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For many large organizations, forms are a critical part of your business. But even if you’ve transitioned your forms online, chances are you are still operating from what we would call the “PDF paradigm.” So, let’s talk about why your “smart forms” may not be that smart after all. (You may read the Part 1 of the series here).
Customer expectations for mobile interactions have changed now that virtually everyone uses a smartphone or other mobile device. They want great experiences wherever they are, whenever they choose, and over any device type. Unfortunately, PDFs and hard-coded HTML forms were never designed to handle the mobile experience. If you rely on these types of forms to engage your audience, it’s time to transform your digital forms.
Transforming your static forms into great vehicles for digitally mobile interactions is well worth the effort. The remainder of this post (part 2 of a series) demonstrates the benefits of doing so.
Your mobile customers don’t ask themselves whether or not your mobile forms are great. They judge you by the mobile experience you deliver. Is it simple? Is it fast? Is it comprehensive? In fact, they expect you to deliver anything and everything over mobile, including:
According to Forrester, 44% of younger millennials and more than 50% of older millennials say they feel frustrated and annoyed when a bank’s website isn’t mobile friendly. This is why the best forms are not really forms at all. They are interactive, digital discussions that take place over any device. The end result is completion of whatever transaction a mobile customer is seeking.
Many companies are still offering the same blank fields to everyone on a web form, instead of dynamically filling forms in an intuitive, adaptive manner. That undermines the power of mobile.
By using an adaptive digital technology, you can hold “conversations” with customers and prospects based on their personal and mobile context. This means you can get all sorts of new data from them and enhance their experience in response.
Imagine pre-filling forms so customers don’t need to type. They merely tap and swipe to confirm data. And the experience can be uniquely better in many ways:
Taking advantage of the tools now available with mobile devices, you can empower customers like never before.
Digital disruptors are entering many markets, especially in banking, insurance, healthcare, education and other core services. These upstarts are targeting mobile users, because they represent the future of customer interaction. By transforming from old ways of presenting static forms to next-gen forms that drive adaptive experiences, you can avoid being disrupted, or worse, displaced.
There is also a great upshot to the digital-mobile revolution. If you transform right, you will attract more customers and make your existing ones more loyal.
This post on engagement and delivering a better personal experience discusses 1 of 5 key areas of forms transformation found in this new eBook we created based on our in-depth experience in helping businesses just like yours. The other areas addressed by the eBook include lessons to make your forms digital and mobile, minimize friction, eliminate disconnects and errors, and speed forms toward real-time process completion. Download your copy now!
And, learn more about Intelledox Infiniti Next-Generation Forms capabilities.
For many large organizations, forms are a critical part of your business. But even if you’ve transitioned your forms online, chances are you are still operating from what we would call the “PDF paradigm.” So let’s talk about why your “smart form” may not be that smart after all.
In today’s era, personalization is key to customer engagement. If you are presenting customers with static blank forms that demonstrate little knowledge of who they are and what they desire, they will abandon your business for one that better understands them and adapts to their needs and contexts. Friction like this can mean high NIGO (not in good order) or form abandonment rates.
Delivering this high level of personalization is easier than you may imagine, and the remainder of this post (part 1 of a series) demonstrates how to approach your own forms and customer experience transformation.
To fix any of your form problems, you first need to know where the problems exist. Think about the forms you ask potential or current customers to fill out to support a transaction, and then ask yourself the following questions:
If you answered “No” to any of the above questions, chances are good that you could benefit from a next-gen approach to forms and data collection.
What if next-generation forms really aren’t forms at all? Instead, they are intuitive experiences delivered through adaptive interviews.
Look at it this way – forms today help customers do what they need to do: buy a car, get insurance, apply for something, etc. How can you simplify and digitize that engagement process? Instead of a form, present an interactive digital conversation that changes based on what you know already. Next-gen forms are really guided journeys that are contextually aware based on each individual customer’s personal preferences, device and location.
It’s similar to how tax preparation software works. In an adaptive interview, you present dynamic questions to the customer based on known data and new responses. This eliminates unnecessary questions and the need to enter and re-enter information into a static form. Customers either confirm known information or provide necessary details via the shortest route possible. All of this improves their experience, speeds up the business process – and creates major operational efficiency for the enterprise.
Next-generation forms can deliver strong ROI to many parts of a business. In our experience, customer-facing areas are most often the best and most intuitive starting points. Here are a few examples:
Customer Acquisition. A lot goes into signing on new customers, including numerous forms. Anywhere from tens to hundreds of forms may currently be used for processes tied to applications, quotes, proposals, contracts and agreements, and loan origination.
Customer Onboarding. Customers are constantly surprised when businesses without next-gen forms make them repeat information they have already given to become a customer in the first place. That’s a major reason why customer onboarding is a great place to start your own transformation. Processes here include policy or other enrollment, new account opening, Know Your Customer (KYC) verification, automated billing setup, and welcome kit generation.
Customer Service. Millennials and people of even younger generations expect there to be an app for everything, or at the very least streamlined and 100% digital ways to communicate with their current service providers. Your customer service processes should all leverage next-gen forms in as many areas as possible, including insurance claims / first notice of loss, self-service account updates, “Skip a Payment” or payoff requests, financial statements of advice (SOAs), and any other information requests.
Look at it this way. You’ve spent so much in marketing and advertising to draw customers and potential customers to your business, your websites, and even your apps. Shouldn’t you be prepared to engage them the way they expect when they arrive?
Learn more about Intelledox Infiniti Next-Generation Forms capabilities here.
I was recently invited by RSM Australia to address a gathering of senior financial industry executives at their Business and Finance Symposium 2018. The theme of the symposium was “In an ever-changing business environment, are you prepared to face the future with confidence?” I spoke about “Adopting technology and automation to deliver a ‘WOW’ customer experience” and because the topic is so relevant in today’s fast paced business environment, I decided to write about it.
Let me start with a short story about my ‘Wow’ customer experience. Many years ago, I walked into a Tesco’s supermarket in London wanting to buy a bottle of Australian wine. I was excited to see that the Penfold’s 389 was on sale,50% off!! At the cash register, the price came up as the normal price. I protested that it was on sale, and the cashier happily pressed the buzzer and called out “Customer Service to the front register please, Customer Service…”
My heart rate went up and I went into defensive mode, I was prepared for the fight. I told the unusually friendly Customer Service attendant that the bottle was labelled at a cheaper price on the shelf. He walked back over with me and we had a look together.
Indeed, there was a discount price tag, but as it turned out it clearly related to the bottles of wine below the tag, and not the nice bottles of 389 above the tag.
It was clearly ‘user error’ on my part, and I mumbled something like “ah sorry my mistake”.
To my pleasant surprise, the Customer Service attendant said to me: Ma’am, it is our store policy to delight our customers so we will sell you the wine at the price you thought it was, even though it wasn’t. And so WOW, of course I was delighted.
On my way out, the cashier, who was a completely different person, said to me “Thank you, please come again”.
You betcha I will!
This was a truly WOW customer experience, and I am still raving about it 15 years later. But this was a face to face in-store experience, and they would not have known back then if I was a loyal customer or not, or what I purchased, or when.
I want you to hold that thought.
I have spent my career helping customer-centric organisations such as banks, insurance companies, wealth planners, schools, hospitals, as well as federal and state governments all around the world to adopt technology and automation to deliver better outcomes for their customers.
The biggest challenge that the leaders in these organisations face is that they know they need to embrace change and try new strategies to be future proof. They know they need to try new operating models to improve the way they do business in a digital world. The challenge is to actually do it.
We must all be prepared to face the future with confidence and to adapt to change with open minds.
I am here today to let you know that The Future is all about the needs of Your Customer and how you genuinely deliver quality service. It’s about how you respond to and anticipate their changing needs and expectations.
In today’s digitally disruptive world where competitors can emerge and conquer seemingly overnight, arguably the most powerful weapon that you must have is a ‘WOW’ customer experience. This applies equally to public sector citizen interactions, as it does to private sector commercial transactions.
Your customer service strategy has got to be more than just an aspirational statement.
Image source: https://hyken.com/tag/competitive-advantage/
Being nice and friendly to customers is critically important. We all know that. Tesco knew that 15 years ago. But in today’s digital age being nice is not enough. It’s about being easy to deal with, being ‘real-time responsive’, being personal, being predictive and being reliable. We must know and understand our customers in many ways. The only way to truly understand is through the lens of ‘The Data’.
Start-ups and technology-led companies are driving the penetration of markets with a ‘customer first’ approach, instead of the old paradigm of a product or price first approach.
Gartner, says that we need to be focused on the customer experience as by 2020, customers armed with more technology will demand more from your organization’s ability to deliver a wow customer experience.
Previously, customers tolerated pain and friction
In the not so distant past, customers tolerated pain and friction. They suffered long wait times to access customer service call centres, they were made to come into a branch to update or collect simple paperwork; they are made to fill out forms and fax them back, worse still, hand deliver them. These painful tasks were considered a normal element of the customer experience. They even had to wait in line to get the form they needed to fill in to make a complaint!
My, how things have changed.
Technology driven organisations using the latest intelligent online systems are fuelling empowered buyers who now demand a new level of customer obsession and service.
They are creating new business models and supply chains, and are working hard to reduce or eliminate any friction in the engagement and retention of their customer, and anywhere along the customer journey.
All these service providers focus on the Customer. They are driving down costs, lighting up supply chains, enabling anywhere anytime any device self-service, with no barriers to buying or completing a transaction. Transparency of the quality of service is a core metric in these business models.
So, what have these companies done differently? And what can we learn from them?
They’ve reimagined traditional business models with a truly ‘outside-in’ or a customer-centric perspective. They focus on the Customer Experience. They are redressing old paradigms where the Customer previously had to share the effort and endure friction in the process. Now, provided you can get online, that you have a mobile phone and a credit card, you can pretty much turn on and turn off whatever you need, without the friction.
Why? Because according to Forrester, great customer experience drives retention and revenue growth.
Many companies in the financial, insurance and government sectors still think about their business and technology from an ‘inside‑out’ perspective. What does this look like? And what does ‘Outside-in’ look like?’
By reimagining your business from a truly ‘outside‑in’ perspective, you have a unique opportunity to rethink and plan out your digital transformation journey into the future.
Organisations in the financial services, insurance, healthcare, education, legal and government sectors, must recognize that customers are going through life events such as marriage, buying a house, going to school, going to hospital, travelling overseas, getting a divorce, changing jobs, or making an insurance claim after crashing their car. And not necessarily in that order.
Whether you are in a B2B or B2C situation, customers today expect a seamless, fast and personalised experience. When these customers reach out to your brand, they need painless friction-free processes. Some of them will also need a real helping hand and empathy at certain points.
Unfortunately, what customers typically experience are series of slow, single‑channel, manual, redundant processes and interactions that feel clunky, frustrating, sterile and anything but helpful and easy.
Traditional customer‑facing companies should realize their high‑touch, data‑rich business models offer a huge opportunity to digitally deliver superior customer engagement. Ironically, what most folks don’t realise is that automation provides the opportunity to focus on improving traditional customer service delivery when it is needed.
By reimagining your business from a truly ‘outside‑in’ perspective, you have a unique opportunity to rethink your approach to digital transformation.
But where do you start and when? Complex, well defined initiatives planned over one, two or three years may seem like a daunting task and rightly so.
But in these days of rapid change, you do not have the luxury of time, because your tech-savvy competitor is already ahead of you: so you need to start now.
In my experience, waiting for ‘IT to do it’ will take too long; they are typically busy dealing with core systems and other below the line pressures. Overhauling back-end systems is a long-term challenge and existing operating models and functional processes will always be a barrier to starting your digital transformation journey. You must not let this hold you back.
In your pursuit of digital transformation, I suggest you tackle the low hanging fruit in small steps, rather than tackling the heavy lifting projects that have a high chance of failure.
Teams working at the front line are the best catalysts for digital transformation success. They know the business process and they know where the friction is. To be truly ‘outside‑in’, start your transformation with the front-end experience. You don’t have to rebuild and redesign your entire back‑end systems before you modernize your customer experience.
Start at the front‑end, with the experience, and work with the core systems you already have.
According to Forrester, 66% of customers said valuing their time is the most important thing companies can do to provide them with a good customer experience. How can you do that? Make it easier for your customers to interact with you across multiple channels. The first thing you can do is to eliminate paper, PDF forms and manual signing processes. These high effort touch points are considered a significant barrier to a healthy business relationship and are a paradigm of the past.
Your secret weapon is a digital transformation platform that enables the collection and use of real-time data with the ability to action that data at any point in the customer journey: from acquisition to onboarding to servicing.
Your front end should be mobile-ready and able to connect, in real time, to your core systems of record such as CRM and your ERP/ finance system, and to send information back out through multiple digital channels. The transformation platform you choose should seamlessly automate any process or digital transaction within this customer journey. The insight you will gain through data visualisation will enable you to monitor and gain insight into all transactions so you can improve the experience and anticipate your customer’s preferences and problems.
The ‘WOW’ moment comes when you take out the friction, when you enable online interaction as much as possible in the process, when you personalise interactions, when you are on the front foot, when you reach out to ask for or to give relevant information at the right time, and when you deliver an interaction that will have a genuine relevance and impact on your customer’s day.
And please, please, please don’t make your customer have to print something out at the end and sign it with a pen and send it back to you!
Data gives you the ability to know your customer – to spoil your customer – to anticipate their needs and, to creatively and effectively meet competitive challenges. Data helps you to respond to and recover from ‘customer problems’, all of which are the cornerstones of a WOW customer experience.
The best companies are using smart technology platforms to create an authentic relationship built on trust and on truly ‘knowing’ your customer. Every customer transaction or interaction is the heartbeat of a data-driven rhythm that enables you to continually monitor the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of your customer. It will enable you to have what I call ‘front line empathy’. Use this as your weapon to build a future-proof customer-centric strategy that drives satisfaction, retention and growth.
If you’re interested in learning more about Digital Transformation in a customer-centric world, read our e-books on the topic.
Honestly, who has time for change?
Let’s face it, most senior leaders quietly boil when their “higher ups” vaguely say we ”need to be more innovative” whilst at the same time are feverishly obsessed that you nail this quarter’s targets. What they mean is, don’t let us get left behind our competitors. For instance, Amazon was mentioned in 10 percent of other companies’ earnings calls in 2017, staying with the ”status quo’ simply isn’t an option anymore.
KPMG’s Global CEO Outlook 2016 study found that “75% of the CEOs surveyed were concerned about whether their organization is keeping pace with new technologies.”
Frankly, leaders have enough on their plates delivering their business-as-usual than to also have to fluff around with innovation especially when bottom line targets are yet to be met and there is so much to be done. Leaders are the ones whose jobs are on the line here, and it’s common to “focus on what we can do this year” and ”work on innovation next year,” hey there’s always next year right? But everyone and everything is changing. And it is changing now, today. As leaders we must adapt or die.
I totally get the burden and toil of the modern leader: “do more with less and get better results” is a mantra I hear all the time from business leaders, but if you invest in innovation, and especially through digital transformation in your customer service, you will be able to get much better results, with far less effort. Transformation and innovation may take some time to set up in the first month, but if implemented properly, will end up paying for itself by the end of the quarter. Happy customers translates to higher retention, and customer service is the big killer in the market at the moment. Don’t wait until it’s too late, it’s far easier to keep a happy customer, than to win back a dissatisfied one.
In a recent Forrester report, 54% of directors interviewed stated that “Fostering a culture of digital innovation in your organization is the most critical component to consider for digital enablement ”
Good leaders engender a culture of change where to challenge ”the way we do things around here” is normal. But how much change should we actually take on? When is the right time to act? Is it next year when we (hopefully) get some budget for innovation? When we have more time? When the economy is doing better?
In my experience I have seen a vast range of organizations with varying capacity to innovate. Every organization needs to consider how much innovation they can ingest without having to run for wholesale-sized tubs of antacid. But as leaders we must all act now. We must act urgently to lead change at pace.
You need to be the one to take control and lead the innovation change in your business. The longer you put off change the further behind your competitors you will fall, and you will start spending more of your budget on win-back campaigns rather than campaigns to attract new customers. We certainly must not stick our fingers in our ears and sing ’la la la la la” while we wait for all factors to be perfect before we can create a culture of change inside our own organizations. You need to start investing in innovation now.
In a recent study by Gartner, “Forty-seven percent of CEOs surveyed are being challenged by the board of directors to make progress in digital business, and 56 percent said that their digital improvements have already improved profits”
So, for leaders who need to change and to get it right the first time, it’s about being clear about the appetite for change. Your people must all be on board and your culture aligned.
It’s up to you to prioritize the agenda of what needs to get done and when; how to manage business as usual (because in the real world that matters); how to finesse and drive quality, uptake and impact; and how to measure and maximize success.
All. Done. Quickly.
Here are my top ten tips where I have seen change leadership work really well in the digital transformation world:
It’s time to change. Do it now.
If you’re interested in digital disruption around insurance markets, there’s no better expert than Ellen Carney, Senior Analyst at Forrester Research. Ellen joined our own Neal Keene last week to talk about how insurers are dealing with rapid industry change, particularly in the way they can improve the customer experience using digital tools, in a webinar hosted by Digital Insurance magazine.
We encourage you to watch the full replay. But if you’ve only got time for the highlights, here are some of the key points we found really compelling.
Delivering a great digital customer experience is mission-critical for the insurance industry
“For insurance organizations, digital is changing the rules of engagement,” Ellen said on the webinar. “Customers are calling the shots now. Digital has created an unprecedented opportunity for insurance organizations to rethink the experience that we’re delivering to our customers and our agents.”
According to Forrester, 34 million Americans applied for life insurance in 2016, and 50% of new auto insurance sales in 2017 were digitally influenced. In response, insurers need to reevaluate the role digital technology plays in maximizing opportunities, the research firm says.
Insurance consumers want to shop online for coverage just like they do for other products. “They’re using their mobile devices and they’re using online channels, their laptops as they’re sitting and watching TV in the evening after dinner,” she said. However, insurers are struggling to create the right digital sales and service experiences, and the gap is widening between leaders and those moving forward.
Attendees responded to a poll during the webinar and the responses prove this point. When asked about the top driver behind their digital initiatives for 2018, here’s what they said:
Sub-par digital customer experiences put an insurer at risk in a highly competitive environment where new disruptive players are coming on the scene. Better customer experience is pivotal to luring customers from other carriers, Ellen said. According to Forrester research, just 12% of customers say they plan to stay with a brand that frustrates their experience, while fewer than 1 in 5 will ever advocate for such an insurer.
Why insurers struggle: Barriers to digital transformation
Ellen said she can see insurers are making small changes in managing customer interactions. Yet she sees that insurers are not as committed to the digital experience as some start-up competitors and customers. She urged insurers to take advantage of the core systems they have in place and connect them with digital front ends to enable those great digital experiences. This will help insurers reduce costs and grow revenue, while fending off upstarts that lack similar core system depth.
It is clear insurers want to provide a great experience throughout the insurance customer lifecycle. What is also clear is that their legacy technology holds them back.
In fact, the second poll on the webinar proves this point. When asked what their No. 1 roadblock is to modernizing digital customer acquisition and onboarding processes, 44% cited “outdated legacy technology.” That response was more than three times higher than the next closest one.
Five steps to reimagine the insurance customer experience
That’s when Neal came in to explain how insurers need to reimagine and bring digital transformation to the insurance customer experience, starting with five basic steps that are easy to achieve:
Neal then ran through common scenarios that would benefit greatly from digital experiences. These included enabling a customer to file a claim from a mobile device and showing how a business could shop and sign up for rental property insurance without the need for any standard forms, with callouts to both internal and third-party data sources like maps. (Note: check out our demonstrations online to see for yourself.)
Neal noted the strong value proposition for automating and digitally transforming acquisition, servicing, and onboarding. “Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and ask what you would want from your customer experience?”
Where to get started and ROI of going digital
Getting started with better digital customer experiences can be faster than you think. Depending on the complexity, you can be up and running with a project in just 4-6 weeks. Neal provided webinar visitors with a walkthrough of the chart that appears below which shows how to think about the startup phase.
The presentation ended with an interesting Q&A session, particularly talking about how to identify ROI. “The wild west of digital and mobile is definitely gone,” Neal said. “The key is going to be defining those metrics and KPIs.” If you’d like more information on how to build your business case, contact us to talk with our team about your unique environment.
Hear all of this for yourself: watch the complete webinar recording here.