Novice users of digital communication need extra supportPublished on 23 Nov 2020
There is no doubt that 2020 catapulted companies many years forward in their long-term digital transformation plans. To continue providing services, the most critical task was to switch previously physical services and touchpoints to digital alternatives. While this was a major boost for digital transformation, the shift to digital customer communication was so abrupt that many businesses had to resort to short-term interventions to keep in touch with their customers.
Not only did companies have to adapt very quickly to a new digital-only paradigm, but consumers had no option but to begin interacting digitally if they wanted to do their banking, pay bills or get assistance. This was especially challenging for novice users of digital communication.
Some only made the move to digital communication because they could no longer use the physical or in-person channels they actually preferred.
If the COVID-19 lockdown hadn’t happened, they would still be visiting branches, calling support centers and opening their mail.
Additional support is vital for novice users of digital communication
It’s important to recognize that many people did not move across to digital customer communication by choice. These reluctant digital converts may be unsure of their ability to use digital channels effectively and therefore fear putting themselves at risk.
Companies need to pay extra attention to supporting new converts to digital customer communication, for a number of reasons:
1. Maintaining a good CX: by providing extra information on what to expect from digital customer communication, the benefits of staying digital, and the best ways to get support in a digital-first environment, companies can ensure that these customers continue to have a positive experience when interacting.
2. Avoiding churn away from digital: in the absence of special attention, these customers may move back to physical interaction when they are no longer restricted. These are typically more expensive for the business than digital alternatives.
This means any cost-saving derived from the migration to digital will be eroded, as customers opt to return to in-person interactions or print/post communication.
3. Helping customers stay safe: digital-novices may be unaware of how sophisticated cybercriminals have become and the kind of behavior that could put their information at risk.
It benefits the organization to help its customers keep their information safe and secure. Part of doing this is leveraging digital customer communication to provide education on cyber risk and how digital behavior could result in negative consequences.
Improve the customer experience
Under the pressure of the initial lockdown, it was understandable that companies approached the shift with a “get it working” mindset, rather than making each communication a great customer experience. Now that the dust is settling, there’s an opportunity to revisit the short-term interventions put in place to enable digital interaction, with a focus on upgrading and aligning the customer experience.
The end goal is for all digital customer communication, across all customer journeys, to be consistent in look and feel, tone and simplicity of action. No matter when or how a customer interacts with the organization, or which journey they are currently on, the experience should be a consistently positive one.
When it comes to supporting newcomers to digital customer communication, go the extra mile in providing information and education to keep your customers safe, and help them move beyond novice users to become digital enthusiasts.
Commercial Director, Africa