In the last year alone, Vizolution’s Consulting, SI and Outsourcing partners identified and registered nearly 600 unique opportunities to deliver high-impact digital transformation for brands they are working with. In this article, we look at 22 ways these brands will be supercharging growth in 2022.
Delight the Board and the CEO
If there were three challenges intent on keeping the CEO awake at night, they might be how to drive more sales, how to retain more customers, and how to remove cost from service delivery and operations in order to positively impact the bottom-line. Thankfully, digital transformation is more than playing its part in positively influencing these KPIs to bring value to shareholders, bliss to the boardroom and Zzz’s to the CEO. Because nobody needs a sleep-deprived CEO.
1) Increase Sales Conversions
Revenue from new customers is the lifeblood of every business and a key area of focus for the boardroom. Brands are investing heavily in bringing customers into the funnel, but the combination of increasingly complex products and the need to comply with tighter financial regulations often leads to more and more complex acquisition processes. It’s challenging for customers to complete their journeys online. Businesses struggle to meet their growth targets. Customers leave frustrated. Yet even in this landscape of complicated journeys and regulations, global brands like HSBC, Santander and NatWest have been able to significantly increase conversion rates by streamlining their sales processes, enabling customers to self-serve efficiently and empowering customer care professionals to serve effectively with new tools in the contact centre.
2) Retain More Customers
The traditional rule of thumb was that it costs 5 times more to get a new customer than to retain an existing one, but even this only speaks to half the potential. Loyal customers share more feedback, grow more over time and, if given the opportunity, spread positive feelings of endorsement across their network. O2 are a great example of successful digital customer engagement leading to improved retention and customer growth. Working with Vizolution to build deeper connections with customers, O2’s Upgrade and Retentions team were able to move a number of dials at once: boosting customer retention by 20%, increasing satisfied customers by 27%, reducing drop-out rates from the journey by 31%, and increasing cross-sells by 36%.
3) Strip Out Operational Costs
Brands face continual pressure to strip costs from operations and customer care but saving money doesn’t have to lead to sub-standard support. FAQs, IVRs, automation and chatbots all play their part in streamlining customer engagement but, when customer journeys are more critical to the consumer and more complicated in nature, the usual unassisted service offerings just don’t work. When NatWest engaged Vizolution to launch the UK’s first paperless mortgage process, moving customers into digital not only boosted mortgage applications due to greater streamlining, but also further impacted the bottom-line by eliminating paper and handling costs, removing millions of pounds in cost.
Take Care of Your Corporate Responsibilities
Even while organisations are focused on revenue growth and bottom-line, digital adoption has provided an unprecedented opportunity to meet other important social and legal responsibilities.
4) Deliver on the Green Agenda
For an ever-growing number of people, the environment isn’t just a topic for debate whenever Greta makes the news or the world’s media tunes into the latest COP gathering. It’s something that is starting to affect our everyday choices: what to buy, where to eat, how to travel, who to work for. But going green is no longer the difficult choice. A digital-first strategy that starts by removing paper from outdated processes can go a long way towards saving time, money and resources while also helping to meet important green obligations. Vizolution was proud to go beyond Carbon Neutral in 2021 with an offset equivalent to nearly 2,000 trees planted as part of our sustainability pledge. But our platform was the real agent of change. Digitising key journeys has helped our clients save approximately 16 million sheets of paper annually. That’s the equivalent of 10,000 trees and approximately 30 acres of rain forest every year – a number we expect to accelerate further through our work with new clients and partners.
5) Nail Contact Centre Compliance
The mind-numbingly awful adverts for PPI claims may have finally disappeared from our screens, but the near £40 billion paid out to claimants for misselling is a stark reminder that compliance legislation is not without a fierce set of teeth. Even so, contact centre and compliance are awkward traveling companions. For one major Telco, satisfaction of regulatory requirements led to compliance scripts taking up as much as 40% of contact centre conversations, producing lengthy journeys, customer confusion and inflated drop-off rates. Using the Vizolution platform, contact centre staff at O2 were able to share details of complex product and financing options onscreen alongside compliance info which customers could tick to acknowledge understanding. Not only did this deliver a 20% uplift in retentions, 36% increase in insurance cross-sell, and a 31% reduction in drop-out rate, but it also led to a 47% improvement in compliance.
Make It Quicker and Easier For Customers
Whether it’s conversion rate, first contact resolution, average handling time, CSAT, net promoter or customer effort score, brands use a number of KPIs to measure customer success. But while these are still important measures for the contact centre, the single most important measure of success for the customer is how quickly and painlessly they get to the answer they need.
6) Reduce Journey Times and Customer Effort
While it’s not often directly tracked, ‘speed to result’ as a measure of customer success is a measure that stands up to scrutiny whether a customer is looking to buy products and services or to find a solution to problem. Reduced journey times will always directly align with speed to result. As a case in point, by streamlining customer journeys and enabling customers to navigate processes without requiring assistance, HSBC have been able to reduce application time for unsecured loans by 90%. This improvement in speed to result and customer effort has led to an unprecedented 98% completion rate and significantly higher conversions.
7) Dive Into The Complexities
When you take into account the scale and importance of customer engagement and the overabundance of opportunities to improve Sales and Service, contact centre transformation has offered a consistently rich vein for improving the most important KPIs. It’s hardly a new concept for exploration and brands have already targeted the most simple journeys and moved them online. What IS new is the opportunity to address the most complex journeys which are as yet untapped due to challenges in deploying effective self-service capabilities or the right type of augmented human intervention. These critical and complex customer journeys are now a digital transformation sweet-spot and one where Vizolution is already delivering immediate bottom-line improvements for some of the world’s largest FS, Telco and Utilities brands.
8) Seek and Destroy the Printed Forms
Even now, in 2022, brands are still sending forms in the post or asking customers to download and print them before completing and returning the documents for processing. Not only is this a painful disruption to the journey that increases the likelihood of customer drop-out, but it also lengthens the process and adds significant cost from printing, postage, handling and processing. And that’s just when the process works! When customers return documents with missing fields or completion errors, the whole process – with all of its costs – starts all over again. Employing a ‘seek and destroy’ strategy for digitising forms is a super-quick win for every brand’s digital transformation process. When Vizolution helped one major client deliver Real-time Document Verification, it reduced time to completion for an important customer journey from 13 days to just 2 days while also completely eliminating the problematic 60% document return rate.
9) Remove The ‘Big Four’ Friction Points
The most complex customer journeys always have specific stages where a high proportion of customers fall out of the process. These ‘break points’ happen most during moments of stress for customers when it is more complicated to proceed. From our own research, the Big Four customer journey frictions include: Completion Complexity when a single transaction might have multiple stages, Document Exchange where customers and agents have to wait for documents to arrive, Regulation where customers have more hoops to jump through and boxes to tick, and Channel Mix with poor integration between the contact centre and self-serve options. Vizolution’s Digital Completion platform specifically addresses these frictions. Customers and agents can work together in harmony to remove complexity from even the most brutal journeys. Agents can obtain document signatures during calls. Agreement of Ts&Cs can be streamlined. And brands can choreograph an effective tango between contact centre engagement and self-service elements of the journey.
10) Supercharge Onboarding
First impressions count and, for many customers, seamless service is now an expectation. With so many of us ready to vote with our feet, it’s vital for brands to set the precedent for success as they onboard new clients. But when complex regulation and multiple signatories create obstacles, this isn’t always straightforward. Without the right tools, agents can even be at risk of compliance breaches. One North American bank has taken the opportunity to move a step ahead of their competitors. Leveraging Vizolution tools to supercharge their Wealth Management onboarding process, the bank was able to reduce the customer journey time by 84% which maximised the effectiveness of the company’s relationship managers, facilitating the opening up of new regions previously excluded by geography, and serving a greater number of clients.
11) Ring In The Endorsements
“Wait? What? NatWest Mortgages are cool?” #OMG!
In today’s cynical world, great customer journeys stand out from the crowd. For the younger generation particularly, banking and finance can be a daunting concept while customer service with a phone connected to the ear is akin to physical torture. Brands who put the smartphone back in the customer’s hand to deliver “high tech with high touch” drive positive engagement, influential reviews and social media endorsement. For NatWest, an innovative journey led to strong social media endorsement and wider interest after customers were able to sign with a finger to complete their mortgage journey on their iPad whilst on holiday. Stress free mortgage applications. Sitting on loungers. Soaking in the sun. Probably enjoying wonderful cocktails. Happy February folks.
Protect The Most Vulnerable Customers
Covid-19 has had an unprecedented impact on the way brands engage with their customers and prospects, and protecting vulnerable customers is even more important than ever. Recent FCA guidance highlights the actions that brands should take to understand the needs of their clients, with a desire to ensure that vulnerable consumers (those who, due to their personal circumstances, are especially susceptible to harm when a firm is not acting with appropriate levels of care) are particularly addressed. While digital is a traditional challenge in this area, it’s also a great opportunity for brands to take huge strides forward.
12) Humanise the Bereavements Journey
Time and effort spent with admin tasks after losing a loved one can be an added burden on customers, and as such, it’s a moment of truth for brand-customer relationships. A YouGuv survey of over 1,600 UK adults who notified businesses after the death of family or friends found that, for almost a third, it took two weeks or longer to serve notification to all the relevant companies. 12% said it took longer than a month. Partnering with Vizolution to streamline the journey, NatWest have removed the need for customers to use mail services to submit notification, removing stress and resolving cases in a truly customer-centric way. The bank have been able to reduce journey times by an incredible 23 days so that customers are now on average completing the process in just 4 days.
13) Revolutionise Collections & Debt Management
Debt is a major problem for society in 2022. With nearly one in five UK adults affected, it’s important that organisations are able to help and support customers when they get into difficulties. Once a problem has been identified, the priority for banks is to drive the next action in a clear and efficient way. Whether it’s guiding customers through the Income & Expenditure process with empathetic engagement, transferring products or obtaining new agreements, it is in the interests of both organisations and their customers that these processes should be as simple and efficient as possible. Getting the balance exactly right, Santander enabled agents to explain repayment plans and product transfers, digitally capture customer information, and collect electronic signatures to ensure that customers could avoid difficult outcomes and get back on track with the best repayment plan for them. Not only have Santander been able to reduce the average journey from 6 days to just 20 minutes, but they have seen an 18% increase in customer uptake, a 500% increase in first contact resolution and an unparalleled NPS of 97%.
Digitise The Human Journeys / Humanise The Digital Journeys
Software powerhouse, Salesforce, defines digital transformation as “the process of using digital technology to create new – or modify existing – business processes, culture and customer experiences to meet changing business and market requirements.” At Vizolution we agree, which is why we help our clients implement the right processes, culture and experiences by “Digitising the Human Journey” and “Humanising the Digital Journey”. This helps organisations leverage the effective processes that happen in the real-world while maintaining the critical human connection online.
14) Enable CUSTOMERS to Self-Serve
A former colleague of mine once likened online customer journeys to the movie Alien – particularly the tagline. It’s true that “In Space, No One Can Hear You Scream”, as it is for customers in cyberspace. Our exclamations of frustration too often go unheard by those that matter: the brands who are terrorizing us with horrors at every turn. Our metaphorical screams of annoyance – the ones that are always more FFS than LOL – at best die silently in our minds or at worst reach prick the ears of the humans and animals who have the ‘pleasure’ of working from home with us. Vizolution has eliminated the problem, enabling our clients to deliver effective self-service journeys where customers can upload, download, verify and sign documentation – remotely – in a highly secure digital portal at any stage of a phone, web or even branch journey, and at a time that is convenient to them.
15) Empower AGENTS to Deliver Better Outcomes
Customers are already engaging more and more with brands online but, when journeys get complicated, it can be difficult to get the right support without calling on the phone or visiting in person. For these journeys, remote channels should have the ability to offer the high touch qualities of a face-to-face experience when necessary. No matter where a customer begins, they should be able to complete their journey in the fewest steps possible, in their channel of choice, with support if required. The opportunity here for brands is to replicate the face-to-face customer experience, remotely by providing front-line staff with the tools to visually display content to customers, exchange documents in real time, collect electronic signatures, and help customers co-browse – all whilst connecting on a live video call or phone call.
16) Align ‘Assisted’ and ‘Unassisted’ Support
The great success of messaging channels like Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger and their dramatic impact on customer service has been their ability to allow participants in a conversation to move back and forth between ‘synchronous’ and ‘asynchronous’ communication. This switch decouples the conversation when customer and agent need to work independently, before re-coupling the parties – just as we re-engage with our friends in these channels – when the interaction needs it. In a similar way, brands in 2022 should be looking at how they align their self-service channels with their contact centre so that the two work in harmony. Vizolution is helping our clients do exactly this by allowing customers to seamlessly transition from online, self-service journeys to human agents in the contact centre. When agents can build on the progress that customers have already made independently, it saves time and energy for both parties.
17) Deliver Real Omnichannel Experiences
According to the Global Brand Simplicity Index 2018, more than half of all consumers are willing to pay extra for a simpler, more omnichannel experience. At Vizolution, we believe that customers should be able to complete journeys in as few steps as possible. And we believe customers should be able to complete within their channel of choice. This is why we have built our solutions from the ground up to deliver self-service journeys that integrate into back-end systems and transfer seamlessly to the branch, service-desk or contact centre when high-touch is required, with all of the data and journey progress visible to all parties.
Accelerate ALL Your Customer Transformation Projects
In every organisation right now, the conversation isn’t about whether digital transformation needs to happen. It’s about HOW to do it efficiently, effectively and economically – and how to kick-start the process.
18) Break the Digital Transformation Deadlock
If there was a consistent theme from Vizolution partner feedback in the last year, it was that clients are certain about making gains from digital transformation but uncertain about HOW to make those gains happen – quickly, effortlessly and decisively. By focusing on specifically addressable pain-points, friction-points and break-points, and deploying tools to combat them with effective self-service and augmented customer assistance, clients have been able to move critical projects from thoughts and conversations to actions and progress. For our partners, it’s provided an opportunity to break the deadlock for their clients on important projects, make early progress, and lead the change process by demonstrating results. As a great example of how quickly an impact could be felt, BNP Paribas were able to transform one of their most important and complex customer journeys to go-live in digital with Vizolution over a bank holiday weekend
19) Get More Returns From Existing Investments
While companies are increasingly standardising on big platforms for CRM, Enterprise Resource Planning, Marketing, Customer Support and Telephony, many are also realising the benefits from best-in-class, specialist tools that integrate into existing systems and allow them to extract the greatest returns from every area of their business. With nearly 3,000 out-of-the-box integrations including major platforms like Salesforce, Microsoft, Google, Zendesk and Genesys, Vizolution has become a small but critical cog in the customer engagement technology ecosystem, leveraging brands’ existing investments in these technologies but dramatically accelerating the returns from projects.
20) Arm the IT Dept With Digital Building Blocks
Stick a box of Lego in front of anyone and you’ll quickly realise that there’s an inherent need in all of us to build things. IT departments are no different. Much as “The Business” is always open to exploring exciting SAAS capabilities that add power and pace to the achievement of their goals and ambitions, IT departments are always under pressure to support these ambitions with the development of bespoke in-house capabilities. Vizolution’s approach is to enable the IT department to build bespoke journey capabilities with a suite of integrated components that sit on top of our secure, enterprise-grade platform. Lego bricks for customer engagement applications that work independently but connect simply with other pieces of assembled functionality. These service-ready building blocks allow the IT department to deploy immediate capability. IT departments retain control of the build to release a truly bespoke offering while operating within the confines of limited resources. It doesn’t have to be “build it or buy it” when it can be a hybrid solution.
21) Accelerate Mobile App Delivery
Mobile apps help businesses put their brand in the pocket of the consumer to attain higher levels of engagement, increase customer value and deepen customer connection. While companies were once keen to measure the number of app downloads as something of a Holy Grail, the all-important metrics now are Engagement (measured as active users) and, where apps are used to generate sales, Lifetime Customer Value and Average Revenue Per User. Brands frustrated by the marked difference between app download rates and app usage rates often trace the disparity to a lack of actionable processes that drive value for customers. Yet even with the knowledge at their fingertips for brands exploring digital transformation, app development can sometimes fall down the list of resource priorities. While they continue to struggle with these backlogs for app delivery, Vizolution is helping brands not only streamline their most important journeys but also initiate them from the mobile app – satisfying customers, and impacting important KPIs while also driving meaningful connection with the brand’s app.
22) Support Changing Workforce Patterns
The last 18 months have seen one of the most fundamental shifts in workplace patterns, displacing us from our offices, normalising remote working, and giving both employer and employee an opportunity to re-imagine how things might run differently in the future. It’s not clear yet how things will play out, but it is clear that the box has been opened and change is happening. One of the major challenges for brands during the pandemic was how to support customers at a time when contact centres couldn’t be staffed and branches couldn’t be opened. For Vizolution clients, the ability to replicate face-to-face experiences – online – meant they could rise to the challenge and scale up support even while others were failing. It also demonstrated that excellent customer service could be provided from anywhere, at any time. While this helped with provision of support during the pandemic and offers future lockdown-proof solutions should we ever find ourselves in that place again, it’s interesting that it also opened the door for supplementing the contact centre with expertise from other parts of the business – including the branch network. This service-from-anywhere concept is already helping many Financial Services business transform their operations in 2022 and beyond.
To everyone: a great and successful 2022.
Graeme Ventris | Senior Vice President | Global Partners and Alliances | Vizolution