Digital gap between consumer and business expectations

Digital methods of doing business are no longer viewed as ‘nice to have’ by consumers or business professionals – they are an absolute prerequisite. Almost 90% of consumers want the option of completing transactions digitally which poses a huge challenge – and opportunity – for businesses of every size and industry.

That is one of the core findings of new research commissioned by DocuSign, the eSignature and digital transaction management (DTM) company. The research also shows that more than 60% of C-Level executives expect businesses to offer digital options for completing transactions.

“If companies aren’t already going digital to accelerate the process of doing business internally, they need to do so for their customers,” said Scott Olrich, chief strategy and marketing officer at DocuSign.

“Today’s consumers demand the ease, speed and convenience of doing business digitally, and if your organisation doesn’t, they will find a modern business that does.”

>See also: 10 predictions for digital transformation in 2017

The survey results revealed consumer motivation behind their desire for digital. Two in five consumers have had a document lost in the post in the past year, resulting in 62% of consumers not feeling comfortable sending important or sensitive paper documents that way, while 59% of consumers believe that organisations using legacy processes – such as paper forms – are outdated when compared to their peers who are digital.

A further 57% of consumers would choose to interact with companies that offer digital methods of completing transactions over those that stick to those dated, paper-based processes.

While executives appear to lag behind consumers in the move to digital, those same executives are starting to recognise its importance to their own consumers and the future of their businesses – with 85% citing digital transformation as a top priority within their organisations.

Consumers may be pleased to learn that the top three areas of business that C-level executives aim to improve by going digital are in fact customer-centric:

• 52% are looking to digital to improve their customer relationship management (CRM),
• 51% are focused on enhancing customer service through digital means, and
• 46% are aiming to improve client satisfaction/their client experience with digital technologies.

>See also: 4 intelligent elements of successful digital transformation

However, despite having the sympathetic ear of the C-Suite, consumers are still a long way from receiving a standardised, digital experience across all departments. Barriers to digital adoption commonly cited by business leaders include a lack of funding at 46%, and the need to modify infrastructure before implementation at 54%.

Many lines of business still have hurdles to overcome in order to complete their digital transformations. The fact that 44% of senior business decision makers have undertaken digital projects without consulting their IT departments shows that ownership of digital initiatives is proliferating throughout departments.

However, digital transformation is a company-wide initiative, with more and more organisations creating chief digital officer roles to drive collaboration and success across departments – as just 29% of business leaders have had a digital project advance forward without red tape from another department.

“Increasingly, digital technologies like eSignature are closing the gap between consumer expectations and the realities of how business gets done,” said Helen Sutton, VP of enterprise for Northern Europe at DocuSign.

>See also: How companies must adapt to the digital revolution

“Whilst it’s encouraging to see business leaders recognise this with a greater focus on going digital as a strategic imperative, the pace and scale of digital transformation needs to increase in many organisations.”

The good news for consumers is that the overwhelming majority of executives – 92% – agree that their organisation could be doing more to go digital.

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...