At its core, improving the digital customer experience is an identity problem. However, many organizations are still stuck in the mentality that customer experience is driven by "technology users" instead of "customer identities."
Moving from a focus on "users" to "identities" may seem like a slight adjustment, but it's a powerful paradigm shift that can reshape your identity management infrastructure, and ultimately transform the quality of your customer experiences. Delivering seamless consumer engagement across multiple channels requires an identity-centric approach that revolves around a unified customer profile instead of separate user databases created for each new application or service.
Once businesses embrace the idea that customer identities fuel their digital business initiatives, identity and access management (IAM) often becomes a priority. But as IAM pros support digital transformations, one of the first things to understand is that customer IAM (CIAM) is fundamentally different than the workforce IAM they've managed for the last several decades. The goal of workforce IAM is to reduce the risk and cost associated with onboarding and off-boarding new employees, but the purpose of CIAM is to grow revenue by leveraging identity data to acquire and retain customers.
Managing customer identities requires a CIAM platform that delivers on several key capabilities. In order to successfully address the multi-faceted, complex aspects of managing and securing customer identity data in omnichannel digital business, your CIAM solution needs to be able to:
Link customer accounts and sync data platforms. To map various data schema and attribute types, bi-directional sync capabilities are important as well as support for different connection methods and protocols.
Unify customer profiles across channels. Virtual views of data across disparate sources can be aggregated into a unified profile that includes structured and unstructured customer identity data generated across all channels, apps and devices.
Provide self-service preference and privacy management. Explicit data is more accurate and actionable than implicit customer data. Enable customers to specify what they like, how they want to receive communications and what their opt-in and opt-out preferences are for different services and processes. Also, an increasingly important aspect of privacy regulation compliance is the ability to capture customer consent and privacy choices.
Govern and control access to customer data. Privacy regulations are evolving and changing rapidly. Customer identity management should be flexible enough to support complex policy-based controls across all channels and third-party use cases.
Secure and encrypt data to protect it from breach. The importance of data security can't be overstated. It must be built into the foundation of any CIAM implementation. Capabilities such as end-to-end encryption are critical to keeping customer identity data safe from theft and misuse.
Offer a wide variety of authentication methods. Security is important, but it needs to be balanced with frictionless customer experiences. Advanced authentication capabilities that support multiple authentication methods, including social login, SMS texts, biometrics and others, allow brands to offer their customers a choice. And companies can protect data while offering a positive customer experience.
Speed time to market with APIs and pre-built assets. Demand is high for customer identity services in the digital business world. Every new app, service and channel a company launches requires secure access to customer data. The problem of providing reusable identity services can be resolved with APIs that consistently leverage unified customer identities as well as security and privacy controls.
These CIAM capabilities can help companies shift from a user-centric approach to an identity-centric approach that enables digital business strategies. Putting the customer at the center of your technology infrastructure drives customer experience excellence in the always-connected world.