Is being totally digital possible, or even desirable?

30th September 2021

Digital transformation is one of those topics you can’t avoid. Is it fear of being left behind causing that, perhaps? And it leads to the question, can traditional, non-digital customer experiences still survive in the digital age? 

Let’s start with what customers think about digital vs traditional customer service. Research by the likes of Banfi et al.* indicates that developing and implementing a digital customer service strategy will result in more satisfied customers. People who engaged with digital service channels were almost 20% more satisfied than those who engaged with traditional channels. Interestingly, even those service experiences that crossed both traditional and digital channels had higher satisfaction than the pure conventional channels. That in itself makes a strong case for digitising customer service experiences: pure traditional-only customer service experiences won’t cut it anymore! 

Hold on a minute – is it really that desirable to be purely digital? 

But first, let’s take a step back… We always need to start from what works best for the customers, based on your service proposition. And that, if anything, makes one wonder: is your brand promise crystal clear and defined not only internally but also externally? Even more importantly, can your company live up to those promises? 

It is too simplistic to say that traditional customer experiences don’t hold value anymore, as much as it is to say that it everything should be digital-only. If your business has a true north star vision of the customer experience you want to offer, then it will be more evident where traditional customer experiences add value and where not. 

For example, you wouldn’t want to make your dentist visit fully digital, would you? That would require you to have some kind of robotic dentist kit at home, which you would operate. I personally prefer to go to a dentist. But then thinking about a GP experience, no-one want to queue for  hours for every pain and ache they may have, so it would be more practical to have a digital video call with a GP.  

Maybe you could summarise this by saying that many would prefer traditional customer experience over digital when the query or customer need is complex. In the same way, many would prefer a digital experience where no physical presence is needed, or it doesn’t add value. 

Either way, you shouldn’t get too worried about all the doomsday messages around robots making people obsolete. Even behind digital experiences, there needs to be a human touch. Remember, people design and implement all digital systems and experiences. More importantly, there are the front-line CX advisors who deliver on your brand promise each time. What’s important now is to ensure they are equipped with the skills and knowledge they need and that L&D is provided in a format (perhaps digitally) that they are comfortable with. 

Iceberg ahead! 

The above examples are barely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the need for digital transformation of the customer experience. Technologies such as chatbots, natural language IVR and robotic process automation can deliver true omnichannel experiences that change how a company builds relationships with its clients. That is why traditional customer experiences won’t cut it alone anymore!  

More blended experiences between traditional and digital worlds are needed. You don’t want to digitise traditional experiences that are valued by customers. But you should digitise experiences that don’t add value in the physical world. Furthermore, as customer experience is the area businesses should be striving to improve continuously, it should be one of the main forces driving a digital transformation towards completion. 


Mike Havard
Group Director
Davies Consulting 

07826 287210

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