Swisscom to discontinue Voiceprint
Swisscom has decided to stop using voice recognition on the hotline. All previously recorded voiceprints have been deleted. Voice recognition was used by the hotline for sensitive matters requiring additional identification. We have seen that this affects only a very small proportion of calls. A growing number of customers are opting to resolve their issues online.
A voiceprint is a file that captures voice characteristics such as frequency, volume, speech rate etc., but does not record any call content. A voiceprint can authenticate the identity of a person with a success rate of more than 99 percent. The person is identified without the need for data that could be used for fraudulent purposes. Voiceprint can also be used to combat social engineering attacks in which fraudsters assume the role of a customer in an attempt to access sensitive data.
For additional identification purposes in the case of enquiries relating to sensitive information, such as PUK, password, contractual modifications and billing information, a time-consuming authentication was carried out with a choice of more than 30 questions such as “State your date of birth, your customer number or the amount of your last Swisscom bill etc.”
The voice recognition tool has not been used since late March due to technical issues. The decision was taken not to fix the fault as we will be introducing new technologies towards the end of the year and the potential uses for Voiceprint are fewer than originally thought.
Our goal is to continually improve customer service through innovation and new technologies. Voiceprint was a new technology introduced by Swisscom to make its hotline experience simpler and more secure.
Since the voiceprint can no longer be used, all data has been deleted.
As soon as the customers who have stored a voiceprint contact the hotline by telephone, they will hear the following electronic voice message (IVR):
"Due to a system modification, your voiceprint, which we created to identify you, can no longer be used and has therefore been deleted.
From now on and for your security, you will be personally identified by one of our employees when required.
Thank you for your understanding.”
When recording a voiceprint, the characteristics of a voice, such as its frequency, volume, speech speed etc., are recorded but not the content of the call.
When recording calls for training purposes, the focus is the content of the call or the interaction between the caller and Swisscom employee. The recorded calls, which are anonymised, are used to train Swisscom employees to handle calls effectively.