Organisations are constantly looking for ways to improve the customer experience and keep consumers happy. However, this has become increasingly complex as digital devices have changed the ways in which individuals expect to interact with businesses and Local Authorities. With this in mind, we take a look at how the digital journey can be enhanced by adapting to changes in customer behaviour.

Customers Digital Behaviour Is Changing

The remarkable pace of technological development has ensured consumers have access to a dizzying array of digital devices, the vast majority of which are capable of performing complex tasks on the go. While the mobile phone remains the versatile, all-rounder of choice, homes across the country also have access to a multitude of other devices. Whether it’s laptops, tablets, televisions, smart watches, or AI assistants, digital tech has taken over our everyday lives.

The ubiquitous nature of this tech has resulted in dramatic changes to consumer behaviour. In 2008, just 17% of the UK population owned a smartphone. Now, that figure stands at a staggering 78%. Amongst 16-24 year-olds, it rises to 95%. Tablet ownership now exceeds 50% of the population and this increase has coincided with a marked decline in the number of desktop computers in UK homes. Essentially, digital access is becoming more mobile, flexible, and focused on easy access.

So what does this mean for the behaviour of individuals who have access to all this digital technology?

Interestingly, 60% of UK adults use at least two devices every day. 40% of adults regularly start a task on one device and complete it on another (though this figure actually increases the more devices an individual owns). Importantly, consumers prefer certain devices for certain tasks. Smartphones are versatile researchers, while laptops are the workhorse of the digital device family, and tablets are preferred for entertainment purposes.

How Do These Changes Affect What’s Expected of You?

If customers’ natural inclination is towards increasingly flexible and intuitive device usage, this is also what they’re expecting of their interactions with your organisation. They want any and all communication with a business or service provider to be fluid and responsive. They’re demanding easy interfaces and the streamlining of important processes. As their device usage has become more reflexive, compulsive, and quick, they (consciously or unconsciously) demand that organisations build digital systems that accommodate this type of behaviour.

This has resulted in an emphasis on greater personalisation (nobody likes filling in their details over and over again), access to services through a wide variety of channels, 24/7 customer service, and speed of response. Just under 70% of device users would now rather successfully self-serve via automated technologies than speak to a human agent. In fact, voice technologies are increasingly perceived as a means of escalating issues, instead of the first port of call.

Adapting Existing Technology to New Realities

However, traditional technologies still play an essential role in customer service provision and no one is arguing that older technology should be done away with just yet. For most businesses and local authorities, telephony systems remain one of the primary means by which customer contact is initiated. This makes it an effective means of encouraging channel shift and pushing customers and service users towards channels that better reflect their needs and also help organisations cut costs and free up human agents for more valuable work.

In this way, Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems have become indicative of the way existing technologies can be adapted to new realities. Linking the IVR telephony system to SMS Mobile Web and Chatbot services ensures customers move towards those channels they prefer to use, while also ensuring that an array of options are open to them. It is this seamless movement from channel to channel that now defines the customer journey and has become the model for satisfactory customer experiences.

IVR is also being developed in ways that make it increasingly relevant to those generations who have never had access to a landline and only known a smartphone. Mobile web platforms now allow users to interact with IVR across a variety of channels and using the smartphone’s screen to view important information, forms, and images. The movement towards greater flexibility and the integration of diverse channels into intuitive user interfaces demonstrate the direction in which the customer journey is ultimately heading.

The Benefits of Channel Shift to Your Organisation

Local Authorities and businesses also benefit from encouraging greater channel shift and more seamless customer journeys due to the extent to which increasingly complex enquiries are able to be processed by automating technologies.

If high-volume enquiries are able to be resolved using technologies like chatbots and online forms, organisations can reduce expenditure, improve the availability of their customer service, and free up human agents to handle more complex tasks and play a greater role in assisting vulnerable citizens. Essentially, working together to create a seamless system benefits both parties.

However, for this to occur, organisations need to ensure that these technologies are accessible via other self-serve channels and that customers are being encouraged to use them.

It’s Not Just About Customers Though…

Though customers need to be able to move seamlessly between channels, their data has to follow if the system is to function as it should. This means that a satisfactory customer experience depends on the free flow of information around an organisation, the ability of employees to access personal data at any time, regardless of the channel through which it was originally input, as well as the breaking down of digital silos within an organisation. Making the customer journey as streamlined as possible is key to satisfying service users, many of whom will simply end an interaction if it proves too lengthy, complex, or repetitive.

What next?

If businesses and local authorities are to provide their customers with an experience that reflects the way most individuals use their digital devices, interactions must be quick, flexible, available 24/7 across a number of channels and, where possible and appropriate, automated. With modern technologies, an omnichannel approach and an emphasis on channel shift solutions, this is well within most organisations’ reach. Talk to the experts at Inform today to get started.