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CIAM: The Quiet Key to Customer Service


Customer experience is where loyalties, customers, budgets are won or lost these days. With a state-of-the-art CIAM system, your company can take customer interactions to the next level, protect privacy, simplify transactions, smooth the user experience, solve problems faster, and manage data more efficiently and more safely. This means cost savings, greater customer retention, powerful word of mouth marketing, and even increased earnings thanks to lowered barriers facilitating the end-user experience.

We don’t need to tell you that customers these days are fickle. Your competition wants to tempt them away. They want to save money. Hackers want to exfiltrate and sell their data. And while we’re all overwhelmed and dealing with a constantly changing pandemic situation, our ability to roll with technical and UX glitches is at a minimum, both on the user side and behind the scenes. Let’s look at how a good CIAM solution can help you and your users.

Starting from scratch, you need a solution that lets you identify whether users are new or returning, and customize their experiences accordingly. You need to make appropriate suggestions and smooth the most suitable paths for your users to navigate your website. You need to ensure users feel safe, their privacy protected and their data secure with you. You need to make them feel seen, secure, and supported throughout their interactions with your company. And, ultimately, you need to authenticate and then protect their banking details when they make a purchase.

By choosing the right CIAM system and integrating it throughout your company’s interactions with end users, you can meet all those customer expectations while also ensuring you’ve got a solution which is scalable, systematic and consistent across platforms, manages the data you collect, and maintains it securely in encrypted form.

A good CIAM system serves two masters: the end user and the company or institution. When it works well for both it can increase retention and average spend of end users, and even average time spent on the website if that’s your goal. Let’s look at some of the priorities for CIAM.

Security: On the user side, customers who feel confident their data is safe with you are more willing to spend more time building more elaborate profiles: uploading avatars, inputting real world coordinates, filling out profile bios. And obviously if they do not feel their banking data is safe with you, they’re unlikely to make any purchases or subscribe. It’s worthwhile, therefore, to build in visible privacy features such as mentions of how their data will be used, adherence to international privacy standards, options so users can titrate where their email can be shared, and the like. 63% of users will give up more info to a company who gives them a great experience, but they won’t give it up at all if they don’t think you will take effective safeguards with it.

On the company side, the priorities are a little different even if they take us to the same place. Data is the hottest commodity on the black market. Hackers are constantly looking for sloppily-constructed or out of date information management systems to sneak into and plunder. A truly secure CIAM system stores your data in encrypted form and provides safeguards to access, so that hackers are kept out of the system and, should they manage to breach it, cannot obtain the data in a form where it can be read, used, or sold. Both the company and the end users have an interest in excellent security and encryption for the data in the system.

Once you’ve assured end users they can feel secure in your system, the next standard is engagement, and engagement depends on many factors.

Transportability of Experience: Users are apt to access your platform from a variety of devices, and expect the experience to be similar if not identical across all their tech. A good CIAM system has this functionality baked right in; the mobile app has the same branding and similar roadmap as the website, which is the same as the tablet. How you move from one page to another within the signed-in experience might differ by device, but customers will expect that where they can go, what they can do, and how they are served and supported will be consistent. With CIAM rather than a separate home-made solution for each device, this functionality is intrinsic to the system. 

Recognition: Logged-in users want to feel known. They want to be able to make lists of favourite products. They want to be able to save and see all their posts, comments, and chats. They want to have their address and details auto-filled when they go to check out. If they’re going to give you their email address and use it to log in, they expect some customization and an elevated level of service in return, even if it’s just a chatbot greeting them by name. Recognition is paired with Privacy as a customer priority, and sophisticated consumers understand the give-and-take between them. If they feel safe and respected on your site, they’ll spend more time, give you more information, and engage more with the features, users, and staffers of your site. Respecting user’s privacy in this way directly drives engagement, which is the highest value in a social media economy. Users will spend more time, interact more richly, and ultimately make you more money, if they know they can trust your company with their data. And it’s the data they give you that lets you recognize them in the first place.

Ease of Use: The best CIAM for your platform will be the one that suits your users best, both the end users and the staffers behind the scenes. The right choice for an international organization of physicists will not be the best choice for an online middle school civics class. Understanding the user includes creating a detailed portrait of them including education, preferences, technological savvy, and desired outcomes, and working backwards from there to determine the system that will best serve them and the company. It needs to be intuitive for your specific users, not for anyone else. And when they need customer service, it connects them with someone who has the relevant information on the customer and the solution right at their fingertips.

On the company side, you need to be able to manage the data you collect, so the richer the interaction with your users the more data and the more robust your data management system needs to be. A good CIAM will be able to grow with you as your userbase and organization grow, without the need to be redesigned from scratch as a home-grown product might.

To sum it all up: a good CIAM safeguards your end-user’s privacy and communicates this fluently, it protects user data and organization IP, it recognizes and welcomes the user and facilitates their engagement with your platform, and it supports your staff in delivering exceptional customer service. And it does all this without tying up your IT department for months or years in d

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