The four personalities of digital transformation
Digital disruption is upon us and no company can ignore it if they want to survive. Across every industry, customers are demanding greater mobility with quick and easy access to information. Most of all, they demand a satisfying, efficient user experience at every interaction.
According to analyst firm IDC, worldwide spending on digital transformation technologies (DX) surpassed $1.1 trillion in 2017, an increase of 17.8% over 2016. IDC expects DX spending to maintain its torrid pace for the rest of the decade, achieving a compound annual growth rate of 17.9% until it reaches $2.1 trillion in 2020.
Despite the extensive expenditure to create powerful apps and secure, friendly websites, DX adoption rates are not taking off at the same rate. For example, a study by Avoka, whose cloud based platform, Avoka Transact, enables financial institutions to come to market rapidly, concluded that most banks failed to capitalize on their investments in digital marketing and channels, suffering a 70-90% abandonment rate whenever customers attempted a simple act like opening an online account, with similar stories found in insurance, government, telecom and more.
What is holding up the obviously beneficial trend toward digital transformation? Why aren’t people racing toward to the promised nirvana of everything being just a screen-tap away?
To make their digital offering more attractive, companies need to look at their customers not as a homogenous body anxiously waiting to be digitally transformed, but as four distinct groups, each requiring their own unique approach. Let’s look at the four personalities of digital transformation, starting with the highest level of technology proficiency. For simplicity sake, we’ve named them obsessed, active, aware and reluctant.
Highly technically oriented people tend to be classic early adopters. Far from reticence to engage with the unknown, these people embrace the latest and the greatest. They download any app they think is cool, tinker with it, and explore its nooks and crannies.
For these digital users, it’s all about instant gratification. They fatigue quickly, ceasing their use of apps that do not offer constant stimulation. Tech-obsessed people seldom become long-term loyal customers as they are always on the lookout for the next thrill. If the newly released version of your competitor’s app is a bit more exciting than yours, you are liable to lose this customer.
If you want a constant stream of the tech-obsessed to visit you via your digital services, you had better be prepared to keep offering new and interesting content and features.
Typically in their mid-30s to early-50s, tech-active people try to do everything online – and that includes shopping for groceries, buying airplane tickets, and signing up to see the doctor. These people haven’t walked into a bank branch in years. They consider it undignified to actually speak with a human customer-service agent, preferring to do it all via mobile app, website, or chat, if necessary.
Do you want to attract the tech-active demographic? It’s all about user experience (UX). They will become customers and stay loyal for as long as they can enjoy the ride. Make sure their UX is always efficient and that they can complete their transactions digitally from start to finish.
People above 50 years of age tend to fall in the Tech-Aware category. Having owned PCs for decades (they may even have been tech-obsessed themselves 20 years ago), these people are major digital users. They come equipped with smartphones and spend time nurturing their Facebook account.
Tech-aware people understand and like technology, but not for its own sake. They measure it by its utility, efficiency and effectiveness. If a digital service is easy to use, saving them time and money, they’ll go for it, but not just because it’s digital. They are “hybrids” who still enjoy the “human touch” when it comes to their financial portfolios and customer service, but for other things, digital is just as good.
To attract and keep the tech-aware, you need to establish real value in the digital interaction. Once you get them used to your website or mobile app, they will remain loyal, using that same channel for years.
People of all ages, especially those not overly familiar with technology, are reluctant to change from the “tried and true” ways of the past. They don’t understand technology or simply don’t trust it. “What’s wrong with using a phone call to a real person?” they might ask.
If they use a digital channel at all, it is often in a very limited fashion. For example, your company website might be useful for information, but when they want to talk to you, they want human interaction first and foremost. They are likely to use the website for nothing more than to find the call center phone number.
Typically, the tech-reluctant don’t fret over a social profile and, if they do, there is just one such network, usually Facebook. These folks are sensitive about their privacy and don’t want to be exposed to strangers. Hence, they are always late to the digital game.
With proper guidance and lots of interaction, tech-reluctant people can be persuaded to use specific digital channels, at least for simple tasks like checking their bank account balances, topping up their data plan and paying the electric bill. But once you have them transformed, they stay as loyal to their new digital format as they were to the old one. In fact, they won’t budge from it.
Catering to the four personalities
If yours is an organisation that caters to one or two of these groups, the types of digital formats that will attract and keep customers is easy to define. For example, the Social Security Administration can probably focus on tech-reluctant people as it formulates its digital strategy. The local supermarket’s demographic profile will be considerably younger and have familiarity with a host of apps, as these tech-actives will be carrying a smartphone. If your company offers tickets to concerts, be prepared to make ultra-frequent and significant changes to your digital channels (and forget the PC – they don’t use computers).
Advice for successful digital transformations
Many companies cater to a wide variety of people and wish to provide a combination of digital channels that will attract and keep customers of all types. What should these companies do?
- Invest in digital channels
If you don’t, your competitors will and you will lose your most valued assets – your customers. While you’re at it, add new channels that will appeal to new groups and always upgrade, upgrade, upgrade.
- Improve the customer journey
Pay careful attention to simplicity of the interactions and continue to tweak over time. The user interface is most critical component – make it attractive and efficient. Continue to add self-service capabilities that appeal to the tech-active and tech-aware populations, allowing them to become independent of service agents, but keep the ability to get a real person on the phone easily for the tech-reluctant.
- Balance the digital channels
Enable customers to select from multiple channels, also known as omni-channel, and ensure the same high level of service across all channels. Nobody should feel punished for the channel used so users should also have the ability to stop the process in one channel and to pick it up in another. For example, they could start filling in a form on a mobile phone and to complete it on a PC.
- Adopt tools and strategies that transform non-digital interactions into digital
Offer users simple ways to resolve low-value requests without tying up human resources. Quite often digital menus are designed by service organizations according to their own “filing system” rather than their users’ desired journeys. Stay in close contact with your customers to find out what they do and don’t like about your digital offering and adopt a digital approach that presents service options according to personal preference.
- Let your service agents become digital transformation champions
Invest in agent-side tools and train your contact-center staff to participate in the transformation process. Empower agents with advanced tools that improve the user experience across all channels of the interaction. Tools that enable collaboration, co-browsing and video chat are very effective in turning tech-aware and even tech-reluctant people into serious digital-channel aficionados.
For companies that effectively tailor their self-service technologies to these four digital transformation profiles, there is a significant win-win outcome waiting to happen. Customers will appreciate the attention to detail and the improved level of service, while companies will realise substantial business gains.
By Ori Faran, founder and CEO of CallVU