News : The ATO is Listening to the Sound of your Voice
Canberra, Australia, July 14, 2015 -- The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is the first organisation in Australia to deploy voice biometrics as a means of authenticating customers by the sound of their voice.
The ATO has now completed the two-phase deployment of Nuance Communications' voice biometrics solutions in its call centre in an effort to build stronger customer relationships with taxpayers and enhance authentication by replacing intrusive security questioning.
The ATO receives approximately nine million calls per year from the community, with around 75% of these calls requiring an ATO agent to verify the caller’s identity and, in addition, it expects to receive more than half (4.3) million of these calls within its four-month peak tax period between July and October.
And, prior to the deployment of voice biometrics, when a customer called to conduct a transaction with the ATO, the authentication process involved several steps, putting pressure not only on customers to provide personal details or have the correct documentation in front of them, but also on the ATO’s call centre agents, who collectively spent approximately 75,000 hours each year just trying to verify customers over the phone.
To solve the problem, the ATO chose to deploy Nuance’s voice biometrics solutions, in partnership with Optus, an existing managed network services provider.
The ATO completed its first installation of Nuance’s VocalPassword solution in September last year, allowing customers to speak a simple passphrase to verify their account.
Then, in April this year the ATO completed the second-phase of deployment with the implementation of Nuance’s FreeSpeech solution, 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.
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Robert Weideman, executive vice president and general manager for the Enterprise Division of Nuance said that, combined, the new VocalPassword and FreeSpeech voice biometrics solutions provide an added layer of security for ATO customers, helping to prevent and detect identity theft.
The ATO says the deployment of Nance has boosted call completion rates.
"No one wants to be on a call to the ATO longer than they need to, but we must ensure that convenience and ease of access are effectively balanced with our mutual need for security" said John Dardo, acting Deputy Commissioner, ATO.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Nuance Communications (NASDAQ: NUAN) is a provider of voice and language solutions for businesses and consumers around the world. Its technologies, applications and services make the user experience more compelling by transforming the way people interact with information and how they create, share and use documents. Every day, millions of users and thousands of businesses experience Nuance’s proven applications.
About Australian Tax Office:
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is an Australian Government statutory agency and the principal revenue collection body for the Australian Government. The ATO has responsibility for administering the Australian federal taxation system and superannuation legislation. Responsibility for the operations of the ATO are within the portfolio of the Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Australia.
Published: Wednesday, July 15, 2015
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