Better Customer Experience Starts with Scrapping the Paper

Cheryl McKinnon
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Digital marketers and customer experience advocates may, on occasion, forget the basics. The Web Engagement / Customer Engagement  / Customer Experience advocates championing WEM, CEM or CXM as the next buzzword may be at risk of entering an echo chamber.

While the pundits and marketers focus on next generation web development tools to address social, mobile and rich media... Surprise! the biggest bang for the buck is elimination of paper bottlenecks from customer activities. Rather unsexy, but still the reality for many large organizations.

I've read through the new AIIM industry watch report "The Paper Free Office: Dream or Reality" a couple of times now. And what strikes me is that this research - that focuses on scanning, imaging and capture trends - really needs to be read by digital marketers and customer service managers. Yet, because the focus is on capture, it will probably be read more by administrative and digital mailroom project leads.

Customer-centric (or citizen-centric) organizations put the needs and desires of their client or prospect first. Making transactions convenient, low-friction, and accessible from preferred mobile, tablet or web devices is key. If we need to pick up a phone, print a form, fax a signature or physically stop by an office to initiate a product or service purchase, we leave open too many options for drop off or cancellation. Particularly when a competitor provides an easy online form, accepts online payments, or has a mobile app for routine purchases.

This figure is staggering: over 20% of surveyed companies said they achieved a 3x gain in speed of response to customers. Another 15% reported a 10x faster response rate. Over 10% reported 20x or greater. (See report page 9 for the details).

When competitive advantage and customer retention is key to staying in business, these insights cannot go ignored. There is a time and place for paper in our world, but this isn't it. Letting people engage, buy and communicate through their preferred web, app or mobile device delivers big payback and increases satisfaction rates.

Digital marketers and customer engagement gurus - don't neglect the basics. There are still many businesses who need to take that first step to better online customer service. There's tremendous ROI potential by starting with elimination of needless paper bottlenecks from simple processes. Slick apps, customer communities and mobile/social websites are awesome. But perhaps kind of useless if we stlll haven't allowed our target audience do the basic buying and selling transactions that keep the lights on.

Full report can be downloaded from our research site at: http://www.aiim.org/Research/Industry-Watch/Paper-Free-Capture-2012

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