New Research: Solving the Authentication Puzzle

More important than ever for providers to get the balance right between secure authentication and customer experience, CCMA research shows

Thursday 31 March 2022, London. Research released today by the CCMA (Call Centre Management Association) highlights the difficult balance that all organisations face in protecting themselves and their customers from fraud while also delivering a satisfactory experience for customers and colleagues.

The research provides examples of how contact centre leaders are addressing this balance, against the backdrop of rapidly increasing fraud attempts and customers’ expectations for a frictionless sign-in experience.

The research, Solving the authentication puzzle, is the latest research produced by the UK’s leading association representing the UK call and contact centre industry. Supported by information-security specialist Pindrop, the aim of the research was to understand the needs across the spectrum, from customers to colleagues on the front line to contact centre leaders and the organisations they represent. The research brings together a comprehensive consumer survey with in-depth discussions with industry leaders, to gather views from all sides.

“Organisations large and small must walk a delicate tightrope between building effective defences against the growing tide of fraud, versus delivering a sign-in experience that is easy and painless for customers and the advisors who serve them,” explains Leigh Hopwood, CEO at the CCMA. “Within organisations it is not uncommon for the contact centre leader to find themselves championing the customer and colleague experience in the face of pressure from other teams, for example to introduce more complex authentication for compliance purposes. Finding a path that satisfies all requires empathy and delicate stakeholder management.”

The research revealed five discoveries for solving the authentication puzzle:

  1. The authentication need may be quite different by channel, journey or customer mission, but sometimes a universal solution can be the most efficient
  2. Systems and channel proliferation can create an inconsistent and disjointed authentication experience
  3. ‘Reason codes’ related to authentication help track the impact of changes
  4. Compliance teams should be the contact centre’s friend, not adversary
  5. Authentication experiences affect colleagues as well as customers, and both groups’ input can be extremely valuable to the development process

Amit Gupta, VP of Product at Pindrop commented: “Contact centres must strike the right balance between secure authentication and customer experience. They need a new way to authenticate quickly and seamlessly, so that the advisor can focus on providing top customer service rather than interrogating the caller like a potential fraudster.

“Recognising the need for adopting new authentication processes using passive technology powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) will be a vital next step for organisations looking to provide the best personalised experience for their customers whilst protecting their security and privacy.”

Key findings from the consumer survey

  • One in three people (34%) have experienced an unauthorised attempt to access their accounts
  • One in twelve people (9%) have suffered losses due to unauthorised account access
  • Over half (58%) of consumers have been locked out of an account in the past year.
  • Three out of every 10 people (30%) have used an assisted channel (live chat or phone) to restore account access within the past month.
  • 22% of people use the same three or fewer passwords for all of their accounts.
  • One in three people (32%) aged 18-34 use the same three or fewer passwords for all of their accounts.
  • 27% of customers have stopped doing business with a provider due to authentication issues.

Survey methodology

The CCMA conducted an online survey of 1,016 people in the UK from 10-17 February 2022. Sampling quotas were set by age, gender and region to ensure accurate representation of the UK population aged 18+.

Download the report

The research is a free download from the CCMA website: