Pindrop has released a report that details the dramatic impact that COVID-19 has had on contact centers. The enterprise voice authentication specialist provides security for some of the world’s leading brokerages and financial institutions, who have collectively experienced an astonishing 1,000+ percent increase in call volume since the onset of the pandemic.
Unfortunately, traffic was going up while the enterprise’s ability to handle a sudden influx of calls was going down. Like other large operations, call centers needed to shut down physical locations to adhere to social distancing mandates. They have since transitioned to a remote work environment, but it took time to get employees set up with the secure technology they need to do the job. The disruption led to a 20 percent decrease in call capacity. Call centers have since recovered some of their prior efficiency, but overall capacity is still 12 percent below what it was before COVID-19, and the global nature of the pandemic means that it is impossible to lean on other locations because the same trends are being experienced everywhere.
The diminished capacity has, unsurprisingly, had a negative effect on the customer experience. The median call duration has doubled, jumping from a minute and a half to three minutes, with the longest calls taking nearly an hour to complete.
There has also been a significant uptick in fraud as cybercriminals try to take advantage of the disruption, with some Pindrop clients seeing fraud rates jump as much as 150 percent. The company noted that many fraudsters have come up with new schemes to exploit people’s fears about the coronavirus, posing as healthcare workers or as people trapped in affected areas in order to trick people into giving up their personal information.
In that regard, the Pindrop report aligns with the findings of organizations that have noticed an increase in social engineering attacks. However, Pindrop did note that the attacks appear to be coordinated, with fraudsters targeting one organization before moving on to another.
In April, there was a second wave of traffic from customers trying to check on the status of their relief efforts. Many of those people were first time callers, which means that the authentication process took longer than it would for repeat callers with an established profile.
With that in mind, Pindrop is hoping that call times will decrease in the future, once financial institutions are able to rely on passive, multifactor authentication to process customers more quickly. The company released Deep Voice 3, the latest version of its voice recognition platform, at the end of February.
May 1, 2020 – by Eric Weiss