Glenn Larson is the Vice President of Engineering at Acuant and is a member of Forbes Technology Council, an invitation-only community for world-class CIOs, CTOs and technology executives. Read his first article for the Forbes Tech Council below, or you can read the original here.
Digital Identity Is The Key To CX
It’s no secret that today’s consumer is experience-centric. Not only have organizations realized the tie between customer experience and revenue, but 88% of businesses view customer experience as a competitive differentiator. Data shows that customers are willing to pay more for a better experience, and often experience trumps both price and product.
Companies like Apple, Uber and Venmo have set the bar for what customers now expect from brands. Not only should the service be fast and intuitive, but personalization has become the expectation of mobile-first users. The first customer touch point is incredibly important as well; a clunky or time-consuming onboarding process can result in frustration or — even worse — abandonment.
Then consider the more than 70 million digitally-savvy millennials who have grown up with internet access and who expect near-immediate response times. Having grown up with access to services like Netflix and Amazon Prime, they value speed and efficiency. These individuals use smartphones to conduct their business, whether for shopping, services or banking. Over the past several years, we’ve seen a steady rise in what’s been dubbed the “experience economy” — attributed, almost certainly, to the buying power of millennials.
A Balancing Act: User Experience Versus Risk
The challenge comes in providing a smooth experience that still adequately protects both the user and the company. There is significant risk associated with exposing personally identifiable information (PII) and the answers to knowledge-based authentication (KBA) questions, which can easily be bought and sold on the dark web. In fact, nearly 15 billion identity records circulated in underground communities in 2018.
Establishing identity in a digital world is fraught with challenges and questions around how to collect, process and manage PII data. With hackers looming large, it’s on merchants to find more secure methods of establishing identity. For businesses, providing the customer experience that clients demand while ensuring security is all about balancing an acceptable level of risk with the smallest possible amount of friction. Here’s how to go about it.
Digitize And Automate Onboarding
That first touch point — customer onboarding — truly sets the tone for the relationship. Today’s customer turns a nose up at a lengthy, arduous onboarding process. No one wants to deal with manual paperwork. You can streamline the process while still keeping risk in check by using technology that captures ID images, data and identity verification in one process.
Omnichannel Is Imperative
Consider the banking industry. According to research from the American Bankers Association, 72% of Americans most often access their bank accounts online. Millennials, in particular, are exploring banks that offer mobile account enrollment and access, as they prefer to avoid visiting bricks-and-mortar branches.
Savvy businesses will empower their customers to transact whenever and however they wish. There are many ID verification solutions available to enable easy onboarding but still enforce stringent security protections. These methods can capture and digitize PII to quickly verify that the person is who they claim to be.
Loyalty Programs + Personalization = Return Customers
Today’s shoppers expect a targeted user experience based on previous behaviors, purchases, likes and even dislikes. Collecting customer data that provides insights into customer preference is one key to achieving customer loyalty. In particular, companies in the hospitality, gaming or retail industries should keep track of customer demographics to offer more targeted experiences. For example, retailers can offer specific product recommendations based on what the customer previously purchased or offer targeted savings/promotions for favorite items.
Enabling quick, automated signup for loyalty programs is also key. Customers are generating and sharing more data than ever, and with machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities, companies can take this opportunity one step further by allowing for personalization at the regional and individual level. It’s true that some may find this technology unsettling, and there should always be a prominent option in place to allow customers to opt out. But at the end of the day, we know that millennials, by and large, are all-in on highly-personalized experiences.