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The Evolving Digital Customer

Posted by Matthew Vallance

It is beyond doubt that digital technology has changed the service delivery landscape for brands and consumers alike. As I write this, digital channels and tools of engagement are evolving to revolutionize the way companies and customers engage in the future. A plethora of engagement tool - be it real time web content management, mobile apps, knowledge base assisted chat, automation, pairing solutions, co-browsing technologies, enable effective and cost efficient interactions which  improve customer experience and drive advocacy for brands.

So much so that digital technology can now effectively address vital touch points in the customer journey previously handled through traditional contact channels. For example, a car manufacturer might dispel the need for maintaining a network of expensive dealerships and focus on selling online. This might involve providing highly interactive experiences through means of video chatting, co-browsing user screens etc. And when the customer needs to sample, touch or feel the product (in this case, carry out a test run) the manufacturer will deliver the request right to their doorstep! This is surely e-tailing at its best – providing consistently good experiences online, in a cost efficient manner while calling into question the need for old brick-and-mortar models.

[caption id="attachment_728" align="alignnone" width="620"]Image removed. The Evolving Digital Customer[/caption]

Another example of a traditional sector that is slowly but surely transforming its service delivery landscape, thanks to digitization of customer care,  is banking.  Banking is a fairly conservative industry that doesn’t change quickly. Many banks embraced the use of technology for customer care since the first wave of online banking in the late 1990s. Nowadays, any bank worth its salt offers comprehensive online services across devices, and customers find the ability to access their bank 24/7 extremely useful. But apparently this is just not enough for the ‘connected customer’ . According to a recent survey, more than 61% of customers aged 18 to 30 are demanding Whatsapp-style customer service messaging after shunning all traditional means of communication with their bank . In addition to mobile messaging, young consumers also prefer speaking to an agent over a video call when they have a question rather than ‘call’ or ‘drop in’. Little wonder then that every major British bank is closing its branches, while research points out that customers will use branches half as much in 3 years time.

Banking as an industry is changing and a huge catalyst has been customer expectations of how, why and when service is being delivered. It’s another great example of how the brick-and-mortar model is making way for agile, 24/7 e-tailing model, powered by digital technology.

What are your thoughts about this increasing digitisation of customer care – send me your comments @vallancematt

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