Many people equate digital identity with login, and this can lead to missed business opportunities. What then are the factors related to a customer’s digital identity that you should have a thorough understanding in order to build a strong foundation for your company’s digital success?
What is digital identity?
To succeed, service providers must understand what ‘digital identity’ really means. First, let’s look at some basic concepts to determine what it doesn’t mean.
Tracking cookies, rather than constituting a digital identity, offer a way of profiling customers. While a customer who revisits a website can be identified with a cookie, this method does not prove with any certainty that it is exactly the same user who pays the new visit. Also, users may delete cookies after each visit.
Similarly, payment method (such as credit card) is not equal to digital identity; rather, it is a means of identifying the person making the payment. However, payment method identifiers, such as tokens, can be linked to a digital identity.
Logging in by using, for example, a password does not constitute digital identity either. Instead, it is an identification method used to link the user to a particular digital identity or to receive information on the user from an external source. For example, Facebook logins can be used to collect information required for the creation of a digital identity, such as an email address.
Session is not the same thing as digital identity; it is a way to link a customer identification event to a digital identity. There are several ways of managing a session. In a mobile application, a session can typically be saved instead of a password to preserve the link between the identification event and the customer and allowing the user to return to the service without the need to log in again.
Rather than being any of the above, a digital identity consists of identification and profile data collected on a customer and an identifier that can be shared with sales processes and background systems.
Digital identity is not a replacement for customer relationship information
You can link a digital identity to information on the user’s relationship with other sales-related data. Typically, this information includes the customer relationship(s) connected to the identity. Customer relationship information in itself is stored in a customer relationship management (CRM) system.
Information on connections between digital identities can also be collected for utilization in service production and business operations. This way, parents can be added as legal guardians of their underage children, enabling them to set restrictions on transactions performed by the children. Alternatively, transactions initiated by the children can be submitted to the parents for approval. At the same time, information on family connections can be garnered.
Customer information is the new plutonium — so accumulate it extensively
Data acts as a fuel to digital business. When you connect an identified user’s transactions via various channels to a digital identity, you can take your knowledge of your customers to the next level. As long as you take into account matters relating to consent on disclosure of data, you can utilize customer information for analytics.
A well-executed digital identity contributes to data privacy and improves the customer experience, thereby strengthening the customer’s trust in the service provider. This also makes it more likely for customers to be willing to provide the service provider with information on themselves.
Customer information accumulated through digital identities can therefore give you a competitive edge over other operators in your sector.
Digital identities play a major role in digital business
Many operators — even large international ones — are yet to grasp the importance of the customer experience in the creation and utilization of digital identities. Major online stores still rely on passwords for registration and login, and sessions created in their app cannot be accessed via a mobile browser. Typically, their systems do not support customer relationships based on family or agent relationships. On the other hand, the same user may have separate identities as a private and corporate customer.
A well-planned digital identity offers you an opportunity to compile the information on your customer in a single location where it is easily available for business purposes.
We can safely say that for digital business, the digital identity represents an essential bridge between a customer and customer information, contracts and representation.
How will your service make the most of the opportunities offered by digital identities?