Does your digital experience meet your customers’ expectations?

Alexandra Anghel
Social Media Coordinator

Author: Jo Hutchinson, Deputy Director of Digital at the Prince’s Trust

@JoHutchinson, deputy director of digital at the Prince’s Trust, joined Josie, Neil and futurist James Woudhuysen in the studio to discuss how SMEs from all sectors can better interact with their customers on digital channels. Jo also shares her experience of planning and managing a digital project that has led to immediate benefits for the organization and the young people it supports, and explains why companies should start their own digital journey if they haven’t already…

Whether you’re a SME or a charity, digital technology allows you to make life more convenient than ever for your customers. On top of delivering an improved service, every digital interaction helps you build a more complete picture of who your customers are as individuals, gain valuable insights into how you can operate more efficiently, and may even spur you to offer new types of services in the future.

As one of the UK’s largest charities, and one that works primarily with young people, we recognized the need to change the way we interact with our customers – who for us are the young people we support and the volunteers that support us – to make it easier for them to get in touch and access our services online and via mobile. 

The result?

We’ve been able to reach and help more young people than ever before, including those that couldn’t previously attend in-person groups and meetings. Because we can better track each young person’s journey as they move through the programmes and placements we offer, we‘ve also been able to improve the services we deliver to our existing customers, including being able to better match people with programmes that will be most relevant and beneficial for them, and running those programmes more  efficiently and cost-effectively.

In short, we can now reach more people, provide them with a better, more tailored service, and make significant efficiency savings.

Where to start

The road to creating a successful digital experience required us to come with a completely new approach to attracting “customers”, monitoring their progress and interacting with them on an ongoing basis, moving from a primarily in-person experience, to a primarily online one.

Making such a big change to the way you operate can seem a daunting and potentially disruptive prospect, but it’s one that SMEs must face up to quickly if they haven’t already. 

Here’s why I think you should start looking at how you can be doing more on digital now:

  • Your customers want it – We’re firmly in a new age of immediacy and convenience. People expect to be able to access your service, make a purchase, or resolve an issue at a time that suits them. They also want to do it online or via mobile, and if you can’t offer that they’ll find a competitor who does. It’s not just younger customers either – customers of all ages and backgrounds expect the companies they interact with to flex to their wants and needs
  • Your competitors are doing it – Look at your own marketplace and particularly at some of the newer, younger, digitally-focused players that may have started up in the last few years.  They don’t have the same physical heritage that might be holding you back, and tend to differentiate themselves on how quickly, conveniently and digitally they can offer the same products and services that you do.
  • It will help you spot new opportunities for growth – Going digital isn’t just about building an app or a mobile site, it’s also about getting a better understanding of your customers and your own business.  The more people interact with you on digital channels, the more information you have to help you spot trends, jump on growth opportunities, and make informed decisions about new products and services to take to your customers in the future.

To hear more from Jo and our other experts tune into the Oracle Business Podcast and subscribe to make sure you never miss an episode. Find them on Libsyn or iTunes.

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