Combining the best possible customer journey with customer satisfaction during authentication is a priority across all industries. But how can companies react to needs that are changing as a result of digital transformation and users who increasingly want to take responsibility for profile management themselves? The answer is customer identity and access management, or CIAM. It allows the identity management of external users to be coordinated flexibly, easily and at any time, thereby solving the challenge of digital transformation.
Customer identity and access management, or CIAM for short, describes the management of external users with the goal of optimising the customer journey. Here, the focus is on managing the identity of customers and partners. The advantage? The CIAM solution goes beyond simple identity and access management and is closely integrated with the digital marketing infrastructure.
CIAM: strategic, cross-media and coordinated
In reality, customisation and marketing automation starts with the social plugins that help boost brand perception and awareness across all channels as soon as a registered customer interacts with the company. The data can then be used for any and all processes in the company, be it for service, marketing or sales applications. Since they are synchronised and standardised, the customer enjoys the same convenience and personal attention at every point of contact with the company. Over the long term, this converts new prospects into loyal purchasers, who are accompanied throughout the customer journey by a single brand with a uniform look and feel.
Digital transformation is a hurdle in the customer journey
Security, data protection and compliance – the keywords of digital transformation – present a challenge to society and to the business world. To keep pace with this transformation and to continue providing customers with personalised experiences, CIAM can provide an answer – irrespective of the industry in question. After all, a good customer journey is vital.
Financial service providers, for instance, are currently faced with the challenge of supporting their customers flexibly at all times with digital services such as e-banking, share trading, or even leasing delivered by web-based and mobile applications. The digital world is also putting insurance companies under competitive pressure: new offerings cannot reach the market quickly enough, and personal service can no longer exist without its digital counterpart. For traditional providers, this is no easy task. Many dread the digital world, yet also want to meet the new expectations of digital natives.
Another factor in the mix is the processing of personal data. Each new customer profile increases the risk for companies of falling victim to cyberattacks, which would not only inflict enormous reputational losses but would also put a major dent in customer confidence. So the IT infrastructure must have the best possible protection and must meet the expectations of the various stakeholders, be they private customers, business customers or employees.
How identity management benefits companies
User-friendliness and flexibility are the two major benefits that CIAM offers companies as well as customers. While a high degree of automation reduces the workload for company IT departments, users have the opportunity to tailor their accounts to their own preferences and needs. This boosts satisfaction on both sides. But are these the only benefits of identity and access management? The answer is a resounding “no”. In fact, the list of benefits is long:
- The login procedures are much simpler for customers
- Customer data is well protected against external account attacks
- Customer data is aggregated to create a digital identity
- Customer profiles can be used for marketing and sales activities
- It improves customer understanding
- The customer experience becomes seamless and uniform
- Customer satisfaction increases
- It provides maximum reliability
- The CIAM system can be scaled and adapted to include new functions/services
CIAM meets internal as well as external requirements
To cater to the new customer behaviour, companies are forced to gather, analyse and organise more information than ever before. But what challenges does this present to modern CIAM solutions, and how can they be solved? A list of the top 4 requirements sheds light on the situation:
- Since CIAM aims for a consistent customer focus, the company must gain insights into present and future customer expectations. This is why it needs flexible CIAM that can be modified at any time and adapted to new situations or customisation requests.
- CIAM systems need to be available regardless of capacity utilisation. They must also deliver consistent quality from the outset without any noticeable delays caused by an overload.
- CIAM must also enable instant and flexible user authentication irrespective of the user’s device. This includes access to the user’s own accounts as well as seamless logins to external services and applications provided by partner companies.
- Users expect a consistent customer experience across a company and its partner ecosystems. And that applies not only to the technical aspect of using mobile devices and wearables but also to the management of individual profiles and preferences. What is needed to achieve that? A single identity for each user, for which the settings can be stored for all channels. Only when that is in place is a smooth and seamless customer experience possible.
Identifying the ideal CIAM system in three steps
When choosing a CIAM system, users should focus on three key aspects. First, clarify what user groups there are in the company. Are they B2C or B2B users? Next, evaluate the industry and define the security requirements that apply to the system. Finally, analyse the scope: Does the CIAM system need to support multiple countries that require different authentication systems and registration flows? Or can the services be standardised? Once this underlying analysis is complete, the implementation can commence. As an IT security specialist, Nevis can offer advice and support when it comes to integrating the CIAM system. Deciding on a suitable system is the first step on the road to marketing automation and customisation. But implementation calls for both IT expertise and an instinct for users’ needs. That is the combination of skills it takes to guarantee the speedy implementation of a suitable CIAM system that will deliver high customer satisfaction in the long term.