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Published April 17, 2019

Friction-free customer journey through data minimalism

Purchasing a ticket online requires you to create an account and accept confusing instructions for use because the company concerned wants to collect as much data about you as possible. The user experience is poor. A smart company builds its business on a fair data economy model and earns the trust of its customers.
Writer
Leading Specialist, IHAN - Humandriven data economy, Sitra

In the corporate world, there has been talk about the importance of the customer experience for the last five years. Those involved in developing business, customer accounts and marketing have continuously been repeating its importance to management and business functions. I am one of those people.

The message has been heard in many companies because it is something that clearly improves competitiveness. One can only guess how many process and system development projects have been launched in organisations around the world. However, to what extent are all the development measures taken ultimately visible to the outside?

It’s a part of business that the ability to create added value is developed all the time, and that’s why things should also be happening around the customer experience continuously. A good customer experience still makes it possible to stand out from competitors and gain an astonishing advantage.

Data is often at the core of the customer experience. The world around us has made it clear that it is not only an enormous opportunity but also a serious problem. We are living in a time when the balance between the collection and use of data is nervously being pursued. Many people ask: Is more really better? After all, this is what we have been thinking with regard to data so far. A new question, which has arisen from the needs of customers is: What is reasonable and sensible? The idea of data minimalism has emerged.

The most customer-oriented Finnish companies aim for friction-free service and collect data appropriately with moderation.

Let’s take an example. To purchase a ticket for an event, I must log in to the system using my data, in other words, either create an account or log in to an existing account. You could easily purchase a ticket without logging in, so the only need for the requirement to log in is the company’s desire to collect data. That is, data with which it has not done anything visible as the customer relationship with its services is sporadic and customer encounters are few and far between. Therefore, the account I have created is rarely used and one of the dozens of “customer accounts” all of us have, and that more often do harm than benefit us.

I have been really delighted to hear about Finnish companies that aim for a friction-free customer journey and the appropriate collection of data in moderation. To them, the main point seems to be that the customer is delighted about the ease of using the service, and that business is booming. What are those companies missing out on? At the very least, incorrect and poor-quality data. My own “Mickey Mouse” accounts created as required by old-guard companies certainly do not benefit anyone, especially since my online behaviour in some services is intentionally illogical or based on all of my family members using the same account.

Trust is created gradually with the right actions and with respect for privacy.

When forced logging in is proven to be an impediment and an obstacle to sales, there might also be other unnecessary loops that irritate the customer. Trust is an absolute requirement for acquiring trade and loyalty in the consumer business but, in addition, studies have shown it is an obstacle to using digital services.

In fact, companies should ask themselves whether it creates trust when every small act online is recorded and a cookie has to be swallowed at all times and everywhere. Does it increase trust if the terms of use are in Klingon and as long as an Olympic pool? Does it increase trust if the description of privacy policy does not actually say anything? No, no and no.

Trust is created gradually with the right actions, and respect for privacy should be at the forefront; and then it has to be seamlessly linked to the customer experience. Through trust, a company engages but does not bind. It is the foundation on which Finnish and European companies should build their businesses. With it, data also becomes high-quality and up to date, making more sense for it to be used.

The stumbling around of platform economy giants when it comes to privacy even has effects on business models. Privacy can be turned into a competitive factor and the foundation for a new model based on a fair data economy. In it, the new winners are European companies, us as individuals, or consumers, and society, which is rewarded with more sustainably acquired tax income and well-being.

Companies must wake up and become aware of the business opportunities brought about by “datastrophes”. We have created Nokia, Vaisala and Supercell – the list is long and we have heard it several times. We have expertise as well as the best catalyst in the digital operating environment: trust. On that basis, let’s build sustainable data-sharing ecosystems, taking customer needs as the starting point, and create new kinds of services for a new kind of data economy.

And returning to data minimalism: let’s adjust the services to be more friction-free as soon as tomorrow. Let’s take the first step by adding an option at the bottom of the website: “browse without cookies”.

#IHAN

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