Josie Klafkowska
Josie Klafkowska 22 November 2021

Digital Data Capture: The Customer Experience That Got Left Behind

Data is a marketer’s greatest asset. It informs decision-making, shapes product development and drives the customer experience. Yet, many businesses still struggle to capture their customer data and put it to use effectively.

Data can be an organisation’s greatest asset. It informs decision-making, shapes product development and drives the customer experience.

Despite recent data scandals raising concerns around the handling of customer data, over a third (35%) of consumers are willing to share more of their data if it improves online experiences with a brand; meanwhile 42% say that targeted ads are a valuable use of their personal data.

Marketers today recognise that having high-quality data is critical for them to develop the insights they need to drive rich, contextual and personalised conversations with their customers. But many businesses still struggle to capture their customer data effectively.

For example, more established financial organisations with legacy systems find it hard to compete with frictionless sign-up processes adopted by banks like Monzo, who simply require a phone and a single ID. And the customer experience is what ultimately suffers.

Moving Towards a Centralised Platform

Marketers have typically been investing in customer experience across the ‘learn’ phase of the journey, as customers seek information on new products, via key digital channels such as web, apps, email and social media.

They now need to turn their attention to the provision of frictionless data capture in the onboarding and application phases of the customer journey to ensure that the on-going experience lives up to the marketing promise and drives business efficiencies. This is not a straightforward task for larger, more traditional organisations.

Legacy internal workflows can mean that transforming this process is challenging – for newer organisations built with digital and customer experience at their core, this problem does not exist. Seamless self-service is the standard, and there is little to no duplication caused by silos.

Nevertheless, we are seeing huge benefits derived from the introduction of a centralised platform that handles all data capture, generates documents of record, captures electronic signatures where required and transmits that data to the systems that need it.

There is a five-step process that organisations can take to transform this incredibly important and pivotal stage in the customer journey.

1. Reformulate the Data Capture Experience

Businesses have an opportunity to fundamentally rethink the experience by digitising what has traditionally been a physical pen and paper exercise.

The most important priority should be to whittle down any duplication of effort on the part of the customer. Behind the scenes, any data already held on the customer should be held appropriately to ensure that all information is only requested once.

The resulting user experience should then be personalised, seamless and most importantly, consistent throughout.

This will result in a more enjoyable customer journey, but also cost savings for the business by eliminating manual paperwork and basic administrative tasks.

 2. Streamline the Workflow

The creation of a standard and centralised platform for data capture also opens a whole world of operational efficiencies.

It reduces the need for physical shipping of forms and the need to manually enter data from a physical to a digital format. Reliance on optical character recognition (OCR) technology will become a thing of the past, as will any manual checkpoints required to validate that data prior to submission.

By creating a standardisation for data capture, businesses can achieve simpler digital downstream processes and ensure there is less room for human error.

3. Fix Backend Integrations

The evolution of cloud-based services, such as AWS and Microsoft Azure, which now provide integration services as part of their wider cloud-based offerings, can help organisations to simplify the process of sending captured data to backend systems.

More complex organisations that are dependent on more than one legacy back-end system database will likely need to integrate service layers, such as MuleSoft, into their technology stack to enable data transfers to their back-ends.

 4. Ensure Seamless Adoption

The transformation of the data capture experience is not a simple procedure.

The platform should initially sit on top of existing physical processes. It should have its own remit, its own operational structure, and its own governance.

Businesses should look to run new digital processes alongside any existing physical ones, giving them a benchmark for data quality and operational efficiency. They should not replace existing processes straight away.

A transitional phase will ensure alignment with existing operational teams, which is essential to driving adoption and buy-in elsewhere within the organisation. It’s imperative to bring compliance teams into the process early, as it will save time later down the line.

5. Work Towards Continuous Development

New ways of working will evolve once a new digital data capture platform is operational with implementation risks successfully mitigated. What’s more, businesses should ensure that improving the customer journey is an iterative process, by removing anything that causes duplication and continuously looking for ways to improve the experience.

Why do we need initials on every page? Is a CAPTCHA or a scribble signature as legally binding as an electronic signature for certain document types? Do we need these documents at all? Or do we simply need to push the data captured to the appropriate system and ensure the action was logged somewhere as part of a digital record?

These questions should be encouraged and will help to support the continuous development process.

Every Digital Ecosystem is Unique

For this five-stage process to work, businesses need to conduct an internal audit first. Understand the existing customer journey to identify the key pain points and then ascertain the priorities that will deliver maximum impact for the business.

Every organisation is different which means every customer base faces a unique challenge. This must be reflected in any data-driven strategy that an organisation, new or old, creates. The eventual result will be a vastly improved user experience and many operational efficiencies and cost savings.

With the world moving online, organisations need to implement frictionless digital data capture now to keep customers happy, drive business efficiencies and grow in what is an incredibly competitive market.

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