About 48% of 3,000 U.S. consumers surveyed in an online Harris Poll from voice security company Pindrop said they would be willing to use voice recognition as a method of personal verification, and 81% said they could envision potential benefits of using voice for security, according to a Pindrop press release.
Many survey participants said they often access their accounts with retailers and other types of companies by phone, but are sometimes frustrated by the numerous questions they need to answer to verify their identities, an issue which the survey findings suggest voice recognition might help solve.
However, 94% of those surveyed also expressed concerns about potential drawbacks to using voice for personal verification, including the possibility that it wouldn't always work, or might not work with background noise, as well as concerns about a person's voice being cloned and used for a security breach.
We live in a world in which our fingerprints, eyes, faces and voices can be recognized and authenticated, yet when we seek customer service, we're often left to answer an array of time-consuming questions just to prove we are who we say we are.
Using voice recognition for personal verification could help these customer service calls go much more smoothly, without sacrificing security and privacy, and with retailers focusing more on the importance of positive customer experiences, it makes sense for them to streamline how their customers interact with their customer service lines.
Just a few weeks ago, Pindrop landed a deal with U.K e-commerce site operator Shop Direct, according to Biometric Update. Also, late last year, Pindrop's voice recognition security technology was certified to work with Amazon Connect, the e-commerce giant's cloud-based platform enabling corporate enterprises to quickly set up customer service centers, both of which are good signs for the future of voice recognition in retail.
It's clear from the study, however, that some consumers still have concerns about using the technology. For example, 61% said they were concerned how well it would work with background noise, while 48% were worried about voice cloning being used nefariously, and 39% were generally concerned about security.
However, voice recognition is exactly the kind of biometric security measure that should make it harder for a criminal to use personal details to commit fraud. There are other ways of getting those details and using them to commit fraud on a live call with customer service, but voice-based security, like many biometric measures, should be more difficult to spoof (We've seen similar concerns raised in other studies about biometric tools, but the technology is still pretty new to consumers).
Given that shoppers are increasingly using voice-activated virtual assistants, voice-powered apps and voice-driven search and navigation capabilities in the shopping activities, using voice for security verification seems like a natural evolution. Just ask Alexa.