Every industry has a different way of selling their products or services, but there’s one thing that consumers of all industries now demand: digital offerings.
A recent survey by McKinsey suggests that industries across regions experienced an average of 20% growth in “fully digital” users in the six months ending in April 2021. This shows that it’s not just a lockdown/pandemic phenomenon (though it may have been spurred by it), but people are continually turning to digital options — websites, apps, email, online chat, SMS, video chat — as their way of interacting with businesses.
Companies have a huge opportunity (and responsibility) to expand their offerings and “go digital” to better keep up with consumer demand and position themselves for the future of business.
While the majority of consumers are leaning towards digital options wherever possible, according to McKinsey’s survey, 44% of consumers still don’t fully trust digital services. That’s an alarming percentage, given how much the average consumer spends using digital products. But it’s a great opportunity for companies to gain loyalty by building a relationship with consumers based on trust.
Building trust with consumers will look different for different industries. For example, the financial services industry (particularly banks), which has one of the highest percentages of online customers, can communicate enhanced cybersecurity measures as well as offer more secure payment processes. The healthcare industry can increase data security to ensure that patients’ information stays confidential. Insurance, travel, and retail companies can increase trust by prioritizing monetary issues: reimbursements, overcharges, and undelivered services.
With recent headlines of big tech companies misusing data, it’s no wonder that consumers are increasingly concerned with fraud prevention and protecting their data. Companies should make their customers aware of the policies and initiatives they have taken to keep their personal data safe. This can have a positive impact both on businesses and their customers. Research shows that consumers are willing to give more information if there’s a perceived advantage (like tighter security and data protection guarantees). This gives companies an opportunity to use that information to better connect with their customers and deliver more personalized, unique experiences.
Many businesses already have digital offerings for their customers, so where do they go from here? The short answer is there’s always room for improvement. There are two main areas of focus that companies should be continuously investing in during this digital age: services and user experience.
According to a recent study, 56% of dissatisfied customers showed discomfort with digital user experience/interface, and about 40% of dissatisfied users could not fully interact on digital (e.g. unable to schedule appointments online, have to call someone to make changes to an account, etc). It’s no longer enough to have some digital offerings. Businesses need to accommodate end-to-end digital experiences by making all products and services available online. And they need to do so while providing an intuitive and seamless experience. In fact, a survey that looked at the banking, auto insurance, retail energy, health insurance, and mobile communications sectors found that the quality and availability of digital interactions have a significant impact on customer satisfaction. Companies in these industries and beyond need to focus on digital user experience to remain competitive.
There is no end point for a company to reach where they can finally say, “We did it.” There will always be new technologies and capabilities that can be woven into digital offerings and improve the user experience. The companies that acknowledge this and therefore dedicate resources to staying ahead of the tech curve, will likely gain customer loyalty and market share.