoiceIDSpeakerid (speakerid) API and send the new customer ID. This will create a fresh verification. 

Agents have the option to enroll, opt-out, evaluate the results of an existing call, or start a new session with a new speaker ID.

With Amazon Connect Voice ID, contact centers are more secure, customers receive a seamless experience, and agent productivity improves with real-time caller authentication using machine learning and voice biometrics identification. 

Learn more about integrating Amazon Connect Voice ID for Amazon Connect, reach out. From cloud consulting to managed services and beyond, the CloudHesive team can help you build a robust cloud strategy that increases operational efficiencies.

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