Digital engagement without a firm plan is like going to the grocery store without a list—you’re likely to wind up with more items in your cart than you need. And what were you going to the store to buy in the first place?
This may sound like a simple concept, and it is, but many companies fail to understand the complexities of truly engaging customers in a digital space. It’s not the same as a face-to-face or phone transaction. Your customers are very comfortable buying products and interacting in cyberspace. What they require is a frictionless way to find the product they need and buy them, or find answer to whatever questions they may have.
Customers want to transact in their way
But many companies make that very difficult, creating barriers to a frictionless transaction. Every time I buy something online, I have to click past a screen asking whether I want their credit card. I didn’t want the credit card the first time I saw the ad, or the one after that, and I don’t want it now. Having to move past that screen yet again creates friction in the buying process.
A banking site I use keeps informing me I have new messages—even though I looked at the messages last time, and there are no new messages. And a credit card vendor thinks it’s perfectly OK to fill my screen with an ad, preventing me from transacting the business I came to the site to transact. Yes, it’s simple to click past the ad, but that action creates friction.
Buy and forget not the answer
Executives in banking and other industries have been looking for ways to reduce friction, moving from a back-end, full-service business executive to buying a solution geared toward their industry. And while that’s a good first step, digital engagement is never a one-and-done solution.
The next step is to engage the customer to improve your digital satisfaction score. Unfortunately, though, many companies don’t move beyond the digital engagement tool, whether it’s the app, the digital storefront or the transactional software. By not taking this critical, extra step, you risk alienating your customers.
How often do you shop at Amazon? Although the term wasn’t around when the site was founded, Amazon gets digital engagement right. You know in advance how much you need to buy in order to get free shipping—that is if you’re not a Prime member with all of the extra benefits. When you search, you get suggestions for ancillary products. And while you probably don’t shop at Amazon every day, you darn well know that it’s there when you want it.
Harnessing the power of your new app or new website to create digital engagement is just as important as the app or the website itself. You need to have a plan, then you need to execute it effectively. That’s not a skillset that many smaller companies have in-house. You want a provider that’s knowledgeable not only about your industry but also in digital engagement.