Digital Engagement (Don’t tell me. Show me.)

Michael Sauer Customer Experience Design, User Experience Design

Market growth demands improved experiences

Today, more than ever, keeping people engaged, interested and motivated is very challenging for brands and organizations. In an Uber-fied world, expectations are high for seamless user experiences with intuitive navigation and telegraphic content that gets to the point quickly. Yet, many companies continue to overcommunicate, drowning people in text-heavy content and clumsy digital journeys that require 10 clicks and 10 screens that read like white papers, putting a spin on the adage, would you prefer a picture or a thousand words?

With the recent proliferation of small startup brands, creating an emotional connection with people will be paramount for historical, legacy brands seeking sustained market growth—especially as people shift to these new disruptors. At the root of these new brands are storytelling and digital engagement that connect with people at an emotional level. Whether it’s an ingredient story, benefit list or a before-and-after data comparison, telling your story through visuals will engage people, pique their interest and motivate them to interact. Throughout the product and service experience, meaningful engagement can attract, convert and retain new customers to grow and maintain market share, the business goal for every company—large, small, old or new.

Acquiring customers and driving conversion

Shift control to the customer

At Magnani, our clients recognize digital engagement as the key to attracting new customers and driving conversion (clicking a link to learn more about a new product, downloading a new service or starting an in-depth conversation with a chat or email inquiry). Today’s customers have a short attention span and are surrounded by a plethora of digital distractions. To learn about your product or service, they’re looking for pithy headlines, infographics and interactive visualizations.

By providing customers with interactive, personalized digital tools, using their own data inputs, the data outputs and visualizations provide relevancy and meaning and deeper engagement that leads to conversion. Personalization can also shift the dynamic of the conversation from the brand to the person, which puts them in control of the experience and decision-making, also improving conversion.

Build trust. Seeing is believing.

On a recent project, during a user research interview, an insurance Broker said that as more and more companies compete for customers, it is vital for brands to stand out, differentiate and visualize their data to support their sales narrative, with their biggest challenge being skeptical and unconvinced Prospects saying, “Don’t tell me, show me.”

Based on this insight, the opportunity and solution for our project was an interactive digital tool that visualizes the Prospect’s inputs and corresponding data outputs by creating a comparison chart of the Prospect’s current and recommended insurance coverage limits against industry peers. The tool also highlighted real-world claims filed against companies like theirs. With the comparison chart visualized and aligned to the Broker’s sales narrative, this can pique the Prospect’s interest and motivate them to request a follow-up conversation about limit recommendations. By visualizing their data and contextualizing the insurance agent’s recommendations, seeing is believing for the Prospect.

Our UX team optimized the digital calculator tool for both desktop and mobile so Brokers could have impromptu, anytime, anywhere, conversations. Experiencing this type of personalized digital engagement can build trust, motivate customers to learn more and continue the conversation.

Visualize progress

In addition to interactive, personalized digital tools, simple data visualizations can drive engagement with customers and change their behaviors. Customer portals, dashboards and overview summaries using charts, graphs and progress meters are opportunities to visualize data in a fashion more compelling, motivating and supportive of people’s goals and desired behaviors. For instance, logging into a health care account and seeing medical test results plotted over time can change people’s outlook and mindset from being reactive to proactive—again shifting control to the user and motivating them to make changes in diet, sleep and exercise routines that can improve their health and well-being. Or seeing metered progress with retirement savings can motivate people to make financial changes and reduce spending to improve their retirement planning and achieve their goals.

User retention

New news, new tools, new technology

As customers adopt new products and services, it is important to keep them engaged with new news, new tools and new technology. Over time, customers will lose interest in a product or service as it becomes more and more routine in their lives. Developing a long-term road map of new features and benefits will help keep your product or service feeling fresh and exciting. At a minimum, an initial product or service launch should have a second-generation version in the works.

Integrate data

For customers, receiving information at the right time is key to a positive and rewarding customer experience, as most negative experiences revolve around ambiguity, assumption and technology limitations. Providing customers full and complete information within a holistic experience can drive adoption, long-term usage and retention. For instance, linking account data with seamless integration through single sign-on (SSO) authentication will provide customers with an efficient, holistic view of their data. This is a table-stake expectation for digital-savvy millennials and a challenge for historical, legacy brands within the financial, insurance and health care sectors. In many cases, departments or business units within these older companies are often siloed with separate servers, requiring separate logins, multiple usernames and passwords, etc. For customers, they can only see one account at a time, not everything all at once. Although short-term patch solutions exist, such as APIs, companies must think long-term and begin developing solutions for integrating and growing their IT systems before they become obsolete, and their digital experiences lose relevancy with customers This is especially important as startups disrupt their categories using new infrastructure with integrated systems, linked data and SSO authentication.

Video content

A short, concise video can drive engagement and build brand equity with customers. It is the perfect medium for communicating benefits, features and updates and educating customers on what to expect. Good storytelling can easily bring your brand, product and service to life. By combining video, graphics and audio, you can tell your story, showcase your brand personality and create an emotional connection that touches on all the senses. And by creating an emotional connection, you are more likely to increase your conversion rate.

To improve your conversion rate and attract new customers, consider using and leveraging your market research data to create personalized video content targeted to specific user segments, with different calls to action that can be shared across social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and YouTube.

Augmented Reality (AR) and contextual experiences

Another great example of providing meaningful information is augmented reality or AR. As smartphone technology evolves, AR will become more and more prevalent with the smartphone experience. Using the phone’s camera and GPS, AR provides relevant information within the context of our environment—information pops up on screen, related to the video surrounding as seen through the camera. AR can enhance directions to a location or provide information about an object or instructions to a process. Your product and service can come to life with user-relevant information, using your smartphone and its AR capabilities. Whether you’re visiting a doctor’s office, looking at modern art or assembling IKEA furniture, AR can provide the information you need at the right time to have a positive and meaningful customer experience, every step of the way.

Digital engagement

In summary, meaningful and relevant digital interaction can attract and convert new customers and retain existing customers to grow and maintain market share. To create an emotional connection with your target user, consider the following design and development opportunities:

  • Digital tools with interactive, personalized inputs that put the user in control.
  • Data visualizations that compel, motivate and support user behaviors and goals. Opportunities include account portals, dashboards, charts, graphs and progress meters that show status or goal-oriented, before-and-after data comparisons.
  • Data integration creates efficient, seamless digital experiences that customers expect.
  • Video with engaging content can create emotional connections with customers through storytelling that builds brand equity and drives conversion.
  • Augmented Reality or AR provides the information customers need at key moments to create positive contextual experiences using evolving, future smartphone technology.
  • Innovative features and updates keep customers interested and engaged over time. Having new news demonstrates you as an active brand, an innovator and a category leader.
ABOUT US

Magnani is an experience design and strategy firm that crafts transformational digital experiences to delight users and deliver sustainable competitive market advantages for our clients.

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