With businesses in and out of lockdown and Canadians staying home to prevent the spread of COVID-19, digital commerce has become a lifeline. Even consumers who were previously reluctant to shop or bank online are now embracing remote technologies, and demanding that companies and service providers step up their digital game, a recent survey has found.
In a Leger poll conducted on behalf of TD, nearly two-thirds (63%) of respondents say they are shopping online more frequently than ever before, even though about the same number (66%) rarely made digital purchases pre-COVID and preferred in-person shopping. What’s more, 81% expect the businesses they support to adjust to meet their digital needs, and 84% won’t hesitate to take their dollars elsewhere if they have a poor digital experience with a company or service provider.
In short, the pandemic is forcing consumers to re-evaluate who they do business with based on the quality of an organization’s digital offerings. And, given that these new digital habits are likely here to stay—72% of Canadians polled say they expect to spend more time in the coming year engaging with companies remotely and ordering items online—businesses and service providers must invest in their digital platforms if they want to retain their customers.
What Canadian consumers want
Organizations that want an edge with consumers should pay attention to what Canadians value most when engaging with a company online. According to the TD survey, that means an easy-to-use website (cited by 73% of respondents), transaction confirmations (69%), and tracking/shipping status updates (65%).
More specifically, 87% say they want to receive an order confirmation via email or text message within the hour of purchase and shipping, and tracking information sent quickly thereafter; 81% want a thank-you email or text message with confirmation the product has been delivered/is ready for pickup; and 76% want to get a digital receipt via email or text message.
Other critical factors cited by at least half the respondents include fast shipping/delivery (64%), good/easy return policies (64%); a website with good searchability (58%); and easy access to customer support (52%).
As for what a company should avoid in a digital strategy: Telephone feedback surveys and electronic reminders to leave a review (on Google, Yelp, Facebook, etc.) were definite no-nos for 81% and 71% of respondents, respectively.
Digital offerings from TD
None of these survey findings are lost on TD, which has been a pioneer in the financial services sector in terms of implementing client-focused technologies.
“Our goal has always been to innovate in ways that empower our customers with highly personalized, digital experiences,” says Rizwan Khalfan, Chief Digital & Payments Officer, TD Bank Group. “In many ways, COVID-19 accelerated the digital journey we were already on. Our strong digital foundation made it possible for us to pivot quickly when our customers needed us most and we were able to triple our digital capacity for customer-facing capabilities.”
Indeed, more than half (57%) of TD customers now use the bank’s digital service offerings—an increase of 30% in Canada—to perform transactions such as bill payments, direct deposit, money transfers and mobile cheque deposit.
“We see significant growth across all our customer demographics, and an increase in digital engagement by our existing users. Seniors in particular are adopting at a very high rate,” says Khalfan.
TD has also launched a number of new digital services so clients can stay connected during the pandemic and continue to receive the critical financial expertise that they’ve come to rely on.
The TD Ready Advice Hub, for example, offers financial tools, appointments and education to help customers manage their changing financial needs; TD Global Transfer allows them to securely send money to more than 200 countries and territories directly from their TD account via EasyWeb or on mobile; and TD GoalAssist helps Canadians set financial goals and invest for the future while also saving on fees.
Putting customers first
In the post-pandemic, digitally-connected world, organizations will have to continue to develop their customer service offerings to meet Canadians wherever they want to do business—whether that be in person or online. Identifying what customers need and adapting to create products and tools that offer authentic and hyper-personalized, digital experiences will be critical when connecting with customers digitally.
“We always want to be there for our customers, regardless of how they want to bank, and digital is one of many areas where TD is delivering for its customers,” says Khalfan.
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