Nuance provides voice biometric technologies for Manulife contact centers

September 2, 2015 - 

In a press conference held in Toronto Tuesday morning, insurance firm Manulife announced that it has deployed Nuance’s natural language understanding (NLU) and voice biometric technologies to improve the insurer’s contact center customer experience.

At the event, Manulife Canada president and CEO Marianne Harrison and Manulife VP CEO communications and media relations Graeme Harris, were joined by Robert Weideman, executive vice president and general manager of Nuance’s enterprise division and Forrester Research principal analyst Allegra Burnette.

Robert Weideman, Nuance Communication

Robert Weideman, Nuance Communication

Manulife’s deployment of the Nuance solution marks the first time a company in Canada is introducing voice biometrics as well as natural language understanding in a single interactive voice response (IVR) system.

Nuance’s IVR system, offered in both English and French, was first introduced to Manulife Bank customers back in July.

The solution analyzes more than 100 unique voice characteristics to generate individual and complete unique voiceprints for customers.

For those customers who choose to enroll in the voice biometrics option for Manulife’s call centres, the secure system enables them to simply say “at Manulife my voice is my password” to access their accounts.

Their voice is compared against their voiceprint and, if matched, the system grants them access into the account.

As a result, Manulife customers will no longer need to use any additional passwords, PINs and security questions for subsequent customer service calls.

“We’re really excited about having a partnership with Manulife, and in Canada, bringing this technology for the first time to this market, particularly since we support over 62 languages,” said Weideman. “It’s really exciting to see systems that support multiple languages at the same time.

“We’re also excited, not only in the opportunity to develop the system through this partnership with Manulife, but the results that we’re seeing with this system, we’re quite pleased. This is also something that I think is going to be very important for Manulife in terms of developing and enhancing the brand.”

Manulife, which receives nearly 28,000 calls a day, is also offering this service to its retail advisors contacting the insurance firm to find out product information, to place new business or to check existing business on behalf of their customers.

Nuance’s combined technologies enable Manulife to improve customer security while eliminating up to four steps in the authentication process which will cut down the amount of time spent by customers on calls with the insurer.

“This customer‐focused technology provides a more natural, faster, and more enhanced customer experience within our call centres,” says Marianne Harrison, president and CEO at Manulife Canada. “No more PINs or passwords to remember – customers just use their voice as their password. The introduction of these enhancements is another example of Manulife’s commitment to providing customers with innovative, forward‐thinking solutions for a superior customer experience.”

Manulife has posted a video demonstrating how Nuance’s voice biometrics and NLU solution works.

Previously reported, Nuance Communications announced that the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has deployed voice biometrics solutions in ATO’s call center in an effort to build stronger customer relationships with taxpayers and improve authentication by replacing its previous security questioning system.

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About Justin Lee

Justin Lee has been a contributor with Biometric Update since 2014. Previously, he was a staff writer for web hosting magazine and website, theWHIR. For more than a decade, Justin has written for various publications on issues relating to technology, arts and culture, and entertainment. Follow him on Twitter @BiometricJustin.