Over the last few years, the world of customer service has undergone a radical transformation from a cost sink to a strategic change agent for growth. Engaged customers are not only likely to stick around for the long-haul—they'll also send new business your way. That's why, in a recent survey of CEOs, PwC found “create a better customer experience" as one of their top goals from their digital investments. Even Adobe, in an analysis of 33 billion visits to 180 online retail websites in Europe and the United States, found that existing customers drive a disproportionately high share of revenue.
This need in the market has given rise to a new generation of customer experience startups. Up-and-coming technologies are allowing companies to use data from physical and digital worlds to learn about their users. So who are these startups and what are the latest technologies rethinking the customer experience? First, let's take a look at Biometrics, one of the areas of disruption for corporate innovation teams to watch.
Biometrics will streamline digital identities and footprints, enabling faster and more secure access to products and services.
Biometrics refers to the measurement of human characteristics. Companies often use biometrics to protect identities and access controls, especially in a security setting. With a market size of approximately $24 billion, according to Grand View Research, experts predict that mainstream, consumer-facing use cases of these capabilities will surge within the context of retail and payments.
If you've used fingerprint or facial recognition technology, you've already seen biometrics in action. In the coming years, you'll likely see even more applications. Thanks to growing demand for mobile point-of-sale systems such as Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, developers are seeking ways to improve security while reducing friction during key transactional moments.
In addition to existing processes that are tested and true, startups are venturing into new areas of human pattern recognition for heart signatures and even ear-geometry. Using under-glass sensor tech, startups are continuously seeking ways to improve identification processes, even when there are variable factors such as moisture, dirt, or oil on a person's fingertips.
The underlying goal is to help consumers feel secure at different touch points with companies while also alleviating potential security concerns. Here's how two startups are making this idea a reality:
Tascent has developed an advanced iris recognition system that is capable of both fixed and mobile recognition.
Its product, Insight Duo, uses a simultaneous iris and face capture process that enables recognition in four seconds or less. Tascent uses a human-centric approach to product and interaction design for its iris scanners, focusing on speed, ease of use and high accuracy. To date, no biometric system comes with all three traits.
Tascent's goal is to completely transform the flying experience, using its system to expedite airport security processes and provide enhanced services inside airplane cabins. The software also supports an efficient cost/time savings options for program registration. Clients already include Dubai International Airport, London Gatwick Airport, and a number of high-security facilities in the United States. The company raised an $18.5 million Series A round in 2015.
Nymi is a first-of-its-kind wearable device that authenticates a user based on their unique cardiac signature through an electrocardiogram (ECG).
By developing biometric scanning tech that only needs a person's heartbeat, the company hopes to eliminate the need for passwords, PINs, cards, and even keys. Unlike iris or facial-recognition technology, which require users to physically authenticate every time they wish to unlock something, Nymi is 'always on,' creating experiences that are more seamless for consumers.
Supporting near field communication (NFC) capabilities for contactless payments, Nymi has already partnered with TD Bank Group, RBC, and MasterCard to test related services. Meanwhile the company is also exploring new enterprise use cases, such as authenticating "privileged accounts" for system administrators and executives who manage sensitive accounts at large organizations. Nymi raised $14 million in Series A funding in late 2014.
From a customer experience perspective, biometrics will be part of an ecosystem of technologies. Take the evolving mobile payments ecosystem, as an example. With companies like Visa and Honda creating technologies that transform cars into mobile payment systems, for instance, the ability for customers to seamlessly (and quickly) verify their identities will be essential. From healthcare to retail, enterprise services, and financial services, biometrics will bring a new face to authentication protocols—and overall customer experiences as a result.
With new technologies emerging, corporate innovation teams have a variety of tools at their disposal to keep customers engaged and happy for longer. Thanks to biometrics, the future of customer experience will be frictionless, seamless, and tailored to specific parts of the buyer's journey. It's up to innovation teams to help make this vision a reality.
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