It may appear to be a paradox but it seems that marketers have a better chance of getting to know their customers by not asking them who they are first, and customer-centricity doesn't always begin with gathering as much data as possible, according to research by Ping Identity, which found that increasingly lengthy and complex log-in processes and web forms are driving consumers away. This article is copyright 2013 The Best Customer Guide.

The study found that an overwhelming 80% of consumers had locked themselves out of websites because they couldn't remember their log-in details.

This is hardly surprising as nearly a quarter (24%) of respondents had log-ins for up to five websites, while an equal number juggled six to ten websites and almost a third (30%) face the logistical feat of remembering log-ins for between 11 and 20 websites.

As a result of 'password amnesia', nearly 50% of consumers have had to re-set a password, with more than one fifth (21%) having to do so on a regular basis.

The online frustration doesn't stop with passwords though. With 71%, the majority of people have abandoned a 'fill in your details' form. For 77% of these, entering the details into the form simply took too long, while 58% left the site because the form was too detailed.

More than half of respondents gave up on a website because the form demanded information they didn't have to hand, while almost a fifth were frustrated because the company didn't remember their details from their last interaction with them.

"With more than half of respondents logging into an online shopping site with a password up to five times a day, this login barrier could cost businesses dearly," said Andrew Hindle, director for Ping Identity. "That kills any loyalty you might have. If e-retailers lose a customer at that critical point in the sale, they are unlikely to return soon, if ever."

Therefore, Hindle warns, web site operators - and e-retailers in particular - must make their registration and payment processes as quick, easy, and seamless as possible, or risk customers going to competitors who do so.