Why A Dysfunctional Bank Printer Set Me Obsessing Over Digital Customer Experiences
Late in December 2020, I had a revelation. It was the sort of revelation one doesn’t trust unless it’s borne out of a personal experience.
I was in a modern bank-building in Delhi, to enquire about a specific type of deposit account. The clean-shaven, white-shirted, and somber-faced support agent was prompt in helping but then had to ask me to wait for 15 minutes, because the shared office printer was out of ink, and he went scurrying around, calling for the office boy to fix it.
Waiting for a quarter of an hour — in an air-conditioned space, seated in a well-cushioned sofa, a Nescafe coffee vending machine two paces from me — isn’t a prospect that ruffles me. As long as it’s in the real world. But when I am browsing the Internet, I am like you and every other web-surfing mortal: I hate to wait; I curse, I abandon, and I close anything that won’t “load” immediately.
So I left the bank with the thought that, perhaps, for matters such as banking (and eCommerce, and information searching, and instant-messaging, and flight-searching, and form-filling, and doing-what-we-do-on-the-web), the ‘’digital’’ is more real than the real world. And it follows that any organization that’s not obsessing over perfecting the art of designing digital customer experiences (fancily abbreviated DCX), is grazing in a minefield.
For 60+ days since then, I’ve doughed my scrambled ideas and sculpted out this post (hopefully, the text equivalent of the clean-shaven bank employee who’d flagged off the train of thoughts in my head).
How To Design Winning Digital Customer Experiences?
“Can you tell me what the issue is, again?,” says a customer support agent in Bangalore, speaking with an agonized mum in Canberra who’s been delivered a wobbly baby-stroller, has waited a week for instructions on returns and replacement and is in no humor to explain the situation for the thirteenth time.
That’s when nostrils flare, brows are furrowed, and tempers fly. And rightly so.
If you’re playing the eCommerce game, you’re playing the same game as Amazon. Your customer has the right to expect an experience that matches what they get from Amazon. And to do that, you don’t have to be as gigantic as Amazon, just be as customer-friendly as Amazon.
You’re living in a world where you have access to the same coding skills, SaaS tools, and outsourcing options as the big players. So, you owe it to your customer (and to yourself) to use the tech that allows you to deliver coherent customer experiences over digital channels.
Simplify What You Can
Your customers value their autonomy in their transactions with your business. Don’t mess it up by asking for information you don’t need, telling them stuff they don’t care for, and expecting them to jump through hoops that shouldn’t exist.
Your customers are reeling under an excess of choices. If you can simplify their experience, you delight them and retain them.
Particularly for an organization in the throes of a digital transformation, here’s the most valuable advice (even though it appears innocuous): Do not ask your vendor how it can map your 15-step workflow in software; ask how it can use technology to reduce it to a 5-step workflow.
In the last 17 years of technology services, the one factor that has helped Neuronimbus Australia — my full-stack tech solutions company — to nurture our clients’ trust, is that we’re keen to simplify.
Do What’s Intuitive
Exceptional customer experiences go detected.
Quite like one of those rare Sunday brunches in a cafe where the tiny menu has all the essentials and surprises you want, the waiters are friendly without being familiar, and the wine cellar serendipitously stocked with your favorite Cab Sav. Then, the bread arrives perfectly toasted, the eggs perfectly cooked, the coffee perfectly brewed. Everything so perfect that you can’t stop reminiscing that perfect Sunday brunch’ for years. It’s a hazy, yet happy memory.
Similarly, eCommerce experiences where one act seems to blend into another until the ‘order successful’ message appears on the customer’s screen, are destined for success.
Powering intuitive workflows is the engine of predictive data analytics. Think of predictive analytics as an army of wise elves marching inside your business applications, anticipating user-actions, keeping relevant options ready, and removing anything that threatens to block the journey of the user.
To make predictive data analytics work for you, look for a technology services partner who has done it well for businesses from a variety of industries. That’s because success with predictive analytics is a function of tech mastery, as well as understanding consumer purchase behaviors in great depth.
Brace Up For The Back-Breaking Task of Systems Integration
Every business poses as an Egyptian cotton, 1000 thread count luxury sheet, while in reality, it’s a patchwork quilt, made from countless separate blocks working (or trying to work) as a unit.
Over the last 10 years, I’ve worked with clients who will use any system that gets the job done, right from a shoebox for accounts to a chatbot to answer FAQs. Obviously, Aunt Trouble pops her crusty old head soon enough, asking the same brain-busting question: How do we integrate all these systems to build a cohesive codified version of your business?
At the end of the day, I guess you just need technology vendors who will jump into the lake for you, dive to find how deep it is, and fight when the gators strike. That’s the only way you get crucial integrations done, particularly for a business organization working with a certain number of legacy applications. The rewards justify the pains, because integrated systems are like the road network that gets your customers from point A to point B in minimum time, safely and happily.
If you’re not already an Internet-first organization, you will be in the next 3 years. The sooner you start defining your successes as outcomes linked to digital customer experiences, the lighter you’ll tread and the easier you’ll breathe in the near future.