Australian Tax Office deploys voice biometrics
Taxpayer experience improved with more than 4.2M voiceprints enrolled and growing.
Better agent and customer experience
To ease agent burden of a time‑consuming authentication process, the Australian Tax Office (ATO) set out to improve the customer experience across its contact centre and mobile channels. Read how the ATO became the first‑ever organisation to offer multi‑channel voice biometrics.
- ~8M community calls received annually, majority require caller ID verification by agent
- ~3.3M calls handled during peak tax period (July‑Oct.)
- Combined 75K agent hours annually verifying customer IDs
- Customers use same voiceprint across contact centre and mobile app
- Nuance Security Suite
- Customer's voice analysed for hundreds of unique characteristics against voiceprint on file
- More than 4.2M customers have enrolled voiceprint since September 2014
- Reduction of up to 48 seconds for repeat caller handle times
- Surveyed callers indicate a faster, easier and more secure authentication process
The Australian Tax Office (ATO) is the Australian Government’s main revenue collection agency. The ATO delivers various social and economic benefit and incentive programs, administers major aspects of Australia’s superannuation system and acts as custodian of the Australian Business Register.
The ATO is committed to delivering a contemporary digital experience for clients and excellent customer service to Australian taxpayers. As a result, the organisation sought to improve the customer experience across its contact centre, online and mobile channels by introducing Nuance’s voice biometrics solutions. The ATO is the first‑ever organisation to offer multi‑channel voice biometrics, providing the ability to authenticate by voice within its call centre and mobile application.
Prior to implementing Nuance’s voice biometric technologies, the ATO received approximately 8 million calls per year from the community, with the majority of these calls requiring an ATO agent to verify the caller’s identity. The existing authentication process required customers to provide personal details or have the correct documentation details in front of them when they called the ATO. This process was time consuming for the ATO’s contact centre agents, taking agents a combined total of 75,000 hours annually. In addition, it meant regular callers needed to be continuously verified.
To solve this, the ATO set out to improve the customer experience across its contact centre and mobile channels through the deployment of voice biometrics, a core technology capability available from Nuance.
Under the ATO’s Managed Network Services, Nuance was engaged to help the organisation overcome the challenges faced with customer engagement and to strengthen the relationship with their customers. By providing a fast and secure method to verify a taxpayer’s identity, the ATO would greatly improve the overall customer experience.
The ATO opted to deploy voice biometric technologies, delivering a faster, more secure method of identity authentication.
The ATO completed its first implementation of Nuance’s VocalPassword™ solution in September 2014, allowing customers to recite the passphrase “In Australia my voice identifies me” to verify their identity. In April 2015, the ATO completed its second phase of deployment, the implementation of Nuance’s FreeSpeech™, a first of its kind deployment in Australia that verifies customers during inbound and outbound calls, without intrusive questioning, providing a seamless experience for customers. With Nuance’s FreeSpeech voice biometric solution, customers are able to enroll when client audio is captured through a natural conversation with an agent. Voice verifications are then completed with captured client audio during a subsequent call. As a result, the ATO can now authenticate repeat callers with minimal dialogue and without intrusive questioning, providing a seamless customer experience. Jointly, the VocalPassword and FreeSpeech voice biometric solutions reduce the time spent on the phone when ATO customers call into the contact centre.
Following the successful introduction of the voice biometrics solutions into the IVR and contact centre, the ATO expanded the voice authentication program by integrating Nuance’s VocalPassword technology into its mobile app, giving ATO customers the ability to use a single credential for authentication across multiple channels. This deployment by the ATO was the first of its kind to offer multi‑channel voice biometrics and further enhanced the experience for ATO customers.
reduction in average handle time (AHT) for repeat callers
of respondents now prefer to be identified through their voice
successful verifications since September 2014
customer voiceprints enrolled across the contact centre and mobile applications
The business benefits
Since the implementation of the Nuance voice biometrics solution (September 2014) across the contact centre and mobile applications, over 4.2 million ATO customers have enrolled their voiceprints. The use of voice biometrics means taxpayers no longer have to answer extensive security questions or enter complex username and password combinations on their mobile app to prove their identity when engaging with the ATO.
Customer feedback also indicates the contact centre experience has significantly improved. Recent surveys reveal almost three‑quarters (73%) of clients enrolled for voice biometrics have experienced one or more benefits, including faster, easier and more secure authentication. In particular, average handle time (AHT) for repeat callers is now reduced by up to 48 seconds. Additionally, 60% of respondents now prefer to be identified through their voice than any other method, compared to 32% who didn’t have a preference and only 9% who wanted security questions to be the only authentication method.