Phone banking pain point a thing of the past

Elizabeth Barry 28 March 2017

happy on phone to bank

Citi's voice biometrics verification service has been rolled out to 1 million customers across the Asia Pacific.

Citi has announced a milestone for its voice biometrics verification service, which launched in May 2016 and has hit one million users two months ahead of schedule. These users are spread across the Asia Pacific where the biometrics capabilities have been implemented. 170,000 of those customers are located in Australia and other locations include Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Much of the innovative focus in banking has been on Internet-enabled devices, with banks developing new capabilities for their apps and Internet banking platforms. However, developments in phone banking have fallen by the wayside.

Much of this is due to the fact that phone banking has given way to Internet and mobile banking, but there are times when it's still necessary to speak to a real person, especially if you're a less tech-savvy customer or if you need help with a more complex issue. This makes dealing with pain points, such as the verification of a customer's identity, important.

Tanya Smith, head of customer experience for Citi Australia, has said that customers can have their identity verified as they explain their reason for calling.

"Typically a client will spend on average 45 seconds verifying their identity. With the introduction of voice biometrics, a client can now be identified in 15 seconds, that’s 66% less time spent verifying their details. Voice biometrics authentication capability underscores Citi’s focus on technology to better serve our clients," she said.

The investment in improving customer experience outside of a branch is in line with Citi's strategy. The bank has reduced its branch locations from 13 to 6 nationally and, after fewer than 4% of its clients made cash transactions in the previous 12 months, it removed cash capabilities from its branch network.

While Citi is investing in its phone service, it still has a strong focus on its apps. It launched its digital wallet last year along with its new Citi Mobile App, featuring a touch ID sensor, one-time PIN and Citi Mobile Snapshot.

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