There’s an article in “destination CRM,” Who’s Really Calling Your Contact Center?
…the identity questions are “based on harder-to-steal information” than public records and credit reports. “This is much closer to the chest than a lot of the public data being used in other authentication systems,” she says, adding that some companies using public data include Acxiom, ChoicePoint, and LexisNexis. Higginson gives the example of asking someone the birth date of an individual who used to share an address with him. “There is no public data source to have a question like that answered,” Higginson says, arguing that it would take multiple documents to try and piece together exactly who the other individual is, where she lives now, verify that she did at one time share an address with the caller — and then still have to verify her birth date.
A couple of comments:
- This seems tremendously intrusive. I don’t want some random call center drone to think they know “everything” about me, to quiz me about my life, or to tell me that I’m wrong if I disagree with their database.
- This perpetuates the idea that we are our data shadows. I’m not a line in a database. I am a living, breathing person.
- Errors in databases, such as those created by ID theft become more damaging to both the customer and your relationship with them.
- The data being used is likely something like Choicepoint’s Bridger Insight (PDF). Quoting the press release:
ProID Quiz lets users authenticate customers’ and prospects’ identities with greater certainty. Prior to servicing an account or conducting a transaction, a customer service representative can generate a “quiz” composed of random, multiple-choice questions. The questions are based on “out of wallet” information such as former roommates or one’s previous home builder.
So access to the Choicepoint database becomes even more valuable to thieves.
A company which deploys these sort of things will lose me as a customer. As Debix points out, your real customer knows who they are. Involve them via multi-factor or multi-channel communications.
More generally, this seems like it would be symptomatic of a company that had lost sight of their customers. Who stops and thinks, “what our customers really want is to be interrogated. That will make them feel better?”