Technology should make our lives easier and in order to do so, IT systems and connected devices need to be integrated with one another. With technology integration, however, comes increased risk, and often the consumer is left on their own to navigate this ever-changing deluge of technology: devices, apps, wearables and connected appliances that all connect into multiple software applications and databases.
On the one hand users want the functionality and convenience that the integration of various technologies provides. UK banks, for example, have been tasked to make their customer data available to other institutions with the objective of driving innovation and competition. In the broader financial services sector, banks, billers and payment providers are racing to provide integrated digital processes that attract and retain digitally-savvy customers.
Consumers seldom consider whether the services made possible by these integrations are secure, or whether signing up online for a new bank account could result in them losing their money.
More than ever before, consumers need to be educated on how to safely use technology. The responsibility to drive this education process sits with industry players, who must play a central role in improving their customers ‘digital intelligence’. When launching a new online service or mobile application, providers must arm users with the information they need to leverage the new service, without increasing their vulnerability to phishers and fraudsters.
What should tech companies do?
If you are a tech company, your customer experience (CX) must factor in how to safely use a service, from the design stage onwards. Education and user awareness should be an integral part of the pre-release of any new integration.
An awareness campaign must provide the information your users need to avoid becoming victims of cybercrime.
Tell your customers what they should expect to experience when using the service
List the security features they should look for to recognise a legitimate communication or transaction
Keep reiterating the tell-tale signs of a fraudulent communication or transaction
Be transparent about where and how to report experiences that do not match expectations.
In addition to risk reduction, user education is an opportunity for your organisation to make a connection with your customers, reinforce your brand and validate new technology. Likewise, a lack of commitment to education, besides being financially risky, could be seen as an unwillingness to invest in the safety of your customers.
Education, however, is never a once-off. Consistent education is required throughout the customer lifecycle and at all points in the lifecycle of your products. That means providing educational output, not only when a new technology or integration is launched, but every time you interact with your customer. Technology users generally appreciate the opportunity to understand the big picture and to drill down into the detail.
This is not an opportunity to sell more product, because that will diminish what is an incredibly important message. This is a brand and relationship building opportunity in which your organisation can prove that customer safety is a priority.
In my opinion, we should no longer be talking about technology R&D; it should be research, development and education (RD&E), as the first two are incomplete and potentially dangerous without the third.