Revolutionizing the Digital Journey

Whitefish-based tech firm reduces fraud and friction for top financial institutions with ‘game-changing’ analytics

By Tristan Scott
Neuro-ID CEO Jack Alton as seen at the company’s offices in Whitefish on Feb. 25, 2020. Neuro-ID developed sophisticated JavaScript code that provides its clients highly-detailed, real-time behavioral analytics of how customers use websites and website forms. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

Despite the internet’s global dominance in nearly every corner of the financial market, companies have long struggled to master a technique that effectively buffs out the points of friction hobbling digital consumers on their journey to customer satisfaction.

An ill-timed cue on a questionnaire or survey, for example, can widen the chasm between brand and buyer beyond repair. That means understanding what stumbling blocks present the biggest obstacles for new recruits can help companies improve customer experience and maximize conversion rates.

Consider online banking. Financial institutions invest untold resources into attracting new customers, yet their conversion rates remain pitifully low, while nine out of 10 digital customer journeys result in frustration or failure.

Enter Neuro-ID, the Whitefish-based tech firm that pioneered nearly a decade of patented research to unlock a new source of real-time customer behavioral data, helping companies better understand their customers by “humanizing the digital experience” using neuroscience-based analytics.

At Neuro-ID’s soon-to-be former office in downtown Whitefish (the company’s rapid growth is driving them to more spacious digs across the viaduct), CEO and Flathead Valley native Jack Alton explained how he’s revolutionizing the digital journey by turning the focus on what can be gained versus what’s being lost.

“We are over 15 years into e-commerce, and online banking remains at single-digit conversion rates,” Alton said. “They are converting at less than 10 percent. A brick-and-mortar bank would do something if nine out of 10 customers walked out the door unhappy. We are trying to humanize the digital experience in a way that returns us to how we used to interact as businesses.”

To help companies keep a better pulse on their digital customer experience, Alton and the Neuro-ID crew have created a system that identifies and scrubs out friction by picking up on customer behaviors as they interact with their digital devices.

Using Neuro-ID’s trademarked “Friction Index,” available via a simple JavaScript installation, leading brands can see points of friction, points of hesitation and points of confidence in their customer interactions and compare those to global standards.

“This digital friction has persisted now for well over a decade, and we are flipping on a light switch so businesses can see exactly what they are putting their customers through,” Alton said.

In addition to unlocking behavioral data that helps businesses improve customer experience, Neuro-ID also provides higher detection rates of fraud by picking up on anomalous behaviors — real-time scores reflect hesitations, answer changes and movements indicating indecision.

“You can see someone moving through versus someone who might have stolen credentials, so just as we would pick up on positive and negative interactions through body language, this behavioral layer is bringing that to life in real time,” Alton said.

A fifth-generation Montanan, Alton graduated from Flathead High School and the University of Montana before embarking on a career in Texas working for the company that invented Wi-Fi. Upon moving back home so he and his wife could be closer to family, he opened a fraud detection and prevention company in Whitefish, and soon after Alton’s father-in-law introduced him to Joe Valacich, the co-founder of Neuro-ID and the creator of its patented technology, whose research has been referenced more than 26,000 times by other scientists, according to Google Scholar.

Together, they imagined a new direction for Neuro-ID that would revolutionize how financial technology firms do business by improving fraud prevention and eliminating customer friction.

“In 2017 when we decided that I would take over the company, Neuro-ID consisted of three employees working above my garage,” Alton said. “We raised two rounds of capital from local investors, which was intentional. We could have gone to the Bay area but we wanted this to be a local company, and software is the great equalizer in that it doesn’t care where you live.”

Turn the clock forward to today, and Neuro-ID has 26 employees, evenly divided between its headquarters in Whitefish and an office in Provo, Utah, and is doing business with the largest banks, online lenders and merchant inquirers in the world.

In January, Neuro-ID announced it was partnering with Informa Financial Intelligence, which for two decades has stood out as a leading provider of solutions for financial services professionals.

“A company of that magnitude doing business with a little company from Montana tells you that we’re onto something really big,” Alton said. “It tells you that what we’re doing really is game changing.”

For more information, check out Neuro-ID here.

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