Digital transformation, like building a successful business, takes time. It’s an evolving process that relies on channel shift and is influenced by customer behaviour and your organisation’s available resources. After conducting sufficient research and setting realistic goals, we generally recommend testing minimum viable product (MVP) self-service functions before diving into an entirely new online proposition.
Here’s what you need to consider when determining your channel shift timeline:
Be Wary of Immediate Wins
Even if you experience a positive response from people as they move from one channel to another, ROI won’t necessarily be immediate. Typically, existing or supplementary systems will need to be maintained before you can reduce or fade out old communication channels—especially while your customers are migrating between channels. That said, if you plan effectively and focus your efforts on the most suitable MVP, your returns will occur faster.
Shifting to digital requires an upfront investment and patience to see long-term results. For a clearer idea of how digital shift can benefit you, use our ROI calculator to determine potential gains at different levels of the shift.
Equip Staff and Customers
In large organisations, internal politics can sometimes undermine digital channel shift efforts. That’s why every team needs an authority that guides effectively and fosters an eagerness to embrace change. To lead a digital initiative, you need to be prepared to move things swiftly. Dedicated budgets, resources and senior-level decision-making powers are vital to making changes quickly and efficiently.
To manage the process internally, we suggest you focus on a small action-orientated group with team members from different departments. Remember, your team will be making new strategic and structural changes in response to real-time data to improve efficiency, so they need to have the necessary skills and authority to push through business improvements.
Digital channel shift needs to be customer-centric, so make sure your customers are aware that the rules of engagement are changing. Don’t abruptly cut off their previous communication channels, as this will likely frustrate them; instead, ease them into the shift by providing their usual preferences alongside other communication channels. This will encourage them to embrace digital communication without compromising their trust.
Keep in mind that not everyone has equal access to the internet, so you will need to consider how channel shift sits alongside a broader digital inclusion strategy. For example, you could encourage staff at your housing association’s contact centre to help people access to your website using on-premise terminals. You should also provide a range of language and accessibility options suited to the individual and device they are using.
Define Your Timeline
Even though digital channel shift is dependent on your resources, customers and overall business strategy, you still need to settle on a timeline for evaluation purposes. If you’re starting with pilot projects, it’s sensible to schedule regular review periods at least every quarter to assess where you are succeeding and where you could improve further. A successful digital transformation is the product of adaptability and the ability to scale-up and plan effectively.
There is no steadfast rule as to how long a successful digital transformation takes, but there are loads of examples showing why they fail. Mainly, failure is due to lack of expertise, or remaining stagnant for too long without updating services or implementing new changes to test customer response. Just make sure that whatever timeframe you decide on, you have enough leeway to test different strategies and determine which ones work best for your organisation.
Strategy, not technology, drives digital transformation. Your digital capabilities need to combine your operational processes with your business model and customer service. The key to success lies in: defining value, launching, accelerating and upscaling in quick succession.
You can use our channel shift ROI calculator to model for how ROI would change as you set different channel shift targets and timelines.