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Change your perspective: Lessons in channel shift

As we experience the demise of paper and the rise of digital channels to interact with customers, we have developed six guiding principles for businesses to seamlessly make the channel shift to digital without compromising customer experience. Through our work with NS&I, we developed some simple and successful guiding principles.

Channel shift. Digital first. Familiar words that, to put it bluntly, represent the demise of paper and the rise of digital channels to interact with customers. This channel shift makes perfect financial sense for business, and on paper (no pun intended) it is seemingly more convenient. But what about the reality of the poor old customer experience in this sea of change?

Striking a successful balance between reduction in the cost of service delivery and giving the customer what they need has no silver bullet. But through our work with NS&I, we developed some simple and successful guiding principles:

  1. Don’t assume

It’s a common misconception that older customers or those from deprived areas won’t and don’t use digital services. Not all true. Look at mobile usage and think about how the service experience deploys on that device. It’s a route to digital interaction, as well as a beautifully simple approach to designing the experience.

  1. Make it intuitive

Making the digital experience as intuitive as possible gives the user a smart sense of logic and familiarity, desirable whether they’re occasional or experienced users.

  1. Sell it

Clearly communicate the benefits and advantages digital channels can provide to your customers, rather than trying to play down the channel shift or hang on to the familiar. Customers may not automatically consider the change a benefit, so it is important to do as much as possible to encourage trial and drive adoption.

  1. Start small

It’s tempting to tackle the biggest channel shift opportunity first (say a transactional site or customer portal) – because it could deliver the greatest benefit. But it will also present the greatest potential risk too, so start small, understand how customers react and behave – then tackle the big shifts and builds, using insight and experience.

  1. Provide support

Don’t take away all other channel access overnight. Understand not just the interaction between different channels, but also the best way and medium to provide help and support to your customers. This could be a combination of online self-serve with a live telephone option back-up too.

  1. Understand the fear of change

Different doesn’t always signal better – especially if different is the portal that now connects you to your savings. So, reassurance and encouragement, as well as guidance, is valuable to build into the journey.

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