Traditionally, when we think about our identity, we think about our name, social security number—maybe even our appearance or beliefs. But in today’s digital world, the idea of identity has expanded even further. The mobile apps we interact with and depend upon every day hold sensitive information about us. They keep track of everything from our health to our bank accounts to our social media activity.
Another big deal in our world today is customer experience. In fact, it’s projected to overtake price and product as the top brand differentiator by 2020. Lucky for businesses, the wealth of digital data presents an untapped opportunity for businesses to better understand and serve their customers, both in-store and online.
With permission from the user and help from digital IDs (think: a digital thumbprint holding key information about your purchasing behavior) and in-store beacons, companies can tap into the preferences of their customer base to deliver a better omnichannel experience.
"Mobile technology adds huge business value from customers’ digital identities"
Businesses that ignore this proliferation of data will find themselves left behind. Mobile technology adds huge business value from customers’ digital identities, and can help prepare your company for the next wave of customer service. Here’s how:
Seamless Digital Access
With digital credentials, either standalone or embedded within a company’s mobile application, users can log into apps for their favorite brands by scanning their personal QR code or tapping an authentication button on their home screen. This provides the foundational trust needed to interact with the brand. It removes the burden of remembering unique passwords and also reduces the potential for password theft, as only the true user will have the tools needed to access their account.
Stronger Customer Loyalty Programs
Today’s loyalty programs reward customers not just for their purchases, but also for their social engagement with a brand. When a mobile application leverages customer identity, brands can gain deeper insights about shopper behavior and interactions, and use that information to build a better loyalty program. Using location-activated digital IDs, companies can also interact with potential customers in a personalized way when they’re inside or near a store, or when they log into the brand's website.
The right approach to mobile can also eliminate the need for customers to carry loyalty cards and provide a more secure way to identify each user. By analyzing the context of each customer interaction, organizations can deliver highly targeted offers and messages.
Better Customer Relationships
When customers walk into a store, sales associates don’t know anything about them until they initiate an interaction. However, when equipped with location-transmitting mobile apps, employees can be alerted when a loyal customer walks through the door, along with other pertinent information the user opts to share. With instant access to data on buying habits and preferences, employees can more effectively serve the needs of each individual customer—increasing sales and brand loyalty in the process.
Today, a retailer may know which of its shirts is selling the most at one branch, and promote this product at locations with similar demographics. But that’s about as best they can do to personalize. Mobile data can take this a step further: As soon as a customer walks in the store, say Pottery Barn, a sales associates can approach them with questions about how they’re enjoying their last dishware purchase, and suggest new table settings they might like. This information is pulled from the customer’s activity on the brand’s mobile app, which in-store beacons send to employees to analyze on their own devices once the customer is nearby.
Improved Call Center Response
Typically, when a customer contacts a call center with an issue, they must first answer a series of questions verifying their identity, which requires sharing anything from their social security number to their mother’s maiden name. Not only can this information be easily stolen, but the process of confirming it adds to the time it takes for a service representative to resolve an issue. Mobile applications can eliminate the need to jump through these hoops, by instead generating a one-time password that customers can use to easily identify themselves. The same security feature could also be used by the customer to verify that a caller is a legitimate representative of the company. This is a great example of how mobile identity improves security, customer experience and productivity, all at once.
In the end, it’s important to understand that it’s not our devices that are mobile—it’s us. Companies that recognize this digital transcendence of our identities, and integrate mobile technology to harness it appropriately, will swiftly see the benefits–along with their customers. Mobile presents an opportunity for these brands to create a better customer experience across all channels.