Not too long ago, having a better product or being able to offer a competitive price went a long way toward winning and keeping customers. This has all changed. Recently three things have altered the consumer and brand relationship making it much harder to engage and retain customers:
Customers want digital experiences
Customers have more choices than ever before
Customers expect more from brands
More often than not, customers today see very little difference between products and pricing among various brands. They expect quality products and services at fair prices, and they expect brands to continuously offer new and exciting things, all with the convenience of digital engagement. The harsh reality is even if businesses deliver on these expectations, it's not enough to differentiate their brands. What does set a brand apart; however, is customer experience.
Every touchpoint along the customer's journey from the web browsing experience and customer service to loyalty programs and returns processes contributes to or detracts from a great customer experience. In particular, there is one crucial interaction that can be easy to overlook as part of the customer experience equation--asking customers to authenticate their identity. Whether a brand requires customers to sign in at the moment they engage with the site, or a business asks customers to log into an account when they are ready to make a purchase, authentication is typically seen as a barrier to seamless engagement, and in many cases, organizations assume there is no way around it.
Marketing teams are on the frontlines of the negative consequences caused by frustrating, slow and overly complex authentication practices. They see the lost sales opportunities, the less-than-favorable brand perceptions, the complaints on social media and the abandoned shopping carts. A study by Baymard Institute found that the rate of shopping cart abandonment is a staggering 67.45%, and among the reasons people give for browsing away from their online carts is the requirement to log into an account combined with concerns about data security.
Many marketers have resigned themselves to believing that cumbersome authentication is a necessary part of digital business, but it doesn't have to be. There are things that brands can do to deliver a painless authentication experience while simultaneously improving security:
Offer the convenience of Single Sign-On (SSO) SSO ensures that no matter how many different programs, systems and apps are involved in digital interactions, customers only have to sign in once. It avoids the hassle and frustration of logging in to complete a purchase and then having to sign in again if customers want to earn loyalty points, for example. It also reduces the number of opportunities hackers have to steal passwords.
Know the customer A customer identity and access management (CIAM) platform can help brands deliver not only seamless experiences, but also the relevance that improves customer engagement and the detailed data that makes authentication easier. CIAM captures and secures information about each customer to validate identity and provide personalized experiences and promotional offers.
Implement data security best practices CIAM enables security best practices like end-to-end data encryption, multi-factor authentication (MFA) and security controls defined at the data level. It allows businesses to enforce security policies everywhere the data is used and keep customers' valuable data protected.
Don't believe the lie that authentication will always be an obstacle to positive customer experiences. The truth is there is a better way with the right identity management technologies. Taking advantage of the latest CIAM capabilities can turn authentication from a barrier to a loyalty-inspiring opportunity.