How should brands effectively approach customer identity, which is critical in developing a seamless, personalized yet secure experience for their customers?

How should brands effectively approach customer identity, which is critical in developing a seamless, personalized yet secure experience for their customers?

How can brands balance the need for more customer insights and better customer experience, while ensuring privacy and security? How can they collect deeper insights and data from their customers and still maintain strong digital trust?

CybersecAsia finds out from Neville Vincent, Vice President, Asia, Okta, the importance of customer identity and understanding how we can best reduce friction, built trust, and acquire the first-party data that is key to personalization.

How does Okta define Customer Identity and the Customer Identity Journey in today’s digital marketplace?

Customer Identity can be defined as the process of managing and securing customer identities and their access to digital services and applications. This involves ensuring that customers have a seamless and secure experience when interacting with a company’s digital properties, such as websites, mobile apps, and other online services.

A user’s overall experience is also hugely dependent on how the Customer Identity journey is managed — from providing seamless single sign-on (SSO) and quick-and-easy multi-factor authentication (MFA), to enabling guest checkouts. In fact, Identity flows are fundamental elements of the customer journey and strongly influence conversion rates. That is why brands in every industry and sector must find the right balance between user convenience, security and privacy in today’s digital marketplace.

Why is Customer Identity important for brands and organizations in their engagement with customers? Why are traditional approaches in obtaining customer data and information failing?

According to the Okta Customer Identity Trends 2023 survey, the large majority of respondents, with consistent attitudes across different age cohorts, consider it important to have control over their own data when interacting with a brand online. Customer Identity is crucial for brands and organizations as it allows organizations to provide a seamless and personalized experience for their customers.

By knowing and understanding their customers, businesses can tailor services and content to meet individual preferences, increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty. In addition, implementing robust Customer Identity and Access Management (CIAM) solutions helps organizations secure customer data and prevent unauthorized access. By using modern authentication methods like multi-factor authentication (MFA), companies can mitigate the risk of data breaches and identity theft.

Neville Vincent, Vice President, Asia, Okta
Neville Vincent, Vice President, Asia, Okta

Traditional approaches to obtaining customer data and information are often failing as they often involve multiple disconnected systems for customer data storage, leading to data silos. This fragmentation makes it difficult to have a unified view of the customer, and hinders effective customer engagement.

In addition, many traditional methods of obtaining customer data may raise privacy concerns, especially with the increasing focus on data protection. Customers are becoming more cautious about sharing their information without a clear understanding of how it will be used. Without a centralized and integrated Customer Identity approach, customers may face a fragmented and inconsistent experience across different touchpoints, leading to frustration and disengagement.

Okta’s recent 2023 CIT report segregates the audience into several demographic groups from 18- to 60+. In APAC, are there similarities or differences in how age groups view and share data and their digital trust. Do they differ in how they value control (and security) versus convenience?

In APAC, it is found that in terms of authentication preferences, the older the respondent, the more likely they are to prefer the username-and-password combination, and the less likely they are to prefer social login.

Although not as pronounced, we see the same trend for MFA, with older cohorts preferring it over their younger counterparts. Notably, the youngest cohort (those between 18 to 29 years old) has the highest approval for biometric authentication (42%) suggesting that brands would do well to start exploring this method now, especially as this group gains purchasing power.

The youngest respondents (29%) also favored social login over the oldest cohort (8%) by a margin of 21 percentage points, indicating that the security measure stands to gain traction in the coming years.

Consumers today want a frictionless digital experience with greater customization and personalization from the brands they buy from. At the same time, there is growing need for organizations to get more data insights from their customers. You call this the ‘privacy-personalization paradox’. Do you see this paradox as a key challenge facing organizations in APAC? How can one balance these needs and yet ensure privacy concerns are addressed?

Consumers today expect a seamless and personalized digital experience from the brands they engage with. They want tailored content, recommendations, and services that align with their preferences and needs. However, as organizations collect more customer data to deliver personalized experiences, concerns about privacy and data security grow.

Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of data privacy risks, data breaches, and how their information is used, leading to heightened sensitivity regarding data collection and usage practices.

In the APAC region, the privacy-personalization paradox is particularly relevant due to its diverse cultural, legal, and regulatory landscape. Different countries in the region have varying data protection laws and cultural norms surrounding data privacy.

To reduce friction, built trust, and acquire the first-party data key to personalization, brands must start exploring new solutions, such as anonymous checkout where it allows a user to use a service without creating an account and without needing to store their billing and delivery information.

Another potential solution is progressive profiling, which gradually asks the user for information and introduces them to new authentication options as they experience more value from the service — while still allowing them to get started very quickly.

The macroeconomic volatility for businesses in 2023 has seen brands focus more on improving the customer experience and retention. In this aspect, what are some of the key takeaways we can draw from the report?

Consumers today are understanding that their online activities leave a digital footprint, and many are taking steps to shrink that footprint. As much as 77% of survey participants in the APAC region said that it was important to them to have control over their data, which includes being able to change privacy settings or limit information-sharing.

Most importantly, most APAC survey respondents (54%) said that they are more likely to spend money when offered a simple, secure and frictionless login experience. This is regardless of whether they are accessing apps and services or making purchases.

Key takeaways from the report include:

    • Whether they are accessing apps and services or making purchases, consumers in the APAC region are looking for seamless, personalized and convenient login experiences.
    • Data privacy is growing in importance in the APAC region, and more and more consumers want control over how their data is put to use. Organizations must take this into account when conducting marketing activities on their customers.
    • In the years ahead, a brand’s ability to both protect customers’ data privacy while easing their online interactions will become an increasingly important differentiator for businesses.