Jon Slade, director at Campbell Tickell, discusses how to create a digital transformation programme that meets the needs of all.
I have a lot of conversations about digital transformation. It is very much the phrase on the lips of executives and boards the length and breadth of the country.
I am a keen proponent, who wouldn’t be, of an approach that can improve the accessibility of services, improve outcomes for customers while also reducing cost to serve.
One issue always comes up, and often it is the first point made. ‘But what about those who can’t digitally self-serve?’ I think this is an interesting question worth delving in to somewhat. There are lots of useful data, not least that compiled by the Office of National Statistics(ONS), which found that only 10% of UK adults are ‘internet non-users’.
As you would expect the number varies across a range of different slices whether that is by geography, age, ethnicity, wealth, economic activity, disability, etc. But, whichever way you cut the ONS data, those who are counted as internet non-users are always in the minority. My question is: what about the majority?
I think that as a sector we have built our service models around the needs of a different minority, our most demanding customers, for the last 40 years.
I understand why and how this happened but there are significant consequences from this focus. The effects of this perspective can be seen not only in how services are designed, generally into more expensive, enforcement focused structures and methods, but also in organisational cultures. I have seen digital transformations slowly but surely undermined by organisational cultures rooted in focussing on the most demanding minority.
Firstly, let’s focus on the majority of customers, who do have internet access, do use that access to learn more about services and also use that access for internet banking.
Let’s take the time to understand more about which customers will find it more difficult to access services online and our most demanding customers and let’s create carefully tailored approaches for those people.
Crucially, let’s not offer our tailored solutions to all customers because if we do, we will repeat the error within existing service models and drastically reduce the savings in operating costs that we want to reinvest in more homes and/or more services.
And let’s make sure that we understand the culture in place (at CT we have a range of ways to do this, not least our newly launched Culture Scan tool) and plan the route to a culture supportive of the new service model.
This inversion of (existing, unwritten) design principles is a critical element in the creation of a successful housing transformation.
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Director, Campbell Tickell