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How data can improve your customer authentication journeys

Customer Experience

We, as customers of the digital economy, demand more information, goods and services than ever before. And, as customers using our devices amid this Internet of Things (IoT), we also want to transact on our own terms.

Merchants are providing more choice on our digital journeys: from allowing us to decide how we would like to make our purchases, for instance via one click or click and collect, to the mechanisms we want to use, such as Alexa or Apple Pay.

Getting it wrong is not an option. If a merchant doesn’t have something we’re looking for or our experience is poor, we’re quickly able to move on and find it elsewhere. And indeed, many consumers feel that the less time spent on a digital interaction, the better the experience. This includes the process to identify and authenticate ourselves on these journeys.

That experience has traditionally been bound by identification methods such as passwords and PINs. But when it comes to proving to the merchant, or by extension our bank, that we are who we say we are to complete these transactions, our optionality is reduced to these relatively crude techniques.

They don’t provide for the ability to tailor customer journeys, to analyze how we interact on our journeys; the vital information that lets an organization recognize us. The smarter technology that analyses our inherent characteristics — such as behavioral biometrics — is denied to us, degrading our customer experience.

So how can businesses reduce friction and put customer experience at the heart of user authentication journeys?

The importance of convenience

A recent personal example of inconvenience was expressed through lack of identification optionality when I needed to call my Broadband provider to renew my contract. When I (incorrectly) entered 3 digits from my account password, the line was immediately disconnected; I was not allowed a second opportunity to enter it.

Instead, I had to find a different telephone number so that I could speak to someone without needing to pass through security to understand what had happened. It was only then I was informed that my account had been locked and that a password reset process had been dispatched in the post to the address on file.

There was no feedback, no option for me to self-serve a password reset online, or fundamentally, provide an alternative means of identifying myself.

Capturing user feedback

In this case, the security policy had achieved its purpose in protecting me from malicious activity. I had maxed out the permitted attempts to prove my identity therefore no more would be allowed – not to anyone.

But feedback is essential. Whether the interaction is taking place via an app, via an online login portal or in this case via the phone, it’s a scenario that’s familiar to everyone. Provide me with some information that will help me understand what might have gone wrong that so that the next steps to take are clear, in a way that doesn’t tip off potential fraudsters.

In this scenario, it would have been great if I, as the customer, could have specified how I would have liked to identify myself in the first instance and have this preference acknowledged for future interactions.

Having a range of different identity authentication methods registered when I onboarded as a customer would have at least left me with a fallback option that could have prevented a blocked account, and a 5 working day wait for further instructions to get going again. The friction could have been significantly reduced, if not avoided. These methods should also be considered across all user types, in this scenario it’s over the phone, but other channels and devices must also be considered.

The (high) value of customer data

This lack of customer feedback creates a stumbling block for the business; by not gathering this critically important data, it impairs their ability to understand the customer’s journey. Acknowledgement of potential weaknesses in the journey is a critical first step towards giving customers better service and setting on the path towards strong relationships.

A holistic view on how your product is being used, by real customers, brings forth the insight into the challenges they are facing. Callsign’s Orchestration Layer has been designed with this in mind, helping businesses paint a picture of why, where, and when friction occurs, and what scope there is for optimization within your journeys.

Eliminating CX Friction

By assessing where friction occurs allows for positive action to be taken towards its elimination – or, where constraints mean that it can’t be eliminated, the appropriate solutions are offered that meet the needs of the whole customer base. But to do this, we need to be able to continuously assess, evaluate and define what causes friction on our journeys.

Adopting this approach helps organizations identify the right solutions to deploy in the right places. And in doing so, it could reveal opportunities to strengthen both ends of the security vs. user experience dichotomy: improving security, whilst reducing friction.

And in turn, this means taking positive action to put those solutions in place. Simply giving users more power to allow them to decide how they would like to be authenticated is not enough.

Driving positive customer experiences

The technologies that can remedy the shortcomings with traditional identification methods are already available to organizations today; Callsign’s solution allows customers to be passively authenticated via a combination of inherence and possession data. Through behavioral biometrics analysis and machine learning, we can now redefine the identification process in a completely passive and privacy-reserving manner so that customers like you and I can be recognized without anybody needing to know anything about us.

Should a knowledge-based credential be required, the customer that provides the keystrokes with cadence x on device y from location z allows for this risk-based approach to be evaluated through differing lenses to generate an exponentially more robust, and attractive, proposition for the organization.

When this is combined with other forms of Multi-factor Authentication using flexible orchestration technologies such as Callsign’s Orchestration Layer, it enables the creation of hyper-personalized experiences for customers on their authentication journeys.

Orchestrating intelligence capabilities and enforcing suitable authentication challenges in the right place at the right time on the customer journey is what enhances the security posture – if the risk is considered ‘high’ at any stage, transactions do not need to be flat-out rejected. Another challenge could be presented, further evaluation of behaviors could take place, or another action could be taken entirely.

Better customer journeys for all

The outcome – for the organization – is the creation of opportunities to both improve the experience and security posture to please customers, and combat threats in this problem space, all at their own risk appetite.

And for the users it brings the benefit of vastly improved journeys with reduced friction. In other words, secure identity and authentication without a reliance on PINs or passwords. or the postal service.

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