Voice Biometrics 101
April 22, 2021 • 4 minute read

Voice Biometrics 101

In a world where security and privacy is becoming increasingly necessary, companies are looking for new ways to protect their customers. The problem? Multiple passwords, two-factor authentication, confusing security questions, and making customers jump through hoops just to get access to their account is taking a toll on customer experience. 

So where’s the balance?

The good news is that technological advancements are creating new opportunities for authentication and identification processes that do not have a negative impact on customer experience. Voice biometrics is at the forefront of this innovation.

What is Voice bio?

Voice biometrics is a technology that can identify a person based on the unique vocal attributes. Think of it like a fingerprint, but for voices. At first, it may seem difficult to conceptualize that every single person has a unique voiceprint, but it’s true! Even if two voices sound the same to the human ear, voiceprints actually contain more than 100 behavioral and physical characteristics that can differentiate one from the next. 

Some basic examples of voice biometrics behavioral characteristics include pronunciation, emphasis, speed of speech, and accents. And examples of physical characteristics can include the structure of the vocal tract, mouth and nasal passages.

How does voice biometrics work in customer experience?

These physical and behavioral characteristics can be recorded and mapped to a voiceprint. For example, if you were to call a bank to set up a new account, they could record (with consent) your voicepoint. Then, when you return to access your account, the matching of your voice to the voiceprint enables a secure authentication of your account.

Before we get into the benefits of voice biometrics, it’s important to understand the definition of a few key terms. 

Authentication versus Identification

Identification refers to ability to determine the identity of the person that is speaking. In practice, it is when a person calls a contact center and voice biometrics technology is able to pinpoint  the speaker based on their unique voice print. Think of this similar to the way that a contact center can use a phone number to determine the identity of the caller. However with voiceprints, the identification is not limited to a single device. 

Authentication refers to the ability to confirm the identity of a person. In the case of authentication, it is likely that the system has already identified the person calling, but uses their voice print (or other measure) to verify the claim. 

Passive versus Active

Passive identification or authentication refers to when the voice biometrics solution gathers the voiceprint during the identification or authentication process without explicitly asking. 

Active identification or authentication refers to when the solution asks the user to explicitly say a specific phrase to match to the voiceprint. While this way gives an extra step to the user, it can be useful to make users feel more secure in the process.

Benefits of Voice Biometrics

The science of voice biometrics is not new. However, it’s now being used more widely in the customer care space to authenticate callers. Why? Voice bio offers significant advantages over legacy authentication methods, such as knowledge-based security questions (which people often forget) and PINs and passwords (which can be easily guessed, stolen, or extracted by social engineering).

With voice biometrics, even industries that require the utmost security can confidently authenticate callers– even more so than with passwords, PINs, and security questions. This is because a voice print cannot be stolen, replicated, or forged.

 

 

Overall, voice bio offers users a secure, private, and convenient way to authenticate themselves either by itself or in conjunction with other forms of authentication. 

 

Want to learn more? Let’s talk.