A fantastic way to stall a conversation at a dinner party is to start talking about the exciting world of identity management, unique logins, information sharing and workflow. Just watch the eyes start to glaze over. However, these elements are rapidly becoming the critical ‘glue’ to enhancing and tailoring the customer experience – the utopia for many organisations.
We believe a simple mantra is needed that defines the aim of the organisation when dealing with consumers via technology; “Know me, build trust with me, and transact with me”.
The key principles of this mantra:
- Know me: understand who I am as a customer, where I am coming from and what I like. Offer me tailored and personalised content that is contextual and relevant to me in that moment. Above all, be helpful. Show me something I didn’t know I needed, or provide me with insight to make better decisions
- Build trust with me: provide me a way to quickly and easily prove who I am. Allow me access to those areas and services only I should be able to see. Protect my privacy and don’t misuse what you’ve learned about me. Help me understand when my trust is at risk of being diminished (i.e. when someone is pretending to be me, or my behaviour seems unusual) and show me ways I can easier manage my trust relationship with you.
- Transact with me: allow me to do business with you when and how I want. Let me interact with products and services and only give me the level of detail I require. Give me options to personalise my transaction experience. Importantly, give me choice in how I transact and I will keep returning to you in the future.
Although a simple mantra, establishing the people, process and technology components to make this a reality is no easy task. Understanding impacts of legacy technology, poor business processes and inadequate technology design can mean decades of bad decisions need to be reworked, amended and refined. Data privacy and ethics considerations bring another layer of complexity and getting executives excited about investment in identity management, application programming interfaces (APIs) and solutions to automate business processes can take time and good persuasion skills. But it is not impossible.
Contemporary technology offerings are making it far easier to delight customers. Identity solutions help bring together customer experience and user experience, APIs help share information across the business landscape and business process automation makes certain the right customer is routed to the right person (or place) at the right time. This ecosystem must be carefully planned, deployed and managed to enable success. A failure at any level can destroy the user experience, erode consumer confidence or at worst, provide the wrong information to the wrong people.
The increasing sophistication and expectations of customers can be adequately matched by organisations that are designed to meet evolving business needs. As customers continue to choose digital over other forms of interaction, a positive digital customer experience has become a market differentiator in a number of sectors. Being able to effectively balance the customer experience across multiple channels allows the capture of rich data from customers, can help align marketing efforts and allow customers to select their own preferences and channels for service. Appropriate levels of security are required to financially transact online, including the increasing use of multi factor authentication, biometrics, and machine learning.
As a customer, if you don’t know me, I likely don’t trust you and may not transact with you. You must go past who you think I am; thinking you know, and actually knowing, are not the same.