collective voice

Thanks for dropping by our blog page. Our team of over 40 full-time experts use our people-shaped approach to #MakeBetterHappen for individuals, communities and organisations. With insight, co-creation and engagement at the core of all that we do, our mission is to help shape a well, confident and self-reliant society. Call us on 0845 5193 423

The first thing to consider to avoid digital transformation failure

July 31, 2017 09:34

There are many reasons for public sector organisations to begin a digital transformation journey; the two most common reasons are to increase organisational efficiency and improve customer experience. It is easy to see the attraction of moving services into an online environment as part of a number of initiatives to reduce costs across our public sector system. The desire to improve customer experience through digital transformation seems to make sense when taking into account the continual increase of internet usage across all of our adult population, and particularly those aged 65+:

  • 88% of all adults use the internet
  • 99% of adults aged 16 to 24 use the internet
  • The largest increases in the number of internet users are women aged 75 and over (169.0%), women aged 65 to 74 (80.7%) and men aged 75 and over (80.3%)
  • There are over 38,000,000 active social media users
  • 73% internet users – which is 63% of all adults - have a social media profile, with 9 in 10 having a Facebook page
  • 65% of those with a social media profile say they visit social media sites more than once a day, and they mostly use a smartphone to do this.

So, digital transformation certainly seems to be the way forward, however successful digital journeys are few and far between. Forbes estimates that 84% of companies fail at digital transformation, whilst McKinsey estimates a more conservative 70% failure rate.

Digital transformation is a journey and one that may not have an immediate end point, or one that you can see on the horizon. This is because technology and digital solutions keep advancing and evolving, and so do the wants and needs of your customers. Therefore, your digital transformation strategy is one that also needs to evolve and adapt over time. But this doesn’t necessarily explain why so many organisations are failing in their attempts to embrace digital more completely into their service offering and ways of working.

Whether you are just starting out on your transformation journey or if you have formalised your strategy and are underway, I would like to make one recommendation to you -  consider undertaking a demand analysis. A demand analysis starts with you really understanding who your customers are and engaging them to find out what is most important to them and what digital services they expect and need. Equally, you need to find out what they don’t want from a digital perspective.

At ICE Creates, we advocate a people-centred approach and apply this in all of our work with our public sector partners. A focal point of this approach is demand analysis to understand how your customers interact with your organisation and the services you provide. We work with your customers to establish how demand can be managed more effectively and, in some instances, how it can be removed from the system by co-designing a better way of working. We’d really like to support you to implement a digital transformation strategy that meets your organisational objectives and also delivers an exceptional customer experience.

I recently came across a published tender opportunity from an organisation looking to procure a digital complaints handling system to log complaints received from web forms, email and by post. I can see that internally this makes sense and will no doubt save the organisation substantial sums currently spent on manual complaints handling and logging. Tick. Problem solved. Money saved. However, perhaps a better way of dealing with this is through a demand and root cause analysis, looking into the areas where the complaints are generated from and working with customers and staff to define the solution, implement the changes and resolve the problems. This then removes the need to source a digital complaints handling solution.

Although the evidence suggests more and more adults are using the internet regularly, it doesn’t necessarily mean they use it all the time for everything. This will have an impact upon your digital transformation strategy. Moving services online will not necessarily work if your customers do not want to be engaged through a digital channel for that service. Over the years, I have come to trust online banking. I am old enough to remember the early days of internet banking and some of the security issues that meant I wasn’t an early adopter, more in the late majority. Now, I save my bank a small fortune by conducting all of my transactions online; I manage my accounts online, I pay my bills online, I switch money between my accounts online. By using my heuristics to trial it in the first instance and being successful, my self-efficacy improved and has empowered me to become more and more ambitious with online banking, encouraging me to try new services.

But, every now and then, I need to talk to someone. Noticing a payment to someone I don’t recognise cannot be resolved online, even through the chat facility. I need to speak to a human being, a life saver, a hero in customer services who can look into the issue and reassure me – even if they are using digital solutions to help me! The point is that you need to have a very clear vision for how digital is going to become part of your service offering from the perspective of your customers, finding out what they need and not what you think they need. Transferring a service wholesale into a digital environment may make absolute sense from your organisational perspective, but if it does not match your customers’ expectations, you may find yourself needing to procure a digital complaints handling system to deal with a sudden increase in objections from your customers.

So please get in touch with me and together, we can explore the steps we can put in place together to ensure your journey is a successful one.

 - Paul

Paul.williams@icecreates.com

0151 647 4700

07970 037 012

How to make social media work for the public sector

June 13, 2017 11:24

Social media provides you with the opportunity to reach the vast majority of the population and it is a quick, easy and expedient platform to communicate through. For public sector organisations, social media can help you to promote your services, share best practice and positively influence your organisation’s reputation and brand perception.

A quick glance at user numbers demonstrates how widespread digital consumption and use of social media is in the UK:

  • 88% of all adults use the internet
  • 99% of adults aged 16 to 24 use the internet
  • The largest increases in the number of internet users are women aged 75 and over (169.0%), women aged 65 to 74 (80.7%) and men aged 75 and over (80.3%)
  • There are over 38,000,000 active social media users
  • 73% of internet users – which is 63% of all adults - have a social media profile, with 9 in 10 having a Facebook page
  • 65% of those with a social media profile say they visit social media sites more than once a day, and they mostly use a smartphone to do this.

I recall one public sector organisation realising this. Every Thursday, they would unleash a week’s worth of press releases and news articles through their social media channels. However, they viewed social media as a broadcast medium and didn’t respond to their followers when they commented and didn’t engage in the wider conversations. As a result, their number of followers declined rapidly. As an organisation, they concluded that social media wasn’t realising any benefit or return for them. By failing to understand that they needed to engage in conversations with their audience and be relevant to the conversation, this organisation severely limited the impact of their social media’s potential to increase engagement and rapport.

Imagine you are attending a social function where you don’t really know anyone - how would you engage with the other attendees? I doubt that you would march to the middle of the room, stand on a soapbox, pull out a megaphone and start talking about whatever was on your mind at that moment. Rather, you’d probably circulate for a while, listen to what different groups were talking about and introduce yourself into the conversation that you were most comfortable with or to the people you have most in common with.

So where do you start? Well, first of all, you need to have a clear vision of what you want to get from social media - what are you using it for and how will it fit into your wider communications and engagement programme? You also have to be prepared to accept that social media is not effective as a broadcast channel. It is an extremely effective way to engage people in two-way and often multi-way conversations.

You also need to generate exciting, informative and meaningful content that is relevant to the people (and organisations) you are trying to engage with. Knowing how to do this and where to find the source or inspiration for your content might be seen as a challenge. However, you may be surprised to learn where you’ll find inspiring and unique content for your social channels – I’ve found some of the greatest stories coming from conversations I’ve had in corridors, in the canteen, or by the kettle. Not every story you tell needs to be war and peace!

Here are some ideas to help you get started:

  • Brand awareness, reputation and management – by creating unique content, not only do you improve your SEO, but you can tailor your ‘voice’ and create, manage and maintain your identity. The key is to not be too self-promotional. Talk about the wider industry as whole, and about what good work you see other people doing
  • Community building  - you have to be systematic about this. Decide how often you want to engage with your community and then stick to it, schedule your tweets and posts using a solution like Hootsuite or Buffer and make sure your followers get your content when they’re online. We like this optimal scheduling tool from Buffer https://buffer.com/optimal-scheduling/calculate
  • Influencer outreach – I don’t think this is talked about enough in the public sector, even though influencers can be extremely engaging. Take a look at how Dr Andy Knox is using it to offer really sound advice and, by doing so, potentially freeing up GP appointments https://youtu.be/-asyBAgP688
  • Engagement and involvement – I’ve saved this ‘til last for a good reason. Most of us believe that this is the main use for social - to engage - and I think we should be smarter about this. The best engagement and involvement comes from doing the three points above well. It’s no longer enough to just use your social platforms to push out information as I mentioned earlier.

We’ve followed our own advice and put it to great effect - last year we won a CIPR PRide gold award for our work. We’d like to share what, how and, most importantly, why we use social media to engage and influence behaviour with you. If you want to know more about building a social strategy or want to come to one of our social and digital workshops, please get in touch with me and join us for our coffee and cake morning with our digital behaviour change experts.

paul.williams@icecreates.com

0151 647 4700