How validating caller identity can be costly and stupid


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You’ve got numerous reasons why you need to authenticate callers. But how you go about doing it could equate to burning the entire field in order to eliminate a few weeds. Are you worried that you’re wasting money and making stupid mistakes that are damaging the customer experience? Ahem, you should be.

I need to confirm it’s you

Most likely in your contact center agents run callers through the routine of asking – Mother’s maiden name, date of birth and last four digits of your Social Security Number to prove who they are before you give them service. This type of caller validation is referred to as Authenticating by Knowledge.

The thought is that by implementing this procedure, you have just protected yourself and your customers. Have you really? And to what expense?

For your customers, Authenticating by Knowledge represents a higher customer effort and possibly time wasted. We know that lower effort and faster resolution are two significant drivers of customer referrals and retention. Adding more effort and time upon your customer, when you don’t have to, could be a really stupid thing to do. You must heavily scrutinize the reasons why you add time to the customer experience.

For many contact centers, even if a customer validates themselves in the IVR, they have to do it again when opting-out or being released to an agent. You know that this is most definitely a bad customer experience. This is not the greeting they want to experience when calling for help.

For your contact center, Authenticating by Knowledge also represents higher operational cost. Every minute your agents spend authenticating callers using knowledge is more than a minute added to your payroll – for every single call. For a contact center with 100 agents, the cost for Authenticating by Knowledge can easily exceed over $10,000 each day. But it’s still worth it, right?

You are burning money

The reality is, your common practice is a bad practice. Most contact centers authenticate by knowledge, it’s the industry’s common practice. But all of your costly identity interrogation, doesn’t even authenticate your customers. The real criminals have no problem getting your customer’s Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and foiling your defenses.

That’s right. Even though you’re adding more effort and adding more costs, you’re still not stopping the criminals. Now that seems really stupid, doesn’t it?

So how do criminals do it?

Criminals can call your contact center from anywhere in the world. With a caller ID spoofing program, they are able to foil your Authenticating by Knowledge security process. What is Caller ID Spoofing?

Caller ID spoofing is technology that allows criminals to fake the information forwarded to your caller ID in order to hide their true origin ID. Caller ID spoofing allows these criminals to display to you a phone number of your customer instead of the actual number from which they’re calling from. With caller ID spoofing, criminals can send and receive outgoing or incoming phone calls or text messages that appear to be from any phone number of their choosing.

When a criminal uses this technology to make it look like he’s calling from your customer’s phone number, you’re customers have no idea that they’re about to become a victim of identity theft.

When the criminal dials into your contact center, your agent sees your customer’s phone number. She assumes that she’s speaking with the correct person and requests the PII on record.

Since the criminal has this information, he answers the identity interrogation questions easily. Once past this defense, he’s free to commit his crime. Ugh, your efforts and expenses didn’t protect anyone. And you created a bad customer experience for your true customers, the non-criminals!

infographic-starting-a-successful-chatbot-programHow else can you authenticate callers?

How else can you authenticate callers, give fast customer service and control costs? You have two additional options available – Voice Biometrics and Ownership. Voice Biometrics over the phone takes 15 to 60 seconds. Hardly an improvement in operating costs and customer experience. And most of your customers can’t be authenticated since their voices aren’t enrolled.

So, what’s left in authentication of callers is, Ownership. This is an item only one person can have at a time. Such as a passport, a key fob, or a phone.

Ownership works on 100% of your calls. No enrollment required. When a customer calls in, you can automatically and invisibly validate their Automatic Number Identification (ANI), or their originating number, allowing the contact center to proceed with confidence that the caller is trustworthy. This occurs before your IVR even answers the incoming call. This is what TRUSTID does for contact centers.

I learned about this when I met with Lance Hood of TRUSTID at Customer Contact Week.


TRUSTID performs a real-time forensic analysis within the telephone network before calls are answered. Their patented approach validates that the calling and called numbers are engaged in a call. It then validates the signal data from the call against expected patterns. Finally, an authentication token from TRUSTID is compared to the corresponding customer account records to complete the caller’s authentication. Source:

A better customer experience

With an authenticated ANI before the call arrives in your contact center, your IVR knows that it’s interacting with a true customer. Since he stayed within your IVR the customer self serves costing your contact center less and they receive a better experience.

Or if your customer wants to speak with an agent, instead of wasting the first 30-60 seconds of the call on identity interrogation, your customers get served faster. And you experience lower average handle times and payroll savings.

For the smaller number of calls where the ANI can’t be validated, these suspicious calls can receive your higher level of scrutiny.

No more burning the field

You’ve got better options than to subject your entire field of customers to burning experiences when your’re just trying to eliminate a few weedy criminals. Are you ready to stop torching your real customers? Then it’s time you contact Lance Hood at Lance [at]

Watch and learn about more contact center solutions now.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jim Rembach
Jim Rembach is recognized as a Top 50 Thought Leader and CX Influencer. He's a certified Emotional Intelligence practitioner and host of the Fast Leader Show podcast and president of Call Center Coach, the world's only virtual blended learning academy for contact center supervisors and emerging supervisors. He’s a founding member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association’s CX Expert Panel, Advisory Board Member for Customer Value Creation International (CVCI), and Advisory Board Member for CX University.


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