It’s a regular source of amazement to us that so many brands will first spend a five- or six-figure sum on building a new app, only to undercook their efforts to drive engagement once the app has gone live. They’re doing the really expensive bit, then missing out on the payoff.
For brands undergoing a digital transformation, user adoption of your new digital channels will be your most important ROI success factor. Here’s why:
Digital channels reduce running costs over time
One of the greatest benefits going digital brings for businesses is a revolutionary reduction in operating costs. It may cost a lot to set up a digital channel, but in the long-run, keeping a B2C app running is far cheaper than employing a call centre to do the same job.
Digital communication methods such as chatbots and customer support ticketing are radically cheaper to implement than analogue equivalents like telephone helplines and in-store agents. If you can multiply the number of customers who are engaging with your digital channels, you can magnify your cost savings over time.
A perfect example of this effect in-action can be found in Tanzania, where a firm called Jamii Insurance has enabled millions of people to access health insurance through their digitization of customer support processes.
In Tanzania, only around 1-in-10 people have proper health insurance. Premiums have typically been too costly for many of those who go without.
Tanzanians have been in need of a cheaper option – and last year they got it, courtesy of Jamii Insurance. The company created an app that allows customers to carry out all their insurance business via their smartphones.
Users simply call a designated number, enter their details and select the cover they require. After paying for the cover by mobile transfer, they receive a unique ID number to take with them when they go to the hospital.
All this is automated, and takes place in-app. The money this process saves Jamii – compared with the cost of analogue customer support – helps them keep their premiums as low as $1/month. Crucially, that’s a price many Tanzanians can afford.
Read more about apps and the insurance industry
Customers can also reap the benefits of digital transformation
Apps open up new possibilities for customers, just as much as they do the same for businesses.
Take the MY ASICS app for example – it gathers data from the user’s wearable devices and logs their training progress. This data is then used to create a training programme far more personalised than an in-store expert would be able to offer. Digital 1 – 0 Analogue.
You might also consider the Delta Air Lines app, Fly Delta, which offers a new solution to ease commuters’ worries about their luggage. It uses a tracking device placed on the luggage item to feed back the latest checkpoint for each item of luggage, so the customer can see the last place their luggage has been logged in real-time. Delta Air Lines simply cannot provide this worthy new service to customers who don’t use their app.
In order to open customers up to the exciting new possibilities like Delta’s luggage tracker or ASICS’ running training planner, you first need to convince them to engage with your new, digital channel(s). Be in no doubt – you’d be doing them a favour.
Digital engagement powers smarter marketing decisions
In digital marketing, user data is sacred. The more we know about our customers – both as individuals and as groups – the better our targeted marketing can be.
Whenever your customer does something on your app, you can record data on the interaction. This can provide countless insights into the user, such as when they are most active, what type of content they’re interested in, what products they own, and so on.
You can then use this data in all sorts of ways – particularly to test marketing hypotheses and trigger automated B2C communications. Apps can also self-improve using the data they gather, moulding to the user’s stated or inferred preferences.
This data-driven approach can deliver increased conversions, more scientific marketing and improvements in customer experience.
Digital transformation is a journey – and it takes time
Your brand can benefit immensely from everything we’ve discussed in this article that goes hand-in-hand with digital transformation – the increased ROI, the improved customer experience, and the smarter, data-driven marketing.
In our experience, the early stages of the journey are the hardest, with some customers proving trickier than others to coax over to the digital side.
However, once you have successfully engaged a significant section of your audience with your digital channels, you will start to feel the positive effects of reduced operating costs and happier customers. Meanwhile, the customer data at your disposal is accumulating, allowing you to make your service better and your marketing more targeted. After that point, you’ll never look back.