Getting information to customers today consists of using emailed documents, mobile apps, web portals and text messaging, supplanting large print houses inserting streams of paper into envelopes and hauling them off to the post office.
The benefits are clear: business saves costs and improves efficiency; customers get their information faster, in a format they can use, knowing it is better protected than inside an envelope.
In the Gartner Flipping to Digital Leadership report, “Digitalisation is no longer a sideshow - it has moved to centre stage and is changing the whole game. …. Seizing this opportunity requires flipping long-held behaviours and beliefs - from a legacy perspective to a digital one in information and technology leadership…”
Michael Wright, CEO at paperless communication specialist, Striata agrees, “In the same report, Gartner talks about fundamentally changing the approach to information from ‘legacy first’ to ‘digital first’. Those organisations able to make the break from nurturing legacy systems to adopting technologies that enable digitisation of their business processes and customer engagement, will move into the digital era ahead of their competitors.”
“However, digital interaction between a business and its customers is not a new concept. We have been able to find business information on the web for two decades and received bank statements and other personal documents by email for 15 years. Mobile apps have provided ways to view information and interact, even transact, directly with an organisation for at least five years. The concept of simply moving information from paper to digital is no longer innovative. The new frontier for customer experience in communication is interactivity.
“While the era of digital engagement is well underway, another shift is taking place in the customer communication management arena. The first part of the digitisation of paper processes saw the migration of print processes to a simple reproduction of the print document in a static format, secured and emailed to the recipient or stored for retrieval through a web portal.”
That era has passed, and the future of digital communication lies in providing an interactive, engaging and useful digital experience that encourages a conversation between the business and the customer.
“The new communication engagement is a dialogue and seeks to provide value so that the customer can largely service themselves.”
Today’s consumers are more digitally savvy than ever before and require a much higher level of engagement with their own data. This is driving the next leap forward in customer communication by enabling customers to interact with a document in a way that allows the user to drive how the information is received, viewed and analysed.
“A digital interactive experience will include features that empower the consumer, such as mobile payment options, graphing/sorting of data, digital forms, electronic signatures and for those that still like a physical record, the ability to generate a print version of the data.”
Security of personal information
“A close second to interactivity and perhaps the foundation of the successful digitisation of processes is the absolute security of the personal information at all points in the digital journey. Customers need to be confident that any digital communication channel used to send or receive personal information is secure and that their information cannot be compromised at any stage during the processing, transmission or storage of that data.”
Information security is no longer the domain of the IT department - it has become one of the top priorities in the C-suite. In Protiviti’s Top Risks 2016 survey, more than half of the respondents viewed cyber threats and privacy/identity management and security as having a significant impact on their organisation in the next year.
“The future of customer communication is undeniably digital and the future of digital communication is interactive and secure. Engaging your customers with every piece of communication should be a given not a goal,” concludes Wright.
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