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It’s time to stop interrogating customers Part II

My disdain for customer interrogation is articulated here in an earlier post. There’s almost no value to anyone in these interrogations, if there is still a defense, it is that our security is at stake or is it. What you tell your customers is that interrogations is the only way to authenticate a customer who is on the phone. There is a far better way, to accomplish this task without interrogating customers.

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I am a rewards member at a local store, and I can walk in pick up thousands of dollars in merchandise, go through self check out without as much anyone getting in my way. If I get home and have a need to call that same national retailer, I would be thoroughly interrogated like a common criminal. On the surface knowledge based authentication have a way of making us feel safe, the theory is these are questions only the customer would have answers to. After all 20 years ago know one would know the name of my first pet, but I surely don’t need to convince you that a low level criminal with a dial up connection and a bit of patience can figure out my pet’s names.
There are bad guys trying to gain access to customer accounts via the telephone but burning down the house down solve the mice infestation problem has never been a good idea. Knowledge based authentication is a relic, the information we are verifying has now been made available to criminals by consumers themselves on social media, data breaches and hackers. It appears it doesn’t take a criminal mastermind to pick up the phone and either social engineer your employees to gain access or already have answers to the questions. If interrogations aren’t keeping consumers then what exactly is it doing? It is annoying the heck out of customers, all the while the bad guys are gaming the systems. The financial resources spent in the interrogation is in hard dollars, the top line revenue will suffer as well as customers increasingly pick friction-less experiences in deciding who to do business with.
I think we are not that far away from the day where we authenticate via voice Bios, and retinas but between now and then we can utilize ownership factor authentication — in plain speak there is readily available and affordable technology that can verify seamlessly that your customers are who they say they are without interrogation. Smart organizations including banks today are using technology to do ownership authentication of caller IDs to make sure your caller is who they say they are without any interrogations whatsoever. You should look for ways to move beyond knowledge based authentications because
1. It will actually make customers safer, the fraud prevention outcomes of these authentications are better than verifying things like last 4 of SSN
2. It will save you a lot of Money, calculate how much in hard dollars you spend needlessly interrogating customers and you will find a pot of gold big enough to finance your next Cx initiative.
3. It will create a superior customer experience.
I for one am tired of remembering my childhood pet’s name, I called in to change my address not to be bummed out by the memory of losing my childhood pet.