Low-cost digital communication

  • May 31, 2022

As a child I remember the joy and excitement I had when I went to the letterbox and discovered there was a letter addressed to Master V Rivett. To start with-it would-be birthday cards from family. As I got older, the occasional pen written letter. A bank statement would make me feel all adult-like.

As I aged, the joy I derived from the postal service took a swift change. I would open the letterbox to find that the mail no longer excited me. Often, the bills would be flowing in faster than the bank cheques. Or the letterbox would be full of circulars and promotional material.

Communication has changed in the digital world. Today we have email, text messaging, social media, and other forms of communication. We also have multiple ways to consume those "can't wait another moment" messages through laptops, mobile phones as smart watches.

Did you know that an informed customer is more likely to be a loyal customer? When post was the dominant form of personalised communication a letter was one of the only options. But now we have so many different options. Digital communication is a lot cheaper than the postal service. It is almost instant. People now expect to better informed. Recently we started to purchase our groceries online. As part of the ordering process, we can select a time slot for the delivery. We want to be home when the groceries arrive, so this helps us to plan. On the day the groceries are delivered, we get multiple emails and text messages to inform us on the whereabouts of our order.

Unfortunately, we are let down. The messages are unreliable. The order is not delivered in the time window that we had booked. When we get a text to say that the order is about 1 hour away, 2 hours past and we continue to wait. The only message that can be trusted is the one that says "we are one kilometre away. To the customer, each message is a promise. Broken promises lead to disappointment.

With modern digital tools that deliver "low cost" communication, we need to make sure that we keep thinking of each of our customers as "high value" customers.

With all the smarts available to us today, there is an opportunity for Artificial Intelligence (AI) to help improve customer communications for a mass market. Data, such as Google's traffic information can be combined with other information such as average drop off times to provide more accurate predictions and better customer outcomes. 

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