Between the protests, riots and lockdowns that have been disrupting lives across the world over the past year, it’s become a business imperative to move your customers over to your digital and online services. Without these, you may not be able to serve customers because their lives have been disrupted beyond your ability to reach them.
That’s why we recently released our eBook, Digitise Your Customers: The “How To” Guide , which lays out the tangible framework within which your digitization should take place.
But, as important as that is, there is a little more to engaging your customers with your online efforts than following the appropriate steps and making sure that the digital infrastructure is in place.
You can’t just build a platform; you have to figure out how to actually bring your customers along for the ride – and that means making them want to join you.
And that’s what this article is for: unpacking some of the considerations that should be kept in mind, but that are so commonly forgotten, when companies digitally onboard customers.
Understanding Ethnography: Align To Customer Lifestyle
From your perspective, your customers may have every reason to get on board with your digitisation rollout. It will allow you to better serve their needs, and will enhance convenience, both for your company and for the market. Win-win.
But the road to bad customer experience is often paved with good intentions. And you know from your own life that humans are creatures of habit. Our lifestyles may not always fit into perfectly logical boxes, and the more that we have to change those lifestyles to fit a service, the harder it’s going to be to convince us that the service is worth using at all.
Creating a positive customer experience, and therefore goodwill for your brand requires a more nuanced approach.
For example, ordering products online and then being able to relax at home while you wait for your order to arrive, makes perfect sense.
But something that fast food restaurants long ago learned, is that sometimes the customer isn’t sitting at home. Sometimes they’re on their way home from work, or grabbing a bite to eat en route to an event. Hence, for almost as long as delivery has been an option, so has pick-up of an order made online or telephonically.
Remember that, especially for existing and long-time customers, interaction with your brand might form a part of a broader daily routine. Understanding what your customers’ routines, traditions or personal rituals are allows you to better integrate them into your digital world.
Look no further than popular pharmacy, Dischem’s Click & Collect service offering for a contemporary local example. By providing express queues for pick-up of online orders, Dischem offers a tangible convenience benefit that their customers do not have to alter their lives to take advantage of.
By utilising comprehensive market research, you can better understand the habits of your customers, and craft journey maps to inform your approach to digital onboarding.
To incentivise or not to incentivise
The jury is still out on the value of incentives programmes as accelerants to the digital transition of your customers.
On one hand, a study put out by the Sogeti Group, discovered that social media sentiment of loyalty programmes was shockingly poor, with 89% of respondents having an unfavourable opinion of loyalty programmes.
On the other hand, that same study highlighted complaints that are not necessarily intrinsic to incentives. Some of the top reasons for the poor review of loyalty programmes were:
· Rewards that are irrelevant to the customer;
· Rigid reward structures; and,
· Poor user experience of online channels.
As you can see, customer and user experience are central to the expectations of the market. And so, while we can’t offer a one-size-fits-all definitive answer to the question of whether or not incentives should always be used in digital onboarding, we would suggest that maybe companies should start viewing incentives differently.
Exclusive Books (now Exclus1ves) became one of South Africa’s first online retail success stories, through their gamified loyalty programme for online purchases. The key differences between this and more traditional incentives, is that it was not purely transactional in nature. The programme rewarded customers for engagement beyond just purchases, and it gamified social media engagement in such a way as to turn digitally-native customers’ behaviour into acts of brand ambassadorship.
Bear in mind that many modern customers see brands as being a part of “the establishment”, and contemporary knee-jerk distrust of the establishment means that you want to be very conscious of how you position digitisation. Messaging is central to the brand experience,
In your messaging, be encouraging, not bullying; be helpful, not forceful; and always be as transparent as possible. Underpinning your messaging should be the sentiment that digitisation will help your customers, and that is its primary purpose. And, especially in certain industries and sectors, such as finance, messaging should also cater to potential underlying concerns about cybersecurity.
Customer Experience Expertise
Modern customers are sophisticated, informed, and individualistic. But they often don’t know what they want, until you fail to provide it. Understanding both the customer’s needs and their unspoken expectations requires diligent methodology and deep insights, but it is the best path to successfully digitising them in alignment with your supply chain (assuming that you follow the necessary the steps).
If you’re taking on the task of digitising your customers, or if you’re experiencing difficulty in rolling out your current digitisation and onboarding efforts, contact Interact RDT and let’s talk about how we can help you out.