Growing retail sales through a secured omni-channel client journey
A major European mobile operator with an international footprint has the ambition to become a customer-focused digital company. To achieve this, client satisfaction must be propelled to new levels. Clearly, clients increasingly demand convenience when consuming services like a new number, a new device, modifying their existing service offer or switching contracts. Their journey should be intuitive, fluid and fast, with low tolerance for any type of friction. Moreover, clients want to choose when and how to consume a service. Whether on their smart phone, tablet or notebook, while travelling or at home and at a time that suits them. This client experience needs to be coupled with the perception that transactions and personal information are secure.
Operators, on the other hand are subject to Know Your Customer regulations that exists in 157 countries(1) and force them to verify identities as part of the fight against terrorism and financial crime. This applies to post-paid as well as to pre-paid SIM cards. Non-compliance puts and operator at risk of fines and reputational damage.
Additionally, mobile operators must mitigate fraud to limit financial losses as well as costly remedy actions required in the event fraudsters succeed. As online services are rapidly expanding beyond call, data and media to encompass finance, travel, health, etc., fraud attempts have been increasing. Every time for example, a new high-end smart phone is launched, fraud attempts surge in view to obtain these phones under false identities without paying. Similarly, new financial service offerings, like peer-to-peer payments of crypto transactions, attract increasingly sophisticated criminals.
Fraud often starts at the registration of a new customer when fake or stolen ID-Documents are not detected. But criminals can also manage to access the account or the SIM card of existing legitimate users (SIM swap) and thereby get access to personal information, illegally use services and divert funds. The longer fraudsters manage to remain undetected, the costlier it gets. Indeed, the annual cost of fraud to clients and telcos is estimated at EUR 85 BN(2).
A new aspect is linked to the advent of eSIMs that make it easier to conduct client transactions without a brick-and-mortar presence, a tendency that clearly accelerated due to COVID. This requires improved online detection capabilities.
With all this in mind, it essential that a mobile operator achieves security in a cost-effective manner in view to remain competitive. Hence, in view to grow its client base and increase sales with existing clients, mobile operators must provide a great client experience, while a warranting compliance and security in efficient manner. Interestingly, the lessons that were gathered from this use-case can also be applied to growing and securing revenue with retail clients in general.
The solution was delineated based on a co-design approach with the Client Experience, Fraud, Risk Management, Invoicing and IT teams of the mobile operator. We used an agile approach to continuously integrate the learnings into the deployment roadmap.
In view to optimize the touchpoints with the broadest client base, it was decided to go for an omni-channel solution. This means that client interaction is possible in a seamless manner in-store, via voice-operator and, importantly, also 100% online. Omni-channel means that the channels are connected so that clients can move from one to the other but also that the employees of the mobile operator have a complete view on client interactions. While the use of standard equipment would be possible with the in-store channel, outside this space, it must be ensured that the solution works on multiple devices and operating systems. The technological set-up was conceived accordingly.
Once the broadest accessibility was designed, the next important tenet was the optimization of client conversion through a smooth journey and the capacity to verify a large scope of identities across many nationalities.
We will focus on the client registration phase that, after acceptance of T&Cs, starts with ID-Document verification. Here, the integration of various ID-Document modules enabled the capture and validation of a wide range of documents encompassing national ID-cards, passports, eIDs, driving licences and mobile app-based IDs from over 150 countries. The capture is possible via camera, upload, e-card reader and prospectively also NFC-Chip scan. Accordingly, client-facing employees in-store use a tablet to scan an ID-Document instead of doing photocopies and other manual steps. The same can be done online. In each case, the system authenticates the ID-Document by checking hundreds of data points, including structure, chromatics, typewrites and MRZ, within milli-seconds. This is much more than the human eye could do. Still, a manual verification module was introduced, where the ID-document authentication by specialist agents within minutes. Thereby, if the automated verification fails, workflow continuity and completion is ensured for the client.
For the online and voice-based flows it must be ensured that the person showing the document is the same as on the ID-Document. This can be achieved through facial modules that confirm that the face corresponds with the ID-Document picture and also verifies liveness. Importantly, liveness allows to detect whether masks, video projections or avatars are used and automatically flags such fraud attempts.
Other declarative information as well as the capture of a proof-of-residence (PoR) can be added. Obviously, these PoRs can also be verified.
For the online and voice flow, we also added multifactor authentication via SMS that is complemented by a risk score on the mobile number. This adds another security layer since the data points that are analyzed in relation to the mobile number provide early warning signs of potential fraud attempts.
Further, other identity attributes can be added like device-ID and behavioural profiling.
Each of these steps is building on the combination of a multitude of modules that run in the background to collect the information required to fulfil the client service. This happens in an automated manner by involving a minimum of typing by the client. In parallel, the information gathered is monitored to detect and flag suspicious activities. This is done in a manner that is invisible to the client. Crucially, the fraud detection modules are constantly evolved to integrate and anticipate new types of fraud.
It is important to note we designed one workflow example and that the sequence, steps as well as the modules running in the backgrounds can be adapted based on new client demands and technological possibilities.
All these steps should contribute to a convenient client journey that is intuitive and only takes a few minutes. Therefore, the process was designed in view to ensure the highest rate of client completion. Here, fluidity is key, as any break in the process creates client frustration, increased dropouts and costly manual steps for the mobile operator’s back-office team who must intervene to facilitate the completion of the process. Based on design-thinking, the most adapted modules were selected and combined into a seamless workflow that is resilient, secure and compliant. Naturally, the solution had to be integrated into the existing web and mobile architecture in view to permit continuity and potentially exposure to other services. The set-up is completed by being integrated into back-office systems and dashboards, in order to facilitate the work of the mobile operator’s teams.
Data gathered from the client workflow is compiled into a reporting dashboard, which is used to measure the effectiveness of modules as well as the frictions and break-offs in the client experience. This enables informed decisions to continuously improve the workflow in terms of client conversion and back-office productivity.
Another crucial aspect is scalability as the system must be able to satisfy significant onboarding peaks, for example, during festive days or at the launch of new service offer. Here, the use of cloud-based infrastructure with the right orchestration engines proved to be key enablers.
The solution was deployed in phases: First the online shop, then the voice channel and finally in-store with tablets, with each channel feeding learnings along the way.
The result is an easy and fast client journey through which the mobile operator achieves substantial volumes of online sales that add towards the cumulated revenue generation. Thanks to the solution, demand peaks around the launch of a new service offering as well as a new smart phone are successfully navigated.
Client conversion rates are up and the productivity of the back-office team is enhanced, notably based on better data quality. Also, fraud detection is more precise, leading to significantly reduced fraud.
Overall, the KPIs set at the start of the project are satisfied and feed a virtual loop of continuous improvements.
Importantly, the solution was designed in view to enable broader opportunities, as digital-ID, specifically on mobile devices, represents an entry point for trusted identity verification. Indeed, such a digital-ID opens the door to a wide array of mobile based services: Banking, wallets, travel, events booking, online gaming, e-health, e-commerce, metaverse gateway and more…
By being the preferred entry point for its retail clients, the mobile operator thus becomes the partner of choice for providers of online services.
“the integration of the Digital DKYC in our on-line sales processes allowed a much faster onboarding process of new customers and significantly reduce waste in back- office. It is a major step forward in a true digital transformation towards our customers and a key enabler for a next-gen risk management.
Yves DECHILLY, Director billing and Risk management, Proximus
“DigitalKYC creates a competitive edge for mobile operators by significantly enhancing the client experience and further by empowering the offering of a broad spectrum of mobile based services… “
Frank ROESSIG, Head Digital Trust Solutions, Proximus Luxembourg
1 GSMA Access to Mobile Services and Proof of Identity 2021, April 2021
2 Risk Assurance Group RAFM Survey 2020
3 McKinsey Digital, Digital identification: A Key to Inclusive Growth, April 2019