Getting customers to embrace new digital channels is one of the defining business challenges of our time. 84% of companies are failing in this regard – whilst the successful minority are growing rapidly and making headlines.
We know which of the two groups we’d rather fall into.
For many brands, the key obstacle to digital transformation is resistance from customers. This is a persistent, growth-restricting problem – but there’s so much we can do to make it better.
In this article, we’re going to outline five effective ways to help customers embrace digital transformation. If you can nail each point, you’ll be well placed to get more customer buy-in for your digital journey.
Evolution vs. Transposition
Change is always going to be more appealing when it represents a clear improvement. The customer can see that the service is being evolved, not merely shunted over to a new format for the company’s benefit.
Most of us will have been unfortunate enough to have used apps that provide automated customer service, but not a lot else. This often represents a clear downgrade on human interactions in-store.
Far better to be like Monzo, which offers an evolved digital banking service that would not be practicable offline.
If your digital platform gives customers something life-improving that they can’t get elsewhere, the chance of them buying into that platform will improve greatly.
This brings us on to our second factor…
Ask not what your digital platform can do for you; ask what your digital platform can do for your customers.
Lots of businesses build their products around what they want – cutting costs, furthering tactical objectives and so on. This approach is problematic, because it can create sub-par experiences for customers.
Meanwhile, we can guarantee that other brands in your field will be serving the same demographics selflessly. Customer-centric companies are naturally oriented to create the best solutions for their customers’ problems. As a result, they tend to get the best engagement.
We have reason to believe plenty of brands are failing to act upon this reality, despite recognising it to be true.
An Actual Experience report published last year revealed 80% of business leaders have admitted switching to a competitor while shopping online, due to the shortcomings of their own brand’s customer experience. It’s hard to believe that all these execs would switch to a competitor if their own platforms were truly customer-centric.
The insurance industry provides countless examples of brands missing opportunities to better serve their customers. The average customer needs to buy insurance for lots of different things – household, car, pets, etc. – and yet, have you ever encountered a major insurer that provides a way to store all those policies in one easy-to-access, digital location? This is a missed opportunity to help customers and gather valuable data.
If you’re interested in identifying digital opportunities in this particular sector, we refer you to our article on apps and the insurance industry.
Most of us won’t consider changing our habits before we’ve seen plenty of other people doing the same.
This creates a conundrum for brands undergoing digital transformation: how to get the ball rolling?
In our experience, the trick is to make consumer uptake of your new digital channels as visible as possible. This provides social proof – which is precisely what wavering customers want to see before they make the transition to digital.
There are lots of different ways we can demonstrate social proof, including:
- Viral waiting lists – e.g. the waiting list for Monzo current accounts
- App download counters
- Social media posts celebrating download milestones (e.g. “We just welcomed our 10,000th app user! Find out how you can benefit by becoming the 10,001st.”)
- Encouraging and incentivising customers to review the app
- Content marketing to support the app (e.g. trailers, explainer videos, online guides)
The great thing about social proof is that it’s self-perpetuating. Once you’ve encouraged one set of customers to try it, this creates the impetus for an entirely different set to do the same. Optimising your app and B2C interactions to increase social proof can boost this effect exponentially.
Make something that’s regularly useful
Every week we encounter flashy apps that do one thing spectacularly well, but then provide no use to the customer for months at a time.
These apps are a bit like prosecco – rapidly consumed in a fizz of enthusiasm, but probably not revisited all that often.
A truly great app is more like the milk in your fridge – something you use every day. Regular engagement reduces the likelihood of the app getting deleted or moved from the user’s home screen.
Banking apps are some of the “milkiest” out there, because the services they provide are used often, and switching providers is rare. This is great news for banking providers, as it ensures a high likelihood of customers keeping their apps on their phones.
However, people working in many other industries – such as telecoms and travel – are less fortunate. In many cases their customers are only likely to use core services in-app once every three-to-six-months. This creates a very real chance of the app either being removed from the customer’s home screen, or deleted.
Thankfully, there’s a solution to this problem. By providing value-added app services in addition to their core service offering, brands can secure regular engagement from their audience.
You can find lots of examples of how to turn an app from a one-use-wonder into a home screen staple in our article on customer engagement with digital channels.
If you’ve implemented all the points we’ve made so far, you will almost certainly have seen some improvement in customer uptake of your digital channel.
You will have evolved your service to give customers a compelling reason to go digital; you’ll have created a superior experience by thinking of customer needs first; you’ll have made your channel suitable for regular use; and you’ll have provided the social proof needed to convince people to click ‘Download’.
If you’ve tried all the above with limited success, you can go a step further by offering download incentives such as coupons, special promotions and exclusive content. We’re happy to say this probably won’t be necessary.