Open Letter to Contact Centers: Why we, the customers, need you to step up your game

Subject: Open Letter to Contact Centers: Why we, the customers, need you to step up your game
From: Jade Kahn
Date: 5 Mar 2015

Dear Contact Center,

We know the drill. We call our (somewhat) favorite service provider to make a change in the account details, service package, or just get a simple answer to that strange billing record. And then, the interrogation ensues - “what are the last 6 digits of your credit card… And your mother’s maiden name…And the street you grew up on? Of course, it is only for authentication purposes...”

The thing is that with your complex authentication processes, we customers are left having way too much to remember. We are fed up with the over-reliance on usernames, passwords and “challenge questions.” (What was first your dog’s name?Seriously!) We end up experiencing rejection - and this is MY account we are talking about. The frustration continues to mount as we are repeatedly put through this trying process. Interactive voice responses are equally irritating because they’re impersonal and very slow.

True, in the past we accepted it. But today your challenge is much tougher. We are used to our amazingly responsive smartphones, fast mobile networks, and great customer experience. When we call your call center and face a tedious authentication process, it fails to match the experience we are used to - and believe me, it makes it way more annoying - and we give up. Another nail in the loyalty coffin you hold so dearly, more wasted agent time, and another unhappy customer.

We understand that strangely enough the very same technologies that we use every day make strong authentication a must. We know there are bad guys out there looking to take advantage of all these technologies to defraud us.

However, one thing is clear:

My dear Contact Center - you need to find the way to balance between security and convenience in the authentication process, without neglecting the fact that I care about my experience.

There are many new ways you can help put an end to our woes. Our demands have changed with the times. We want authentication to automatically take place in the background. Voice biometrics, for example, will allow you to securely authenticate us – all in the natural flow of conversation. Convenient security should be your top priority for us.

We hope you see where we’re coming from, and understand our demand for a simple and streamlined authentication process, while still protecting our accounts. It’ll be better for the both of us.


The Customer (in all of us)