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____ Summer Week 11: September 3 - September 8, 2015 ____

Exchange Morning Post "daily "distribution resumes September 8, 2015

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Say "So Long" or "Au Revoir" to Passwords and PINs

Natural Language Understanding and Voice Biometrics in both French and English is a first in Canada

TORONTO/MONTRÉAL - Manulife announced that it has enhanced its contact centre customer experience with the deployment of natural language understanding (NLU) and voice biometric technologies. Manulife is the first company in Canada to introduce voice biometrics as well as natural language understanding in a single interactive voice response (IVR) system offered in both English and French.

First introduced in July 2015 to Manulife Bank customers, the new IVR system provides customers with a secure system that recognizes natural conversation. For customers who choose to enroll in the voice biometrics option, they can now simply say "at Manulife my voice is my password" to access their accounts without the need for additional passwords, PINs and security questions, for subsequent calls. Manulife is also providing this service to its retail advisors who contact us for obtaining product information, placing new business or checking on existing business on behalf of their customers.

Manulife serves 1 in 3 adult Canadians and its customer contact centre receives almost 28, 000 calls a day. With these new combined technologies, Manulife is enhancing customer security while eliminating up to four steps in the authentication process which will streamline the amount of time spent by customers on calls with us in a meaningful way.

"This customer-focused technology provides a more natural, faster, and more enhanced customer experience within our call centres," says Marianne Harrison, President & CEO, 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."

Customer experience and security

To offer this technology to its customers, Manulife partnered with Nuance, a global leader in the development of NLU speech, conversational interfaces, and voice biometrics technology, which are at once convenient and secure. There is a series of security measures built into this technology to protect customers' information and accounts. Manulife's solution analyzes more than 100 unique voice characteristics to create individual voiceprints for customers, each unique, much like a fingerprint. When a customer calls in to access their account, their voice is compared against their voiceprint and, if matched, access is granted.

"When it comes to improving the customer experience, few things gain traction as quickly as services that reduce hassle. Natural user interfaces offer new methods for interacting with software, data and services, and inputs like touch, gesture, and voice can deliver contextualized, individualized, and more secure customer experiences, enabling companies to meet their customers' needs in easy and enjoyable ways," said Allegra Burnette, Principal Analyst, Forrester.

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