Updated: Aug 17
"Action comes about if and only if we find a discrepancy between what we are experiencing and what we want to experience." - Philip J. Runkel
I remember when I quit active banking career to discover and pursue goals that promised new avenues for learning; little did I know that I would also learn to look at things from very different perspective.
From mentoring (also financing), a digital transformation company to managing goals of business expansions at CARE Risk Solutions, besides helping in some of the products, the learnings in the recent past has been extraordinary.
Adding to the learning was the disruption caused in recent times. It offered us new opportunities, in few cases forced us, to relook at our strategy and engagement model across point of interaction. The world suddenly became even more Digital. When I say “More Digital”, it is a comparative term that I am using to appreciate horizontal expansion of Digitalization of newer areas.
Glocal Is Digital Too
To give an example, I wanted to have the battery of my car recharged, dead after a prolonged non-usage, thanks to lockdowns. I was pleasantly surprised to interact with the neighborhood service center. “Please take our number, simply ping once, you will receive the link on Whatsapp. Fill in the details and you will get a schedule for service at your doorstep, we will get in touch with you”, said the Service Centre owner.
Other than opening the car to let the service center take the battery, what I experienced was a unique digital user journey.
Turning to our workplace, WFH has created a digital avatar for all of us. With restriction on travel, the important change that has taken place is how we are engaging with our customers and other stakeholders.
So how does a product company, based out of India, with a large customer base overseas works in these times? The simple answer is, by engaging with customers on audio and video calls. And what additional can we offer to our customer, visitor, casual explorer who happens to be on our Digital Channel, the website (www.carerisksolutions.com), interested in our products, service or even wanting to know what we do, who are our customers and what are the projects completed by us? Again, a logical simple answer is to give him an Amazon or Flipkart experience, for him and her to pick-n-choose as per requirement. What is a eCommerce experience for Corporate Website? Blink Blink…
Next logical question that we all faced was, “Is our Digital Channel (website & mobile application) scaled up to meet the new challenges and opportunities in our business environment?’ Answer was a unanimous ‘No”, a rare phenomenon of agreement.
Digital Is The New Infinity
Definition of Digital is changing every day. From simple websites to mobile applications, from social media to payment services, from ecommerce to online media and gaming, from availing services to providing services – all these are simple examples of Digital World.
But what really makes a Digital Service or Entity shade better than the competition?
It is essentially the User Experience or UX. As an enabler, UX may, in turn, include combination of backend and frontend tools that gives users a seamless experience. And firms with specific audience have done tremendous research in their respective field to provide flawless user experience, both at front end (UI) and also at the experience (UX) level.
Sticking to UX; - how many of us can find a flaw with Whatsapp? Whatever you might have thought you would need as a user, has been thought through and brought to your application.
Talking of power users expecting top of the deck product experience, I had a little chit chat with my younger son, who takes his music seriously and has signed us all for Apple Music family share. Again, Apple Music is something that I believe is a standard when it comes to providing you a seamless experience where you can create your playlist, download music, categorize music as per your choices with utmost ease and across devices. And you can continue to play your music offline, all within the app. Now the young generation challenges my wisdom and near nirvana of UX with Apple Music to say, experience “Spotify” for me.
Now compared to Apple Music, Spotify has its own fan-base. The one which expects music application to think like users. And not only think like him, but also think like him for all his different mood swings. Wait, what?
Spotify, with its ability to run numerous algorithms, perhaps based on neural network, is able to correlate one song with thousand others on attributes, such as Singer, Genre, Album, Mood, Correlation to other downloads to predict user preferences, Songs playing pattern, Region, Time of the day and week. Even attributes such as Song Played while at Home or outside, If shared, Number of time a song played by user, Next song played after this particular song by another user having similar attribute etc. Imagine how fast and how complex analytics is working in the background to mimic user preference. Brilliant example of AI.
It does not stop there, it offers to make different Playlists, Groups in engaging colors and formats to a stage where user doesn’t need to add, but perhaps decide what from recommendations it should reject. Aa ha, so Spotify thinks musically for you.
More examples of UX needed? Get me an example of movie streaming platform better than Netflix. Even the ones that have mushroomed later are struggling to meet the standards set by Netflix. Achievable, only if you “think of your customer”, as Managing Director of my former employer, India’s leading private sector bank, Mr Aditya Puri used to say.
How to give a Netflix & Spotify experience to your customer?
In a mundane world of Corporate Applications that too focused at non-glamorous functions of CFO and CRO of an organization, giving a superior digital experience to handful of users is always an ongoing challenge. While UI is not demanded that fiercely, it still poses massive challenges to Analytics team to provide superior UX experience by way of intuitive, machine learned and AI driven data that surprises and challenges the wisdom of the user, a champion in his field. Hmmm, “Spotify” him?
Digital Strategy for Channels - Stepping out of comfort zone
Being a corporate entity at times binds us to too many restrictions, limitations and considerations. Challenge is, how we step out of that comfort zone, it does need a shakeup, especially of grumpy naysayers.
Running the program to launch our new website gave us the opportunity to apply principle of UX to visitors coming to our Digital Channels, also on mobile and tablets.
Keeping “Seamless User Journey” as the guiding principle of Digital UI and UX, we made efforts to cover the following;
Seamless and uniform user journey across channels.
User or visitor “in control” at any given time, no “where am I?’ & “What to do next?” moments.
Minimum clicks to reach the desired page, product and related material.
Minimum scrolling of screen to find out anything hidden. A user loses interest in most cases if forced to scroll up and down to find what he is looking for.
Eyeball level positioning of content. Everything that matters is right in front.
Four click navigation to download of product brochure for most of the products & services.
Page and Icon relevant backgrounds. Experience it.
Standardized downloadable documents and content.
Do not expect user to read the heavy text.
Not too content heavy. Keep it simple, yet engaging.
Text to drive SEO though is not compromised; it is also not allowed to clutter the pages.
Access agnostic user experience – user must be able to navigate with equal ease, whether within the website or happens to come to our pages through links such as published Blogs or a LinkedIn post.
Aesthetics that challenge the conventional norms.
Dazzling colors and themes to kick out the normal.
Providing local flavor for international visitors looking for information relevant to their country or region.
Not using content that needs another program to run, such as videos hosted on YouTube. Done mainly to help visitor working in organizations, such as banks, that do not give access to such sites.
Special focus on content to ensure page is equally easy to navigate when it opens on other channels, namely Mobile and Tablets.
A Chat bot to ensure user from different time-zone can interact seamlessly with us, while some of us are watching web series on Netflix, coz social outing is out.
For Mobile & Tablets too, same guiding principles were applied.
Some of us were initially horrified (not that they would stage a walkout) to see our plans, especially on our efforts to make a bold statement, with, “we are in BFSI space, should we………….”, caution. The quest to do something new is often misunderstood for belligerence.
It took us several e-meetings to share our plans and to get stakeholders onboard. The exercise was also helpful in distributed responsibilities and identifying ownership on an end-to-end basis.
The Covid gloom has been there for quite some time and team CARE Risk Solutions wanted to do something new, something to cherish, something to look forward to. And what could have been a better way to earn that moment of hurrah than with a “Brand New Website” www.carerisksolutions.com
“If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old” – Peter F Drucker
Author: Sharad Bishnoi
CARE Risk Solutions