Q&A: Inside information

Delivering a sleek online experience to customers is fast becoming a source of competitive advantage, but to do this effectively requires insight, says Audelia Boker, vice president, marketing, at Glassbox

Q. Why is it so important that companies can offer a sleek digital experience?

A. From an end-customer perspective, the 2015 Aspect Consumer Experience Index shows that 73 per cent of people prefer to solve customer service issues on their own and that’s even more important for millennials. So digital has become the go-to channel. Secondly, customer experience has become a key differentiator between brands as other factors, such as price and product, are very similar.

Moreover, it’s vital from an organisational standpoint to provide a smooth digital experience, because if you don’t it has a direct impact on your operational costs by forcing customers to engage with your business through costlier channels, such as contact centres, points of sale or branches, or even worse, take their business elsewhere. If customers prefer self-service, it makes sense to contain them in their preferred channel.

Q. How well do organisations tend to do this?

A. They are aware of the importance of providing a streamlined and effortless digital experience. Most use web analytics tools to understand digital trends and statistics, but these solutions have limitations. They tend to tell you what the areas you’re struggling with are, but they don’t provide the reasons behind customer behaviours. Some businesses rely on voice of the customer or enterprise feedback management systems, but they often have low response rates and are not actionable in real time.

There is a lot of effort put into trying to provide a slick digital experience, but too often the ability of organisations to react and be proactive is not good enough.

Our technology revolves around the ability to replay and analyse how customers are engaging on new digital channels

Q. How can businesses offer a better digital experience?

A. The first thing is to understand the big picture. Web analytics provides them with a partial view, but they need to be able to understand and map the digital customer journey. They also need to be able to drill down into the reasons why customers or visitors behave the way they do on their digital channels.

Once they know the root causes, they need to be able to link these insights to the raw data to fix problem areas and to share these insights across the business. That’s a major point of struggle; the whole perspective of businesses on digital channels is really restrictive and siloed. It remains the responsibility of heads of insight or analytics or digital, but we need to reach a point where digital data becomes a common language across the organisation. Digital analytics solutions need to provide open application programming interfaces (APIs) that enable data to be shared with all the stakeholders and integrated across the entire organisational ecosystem.

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Q. What technology do they need to help make sense of this? Is this a barrier for some?

A. To make digital insights available and understandable by all, the information has to be visual and easily understood. Our technology revolves around the ability to replay and analyse how customers are engaging on new digital channels. It’s like a CCTV system that allows you to record everything that is going on with your website and replay it easily, without having to tag anything, and to share that insight.

One barrier is a lack of awareness around this type of technology. Most of the companies in this category are cloud providers offering SaaS (software-as-a-service) solutions, but in some industries, such as banking, wealth management, telecommunications or healthcare where data is very sensitive, organisations are very keen on keeping data on-site. There’s a lack of awareness that these types of technologies exist in a way that they can be deployed in a matter of weeks on-premise and within your firewall, without impacting your IT infrastructure or the performance of digital channels.

Q. Which people within the organisation need to be involved in this? Who should take the lead?

A. The short answer is the boardroom. Although these technologies allow you to provide a sleeker digital experience, they actually have many more use-cases. You can provide greater visibility to your frontline agent in the call centre, so they can help customers more quickly. Another benefit is around compliance. It allows you to capture, encrypt, store and easily retrieve all your digital sessions, including web-chats, in a way that is tamper-proof and time-stamped. Hence you can handle disputes in a more efficient manner or provide records in case of an audit. So the people who need to be involved are the C-suite, because the entire organisation can benefit.

Q. Are there examples of companies which have successfully transformed the way they operate? What evidence is there of this in terms of sales figures or customer satisfaction?

A. The insurance company AXA was able to decrease its actuarial risk by identifying that people trying to get a quote for an insurance policy would change their answers to reduce the price. So they would change “smoker” to “non-smoker”, for instance. It also identified an issue on the mobile app where users of a certain phone would have a lower conversion rate than other customers, which they were able to resolve.

Another example is a top UK bank which knew it had an issue with people trying to open online banking accounts. When we showed them the replay of some sessions, they discovered the form would not accept names with foreign characters. They were able to fix that very quickly.

We also worked with Bank Leumi in Israel, which increased its conversion rates by 11 per cent. By providing the replay of sessions to the customer support team, they were also able to reduce the duration of calls coming in, due to issues with the digital channel, from five to one-and-a-half minutes.

Q. What are the longer-term benefits of getting this right?

A. In terms of customers, it’s about gaining their loyalty and providing a great experience. Beyond that, this type of technology can help organisations really fast-track their digital transformation. There are a lot of solutions which say they map the customer journey end to end across all channels, but the truth is these are not ready yet. Embarking on such projects is very expensive and takes a long time, but focusing on providing a sleek digital experience can make a difference today. Ultimately it means you can retain more customers in more profitable relationships.

For more information on how Glassbox can help your business visit glassbox.digital