Consumers Embrace Digital Communication – Survey

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Consumers have increasingly embraced digital communication as a direct result of government lockdowns getting in the way of face-to-face consultations with their financial adviser.

This is just one of the conclusions in The State of Customer Conversations survey of financial services, insurance, and healthcare companies and their customers carried out by global tech company Smart Communications.

Its report highlights the increasing importance of companies delivering personalised conversations to build trust and brand loyalty with their clients.

James Brown…consumer interest in digital interactions continues to grow…

“Consumer interest in digital interactions continues to grow,” says James Brown, CEO of Smart Communications.

And as consumers increasingly rely on and trust technology as a way to find services and complete financial transactions, Brown says companies must evolve their strategies to “…exceed customer expectations through two-way, digital-first conversations that honour preferences and provide an exceptional end-to-end experience.”

“Not only will this lead to an enhanced customer journey but it will also have a positive impact on a company’s bottom line,” he says.

Among the key findings of the survey are:

  • 81% of consumers believe communications are important to their overall experience with a company
  • 66% of business leaders feel the communications they send to customers are very good or excellent (58% of consumers agree)
  • Missing the mark on customer communications poses a significant risk to businesses
  • Half of customers would likely switch from a company if their communications did not meet their expectations
  • 80% of customers prefer email
  • 50% are comfortable with text messages
  • 54% of communications are distributed based on consumers’ channel preference

The report states that while most businesses across financial services, insurance and healthcare believe they leveraged communications to build trust during the Covid-19 outbreak, only a small percentage of consumers indicated that communications made them trust companies more.

…companies must think beyond traditional, print-centric customer communications…

“Digital transformation can be a daunting process,” says Brown. “But companies must think beyond traditional, print-centric customer communications and start thinking about improving the customer experience as the benefits are tremendous.

“Those that adopt cloud-based solutions to help address these challenges will find there are ways to move through the migration process without missing important customer interactions and will ensure their strategic approach is scalable and future-proof.”

Brown says the biggest takeaway from this year’s report can be boiled down to the importance of knowing your customers on an individual level and communicating on their terms, based on their preferences.

“The best way for companies to succeed in this next era of customer conversations is to prioritise digital-first, omnichannel customer experiences,” he says.

“By shifting from static, one-way communications to two-way conversations that reflect customer preferences, companies can deepen relationships, drive loyalty and build amazing customer experiences.”