Don’t just reach your customers. Know them.

By Mike Eggleton, Senior Manager Analytics & Research

In our latest Industry Forecast update, we touched on customer identity management solutions. This is a deeper dive into that topic.

Customers commit to a personalized buying experience

Consumers connect with business using a range of channels, often through mobile apps and social media. Today’s consumers desire a convenient and personalized buying experience. As a company, how do you deliver this without knowing more about each customer’s behaviors, characteristics and preferences?

Companies like Adobe and Gigya are trying to help, by offering customer identity management solutions that securely collect, connect, manage and leverage consumer identities. These services make it easy for non-technical people to create their own customer segments, build key reports and filter and analyze user records.  When properly utilized, the rich data that consumers provide will give you the information to create the personalized experiences that promote enduring relationships.

So, what’s involved in gathering this valuable data?  Customer identity management can be broken down into three activities: connecting, collecting and converting:

  1. Connecting – Turn your anonymous site visitors into known customers by using social and traditional registration tools to authenticate them and collect their data first hand. Customers already register and login to access business touch points. Give them a single sign on for all points, and you’ll not only make login easier, you’ll also build an understanding of them across devices and domains.
  2. Collecting – Consolidate customer data into unified profiles. If your company doesn’t have the technical bandwidth to consolidate data on your own, this is where investing in a customer identity management solution company becomes valuable. Customer identity management solutions can deliver consolidated reports and analytics around social and behavioral data, user demographics and revenue activity, allowing organizations to gain a detailed image of their customers.
  3. Converting – Organize your customer data and look at it from a variety of angles to identify any patterns. You could use location information gathered from smartphones to segment your customers based on their demographics. Organizing data that shows how customers’ purchases can add a behavioral dimension to your segmentation. You’ll begin to understand the best time, place and way to target your customers and prospects.

The manageable privacy challenge

Obtaining personal information and managing it may raise some concerns about privacy and security.  You want quality information from your consumers; quickly and easily. But, finding the right balance between maintaining a quality customer experience and gathering their data is tricky. Combining  a seamless customer experience with good security is not always easy.  However, most customer identity management companies already offer end-to-end encryption and close control of user permissions. As well as complying with applicable data privacy regulations, especially in the E.U., many also conform to information security standards like ISO 27001.[i] This should help relieve some concerns about the security of personal information being collected.

Business travel’s new opportunity

Business travel is ideal for personalization. Many travel suppliers already offer experiences tailored to individual travelers or specific groups.  As the trend towards delivering an increasingly personalized business travel experience grows, customer identity management platforms can help companies build trusted digital relationships with their consumers. Businesses can use these platforms to identify their customers using both traditional and social registration, consolidate and manage cross-channel customer data, and customize user experiences.

This could be a real opportunity for travel management companies (TMCs), as they manage massive volumes of personal data about travelers. Through customer identity management data, TMCs can target their tools and services in a more personalized way.  And they can use features like social share buttons and commenting engines to access richer customer feedback and become more responsive to emerging trends.  However, they must achieve the fine balance between having data and using it in a manner that is responsible and non-intrusive for travelers. “Don’t just reach your customers. Know them.”[ii]

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[i] Gigya

[ii] Adobe Marketing Cloud