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How to lose your customers: keep them frustrated

Innovation Summit gathers global experts to provide insights into data-driven strategies and the latest analytics and technology trends and innovations

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Recent research commissioned by Experian, with Forrester Consulting, revealed that most customers (51%) are so fed-up with slow sign-up processes that many will simply abandon their application altogether.

This was one of the key messages delivered by Experian South Africa at its annual Innovation Summit in Johannesburg recently, when it discussed why investment in technology and analytics is a must if business is going to meet rising customer expectations.

“We continue to live through a period of significant economic and political uncertainty and that is putting extra pressure on organisations to make efficient and effective decisions,” said Mark Wells, chief customer officer at Experian SA. “Acquiring a more sophisticated view of our customers’ behaviour and the markets we serve is critical, if we are going to survive and thrive in these unpredictable times,.

“Customer retention is one key element of this challenge. Customers no longer expect but demand a seamless end-to-end customer journey when they are dealing with organisations of all shapes and sizes, across all platforms. The secret to keeping up with their demand lies in harnessing the potential of data-driven technology.”

Offering a frictionless and fluid customer journey is vital for any business that is serious about keeping their customers happy in a fast-paced digital world. According to the Forrester Consulting research, 74% of businesses say that improving customer experience is a critical or high priority, but 28% admit they are not sure they offer a friction-free service to customers. And just 35% are using automation to help them make accurate decisions about new customers, which can radically speed up processes by removing the need for human involvement.

“The good news is that the solution is there to solve this problem. It all starts with the data,” said Wells. “By combining access to traditional and non-traditional credit data with complementary data science and machine learning tools, organisations can now access even smarter insights to understand their market and make faster, more accurate decisions, even if a customer’s circumstances change during a time of financial uncertainty.”

He said organisations need to access the widest possible data universe, encompassing internal and external data sources, traditional, non-traditional, structured and unstructured, current and historic data. They need to use data science, machine learning and on-demand analytics to reveal new and unique data attributes and patterns of consumer behaviour over time.

“By doing all this, it’s possible to widen their prospect pools by identifying new, underserved markets and customer segments without changing overall risk appetite. It also removes the costs, risks and complexity of building an integrated in-house data and analytics ecosystem,” he said.

According to the Forrester research, 82% of businesses say that they know how important data, analytics and AI are to their prospects, while 71% plan to invest in advanced analytics and automation as a priority in the next 12 months.

Said Wells: “It’s encouraging that so many businesses have identified investment in new technologies in the coming year, because it will enable them to identify the right customers and serve them far more effectively. Taking some of the pressure off in the process.”

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Huge appetite for foldable phones – when prices fall

Samsung, Huawei and Motorola have all shown their cards, but consumers are concerned about durability, size, and enhanced use cases, according to Strategy Analytics

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Foldable devices are a long-awaited disrupter in the smartphone market, exciting leading-edge early adopters keen for a bold new type of device. But the acceptance of foldable devices by mainstream segments will depend on the extent to which the current barriers to adoption are addressed.

Major brands have been throwing their foldable bets into the hat to see what the market wants from a foldable, namely how big the screens should be and how the devices should fold. Samsung and Huawei have both designed devices that unfold from smartphones to tablets, each with their own method of how the devices go about folding. Motorola has recently designed a smartphone that folds in half, and it resembles a flip phone.

Assessing consumer desire for foldable smartphones, a new report from the User Experience Strategies group at Strategy Analytics has found that the perceived value of the foldable form does not outweigh the added cost.

Key report findings include:

  • The idea of having a larger-displayed smartphone in a portable size is perceived as valuable to the vast majority of consumers in the UK and the US. But, willingness to pay extra for a foldable device does not align with the desire to purchase one. Manufacturers must understand that there will be low sell-through until costs come down.
  • But as the acceptance for traditional smartphone display sizes continues to increase, so does the imposed friction of trying to use them one-handed. Unless a foldable phone has a wider folded state, entering text when closed is too cumbersome, forcing users to utilize two hands to enter text, when in the opened state.
  • Use cases need to be adequately demonstrated for consumers to fully understand and appreciate the potential for a foldable phone, though their priorities seemed fixed on promoting ‘two devices in one’ equaling a better video viewing experience. Identification and promotion of meaningful new use cases will be vital to success.

Christopher Dodge, Associate Director, UXIP and report author said: “As multitasking will look to be a core selling point for foldable phones, it is imperative that the execution be simplified and intuitive. Our data suggests there are a lot of uncertainties that come with foldable phone ownership, stemming mainly from concerns with durability and size, in addition to concerns over enhanced use cases.

“But our data also shows that when the consumers are able to use a foldable phone in hand, there is a solid reduction of doubt and concern about the concept. This means that the in-store experience may more important than ever in driving awareness, capabilities, and potential use cases.”

Said Paul Brown, Director, UXIP: “The big question is whether the perceived value will outweigh the added cost; and the initial response from consumers is ‘no.’ The ability for foldable displays to resolve real consumer pain-points is, in our view critical to whether these devices will become a niche segment of the smartphone market or the dominant form-factor of the future. Until costs come down, these devices will not take off.”

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New exploit exposes credit cards on mobile phones

Check Point Security has found that handsets using Qualcomm chipsets that hold credit and debit card credentials are at risk of a new exploit.

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Now it’s more important than ever to update your phone.
Check Point security has found a vulnerability in mobile devices that run Android, which allows credit card details to be accessed by hackers.

Mobile operating systems like Android offer a Rich Execution Environment (REE), providing a hugely extensive and versatile runtime environment, which allows apps to run on the device. However, while bringing flexibility and capability, REE leaves devices vulnerable to a wide range of security threats. A Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) is designed to reside alongside the REE and provide a safe area on the device to protect assets and to execute trusted code. Qualcomm makes use of a secure virtual processor, which is often referred to as the “secure world”, in comparison to the “non-secure world”, where REE resides. 

But Check Point “fuzzed” a “hole” into this secure world 

In a 4-month research project, Check Point researchers attempted and succeeded to reverse Qualcomm’s “Secure World” operating system. Check Point researchers leveraged a “fuzzing” technique to expose the hole. Fuzz testing (fuzzing) is a quality assurance technique used to discover coding errors and security loopholes in software, operating systems or networks. It involves inputting massive amounts of random data, called fuzz, to the test subject in an attempt to make it crash.

Check Point implemented a custom-made fuzzing tool, which tested trusted code on Samsung, LG, and Motorola devices. Through fuzzing, Check Point found 4 vulnerabilities in trusted code implemented by Samsung (including S10), 1 in Motorola, 1 in LG, but all code sourced by Qualcomm itself. To address the vulnerability, the runtime of Android needs to be protected from both attackers and users. This is typically achieved by moving the secure storage software to a hardware-supported TEE.

Check Point Research disclosed its findings directly to the companies and gave them time to patch vulnerabilities. Samsung patched three vulnerabilities and LG patched one. Motorola and Qualcomm responded, but have yet to provide a patch, and there is no confirmation of a release date yet.

Check Point Research has urged mobile phone users to stay vigilant and check their credit and debit card providers for any unusual activity. In the meantime, they are working with the vendors mentioned to issue patches.

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