Tuesday, June 22, 2021
CX Tech

Customer Experience in the Palm of Your Hand – An Intro to CX Biometrics

Satta Sarmah-Hightower
February 04, 2020

3 minute read

Today, you can pay for purchases using cash, check, a credit card, or mobile wallet, but what if you could pay by hand?

Some major ecommerce brands are reportedly experimenting with technology that would allow customers to do just that, and link their credit information to their palm prints so they can pay by hand via kiosks located in local businesses.

Biometrics measure biological and physical attributes, transforming these measurements into data points that brands can potentially use to enhance the customer experience. Biometric technologies, which include fingerprint scanning, iris scanning, and facial recognition, could enable a more personalized, friction-free customer experience while improving data security (after all, it’s much easier to steal a password than a palm print). One study indicates nearly 90% of businesses will use biometrics by 2020.

Here’s how some brands are using biometrics to improve CX, and the privacy and security considerations companies must navigate as they adopt these technologies.

Biometrics take center stage

Facial recognition is one of the most prevalent biometric technologies in the consumer space. More than 30 brands are testing facial recognition technology, according to a June 2019 report by the research firm CB Insights.

The Chrysler Portal concept car, which is set to debut this year, will give drivers a personalized experience thanks to facial recognition software. After a driver completes a one-time scan of their face and inputs their driving preferences, the car will do things like adjust the seat and car’s temperature to the driver’s unique tastes.

More smartphones are being outfitted with biometrics, as well. If you own an iPhone, Android, or Samsung smartphone, then you likely understand the beauty of placing your index finger on the home button and getting access to all your apps — no passcode necessary. Major banks are even using iris scanning in place of passwords to allow customers to log into their accounts using their eyes.

Biometrics and the customer experience

But biometrics are about more than just abandoning passwords. Biometrics allow brands to create as seamless a customer experience as possible, enabling customers to engage with a product or service even faster and with greater ease — and potentially, more frequently. Personalization also is a driving factor. Today, many brands rely on the digital breadcrumbs consumers leave online to identify them across devices and understand their preferences. However, biometrics eliminate this guesswork, since nothing is more unique than a person’s fingerprint, palm print, or facial features. Biometrics essentially provide another customer data point brands can use to personalize their experience, which could help to build loyalty and increase customer retention.

For all the benefits these technologies provide, there are security concerns. Only 25% of consumers believe companies handle their data responsibly, while 69% believe companies are vulnerable to cyber attacks. Recent laws, like General Data Privacy Rule (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act, are giving consumers more control over how companies use their data. Though biometrics may be more secure than a password because of the unique nature of the data, it also comes with greater risks if this data is compromised since you can’t really change a person’s iris or fingerprint.

Given this, brands will have to take extra steps to prevent data breaches and will have to educate consumers about how their data will be used — and their rights when it comes to controlling their own information. Data is the cornerstone of CX, but whether it’s biometric data, an email address, date of birth, or another form of customer data, brands must balance innovation and engaging customers with serious efforts to keep their information safe.

Satta Sarmah-Hightower
Satta Sarmah Hightower is a freelance writer who covers topics such as healthcare tech, government IT, business and personal finance for a wide range of brands and publications. A former journalist, Satta previously worked for AOL and the Tribune Company. She has a bachelor's degree in journalism from Boston University and a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University's Medill School.
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