5 Steps to Building Digital Trust: Securing CX with Mobile Authentication

5 min read

Digital trust is critical for consumer decision-making. From placing an order with an online store to transferring the money to buy their next car, customers want to know that brands are prioritising and protecting their data. PwC’s 2023 Trust Survey revealed that protecting consumer data (seen as “very important” by 79% of respondents) ranked higher as a “trust-earning action” than consistent and reliable customer experience (74%). Clearly, digital trust builds brand loyalty. 

This is essential at times when both brands and consumers are facing growing threats from digital fraud. Cybercriminals are constantly exploring new ways to infiltrate customer journeys and exploit weaknesses in both digital experiences and human behaviour. The UK Finance Annual Fraud Report 2023 found that £1.2 billion was stolen through fraud last year alone. As fraud becomes a more lucrative and attractive prospect for criminals, brands have to find ways to mitigate fraud while demonstrating a commitment to data integrity. Every personal data breach impacts revenue, reputation, and trust.   

In the face of rising online threats, industries such as banking and finance, retail, e-commerce, and Software as a Service (SaaS) have to step up their authentication methods and go beyond the basics. They have to augment password protection to ensure advanced levels of security for their organisations and their customers. In this article, we will look at mobile authentication as an effective, low-cost, and hassle-free security option.

Authentication Methods for Online Security

There are a range of different authentication methods that businesses can use to secure their customers’ data.

  • Knowledge Factor: This requires the user to define and, when prompted, provide personal data, such as the name of a first pet or customer account pin.
  • Inherence Factor: This authenticates access based on unique requirements such as fingerprints, facial recognition, or voice recognition.
  • Location Factor: This will determine a user’s presence at a specific location to confirm authentication.
  • One-Time-Password (OTP): OTP is a form of authentication that provides a single-use unique password, often using a time limit. This information can be paired with login details to provide an extra level of security. OTPs can also act as an alert for someone trying to access an account fraudulently.

OTPs are a commonly used authentication method for online security across various industries including retail, e-commerce, SaaS, and especially banking and finance. Financial institutions rely heavily on their ability to protect customers’ sensitive data. With the shortened timeframe of an OTP, malicious actors trying to gain access will only have a short window to exploit customer data. The dynamic nature of OTPs significantly reduces the risk of unauthorised access.  

Data Protection Has to Be a Priority

Security is a key element to improving trust levels in any industry. With PYMNTS reporting that 50% of adults feel that banking and finance in particular need to provide extra security, action must be taken to uphold customer loyalty. 71% of consumers use their smartphone to access online banking and send/receive money. Without proper security mechanisms in place, all these transactions and user accounts are at risk.

A good choice when considering OTPs is using SMS as the carrier system. SMS offers a reliable, fast, and direct method of securely communicating OTPs with customers. The passcodes are immediately visible on users’ mobile phones without the need to access email and can also be used on older phone models. This enables all customers with a mobile phone, even those without an internet connection, to experience the same levels of security, unlike other methods such as authenticator apps.

In addition, multi-channel delivery means that OTPs can be sent via multiple lines of communication, allowing users to specify backup platforms or receive OTPs on multiple devices. This redundancy can be valuable for safeguarding in case of lost or stolen phones, ensuring that users can still access their accounts and complete transactions even when facing unexpected challenges.

Ways to Send OTP Traffic

There are multiple ways to send OTPs to appeal to a wide customer base. Over-The-Top (OTT) app messaging services, such as WhatsApp and Viber, are effective solutions offering two-way communications, end-to-end encryption, and rich image or video content. This option often appeals to a younger target population, and with two billion monthly active users, WhatsApp is a popular choice. In 2022, WhatsApp reported that 66% of adults prefer to communicate with a business via messaging. These OTT solutions can be used as standalone products or implemented into a robust Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS) solution to combine communications for easier handling and tracking.

Passwords alone are a vulnerable form of identity, especially when protecting essential data such as finance. In 2023, Verizon reported that 74% of business data breaches were attributed to the human element of security, such as weak credentials. Educating customers on best practices when it comes to creating passwords or accessing banking data is a great first step, but often is not enough to discourage cybercriminals. Transparency is an essential element of trust, and consumers rely on businesses to keep their personal data safe.

According to PYMNTS, 56% of consumers wanted their banks to require additional security factors for non-routine transactions, while 47% required this for any routine transaction. By listening to your customers’ suggestions and requirements, and then implementing those changes, enterprises are more likely to build loyalty and retention.

Five Steps for Building Digital Trust

Improving digital trust is crucial for the success of any organisation. Customers who give a brand high trust scores are more likely to stick with it even after product or communication mistakes. Harvard Business Review found that consumers who shopped at retailers that provide a trusted service were 88% more likely to buy from them again, and 62% said they would exclusively buy from the brand for specific products.

There are five simple steps organisations can take to improve customer trust levels:

  • Ask for Authentication Method Approval – Some customers may prefer a simpler login experience, while others may require more advanced authentication options. It’s always best to consider your customers’ preferences and allow them to opt-in to the authentication method they prefer.
  • Offer SMS as Standard – Setting up OTPs with SMS is the optimal choice for most customers. However, asking for customer preferences on their preferred channels like email, WhatsApp or Viber, allows you to tailor their experience for ultimate client satisfaction.
  • Select the Right Vendor – Choose a reliable vendor for multi-channel communications. Selecting a vendor who can provide the optimal time window for authentication and effectively handle any errors will ensure a smooth communication flow between customers and your brand to avoid frustrations.
  • Store Data Securely – Implement a secure data storage solution to house customer data. This is essential for protecting your customers and maintaining their trust.
  • Implement Trust Certificates – Display secure trust certificates across all of your web pages. These certificates add an extra security layer for customers to look for.

Make Authentication User-Friendly By Design

OTPs offer a range of benefits across different industry verticals. This authentication method is a practical, secure, and cost-effective choice with a user-friendly design, immediate delivery, and widespread accessibility. As organisations continue to prioritise the safety of customer data, OTPs are likely to remain a prominent tool in achieving these objectives.

To find out more about how OTPs can strengthen your organisation and the solutions available, speak to a GMS expert today!

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