Better Onboarding with Verifiable Credentials
Summary: Making onboarding easier would result in better customer experience, more customers, and reduced support costs.
Last week a friend referred me to a question on Guru.com about devices for connected cars. Since I used to do Fuse, he figured I might be able to help. I was happy to. Unfortunately, Guru wasn't so happy to let me.
You can't answer a question at Guru.com without registering, enrolling, and onboarding. Fair enough. So I started down the path. Here's their process:
Enter name and email on first screen.
Choose whether you're en employer or freelancer and set your password. Be sure to follow their password conventions. Then agree to the terms of service and agree to get emails (or not).
Enter the four-digit code that was sent to the email address you gave in (1).
Solve the captcha.
Choose whether to use 2FA or security questions to secure your account. I chose 2FA.
Verify your phone number using SMS or WhatsApp (they recommend WhatsApp). I chose SMS.
Enter the 4 digit code they send.
Continue with 2FA. I'm not sure why this screen shows up twice.
Logout and log back in.
Scan the QR code to set up a TOTP authenticator.
Enter the one-time code from the authenticator app.
Upload a photo and enter a mailing address (yes, they're required).
Congratulations! You've gone through Guru's twelve step program and you're registered! I went through all this just to discover I can't answer questions unless I pay them money. I bailed.
As I was going though this, I couldn't help thinking how much easier it could be using verifiable credentials.
Enter an email.
Scan the QR code they present using my smart wallet to establish a DID connection.
Verify information about myself that they ask for using verifiable credentials.
Credentials asserting your verified email and phone number would be easy enough to get if I don't already have them. And they've not verifying address and photo anyway, so there's no need for anything but a self-asserted credential for that. Admittedly, if I've never used verifiable credentials before they need to coach me on getting a wallet and the phone and email address credential. But they're already doing that for the authenticator app in step 10 above.
Guru's registration process is one of the most arduous I have encountered. If I were them and unwilling to use verifiable credentials, I'd at least split it up and let people add their photo, address, and authenticator app after they're already on board. Guru.com (and lots of other web sites) have to be shedding potential customers at every step in their onboarding process. I wonder if they keep track of abandoned registrations and where it happens? Does anyone? I'd love to know the numbers.
Verifiable credentials could make the onboarding experience a breeze, get more customers in the door, and reduce the cost of customer support calls associated with it.
Photo Credit: Abandoned Road from Tim Emerich (CC0)
Tags: verifiable+credentials ssi identity web