4 Ideas for you to consider
Digitization – either selling to or advising customers via online channels or apps is high on the agenda. Whether it is about increasing your reach in the market, strengthening the customer relationship, or saving costs, we are all working on it. Often you need some steps for that. To learn, and to make a good connection between online and physical services.
Is digitization something that you are working on for your organization? Then consider these 4 steps:
- How do customers experience your current services, and what do they think can be improved?
- What can and want customers to do themselves via digital solutions?
- On which moments in the customer journey do they want advice or personal contact?
- How you can slice the customer journey in DIY digital steps and moments where direct contact with an employee is needed?
And make sure you get started with digitization and learn from it. That will pay out better, than relentlessly trying to automate everything and putting your “perfect” digital solution out there too late.
Transparency and the new loyalty
Not everyone works for a startup that comes with a new proposition from scratch. We therefore see all kinds of solutions. Varying from ‘fully on-line’ working based on the ideal customer journey, with home delivery; or the retailer with a ‘mix of online and in-store’ sales, to store sales with the possibility of ‘online service in the evenings’.
Online retailers are increasingly competing for convenience and personalising their offer. The transparency in the market (eg clothing, shoes) leads to a different buying behavior. Don’t you first compare on-line if you need something? Think of the consumers we meet in the store every day, trying the product and then checking the price online before they proceed to buy.
Hey, I promised our daughter a new bike, and spent more than half an hour yesterday to check her favourite brand and models online. I was lucky to find two bike centers in town that would match the price of the online retailers, so in the end we will buy it from one of them.
Standard or customised?
It does make a difference in digitization whether you are a retailer, business service provider or government. For example, do you sell standardised products (cars, clothing, tools, food)? Or do you provide advice, customisation or one-off products? Within one organisation you can even deal with standard services that are more focused on a transaction, and at the same time with advice or more complex services where knowledge is important to provide a good solution for the customer.
For example, if you go want to renew your passport, it is clear what you want and you expect a fairly standard interaction with the government. But a building permit for your new home, or arranging a stairlift plus home adjustments for your parents is something you do not often do, and where you need advice.
Customer journey as guidance
Our vision is therefore that you have to look closely at how the customer journey is put together. What is the customer looking for, what does he or she expect as information to consider you and what is expected in a purchase transaction online, and how important is service after the sale?
We see that it is not only about satisfaction afterwards (for example measured with the Net Promoter Score), but also about how easy you are to find and make contact, find information and be advised and helped to do a transaction. This is known as the Customer Effort Score.
Cut the process into steps
Therefore look at what the customer wants to achieve, what he or she needs and how you can simplify or accelerate that, so that it fits well with these needs. Then you start with possible solutions where you cut the process into steps that can be handled by the customer online in one go, and steps where advice or personal contact with your organization is needed.
An example where the technology can help to do business remotely is the use of your smartphone. If you are stranded somewhere by car, you can use WhatsApp to share your location, or show what is wrong with photos or video. This way it is clear to the road assistance folks who is closest to your location, what the technical issue is and it can speed up fixing it. You should be at your destination with less delay than without sharing this information.
If you want solar panels on your house, a call with the solar provider is sufficient. They look at your roof via satellite photo’s, ask a few questions about your house and half an hour later you will receive a quotation with a step-by-step plan in your email. The next step is that you take pictures of your electrical wiring and your roof. Just fill out the contract, submit the pictures for the engineers and schedule the installation date.
These examples how to simplify and accelerate the start of a customer journey with technology that is available to almost everyone.
Do not digitise everything
Coming back to a government case. Not everything has to be digital immediately from the start. A recent survey by Good2Consult showed that home care recipients say in hindsight that they have waited too long to actively look for help. As a result, they do not always have a grip on their situation when they seek support. Due to illness or personal circumstances, they may be out of balance. At that moment they need someone to speak with, who thinks along and knows what is possible and necessary and who starts things up.
A phone call is then preferred as channel to reach out for help. Using a website or driving up to the town hall to discuss their needs was clearly not. It turned out that calling to obtain a date within the next two weeks to discuss their needs with a care professional was key for them. Having a date set, they know they can start working on solutions soon. Once the home care was started or even completed, they find it reassuring to be able to contact their personal care coordinator via WhatsApp.