Digital customer data intake is the process of acquiring digital data from customers through digital channels such as websites, mobile apps, and social media. This data can be used to improve customer experience, personalize marketing messages, and understand customer behavior.
There are a few methods of digital customer data intake:
- Active data intake: Active data intake occurs when customers deliberately provide their data to a company through digital channels. This can happen when customers fill out a form on a website, make a purchase through a mobile app, or provide their location data to a social media app.
- Passive data intake: Passive data intake occurs when customers unconsciously provide their data to a company through digital channels. This can happen when customers browse a website, use a mobile app, or interact with a social media app.
- Public data intake: Public data intake occurs when companies collect digital data from sources that are publicly available, such as websites, social media, and news articles.
Digital data intake is an important part of many core business processes, especially in the insurance, financial services, and healthcare industries. For example:
- Insurance claim processes: Digital data intake is a critical part of the insurance claims process. In order to process a claim, an insurance company needs to gather information about the incident from the policyholder. This can be done through a variety of means, including paper forms, phone calls, and website portals.
- Policy sales: In order to sell an insurance policy, insurance companies need to collect information about potential customers. This can be done through paper forms, phone calls, and website portals.
- New account opening: When a customer opens a new account with a bank, the bank needs to collect information about the customer. This can be done through paper forms, phone calls, and website portals.
- Mortgage and loan underwriting: In order to underwrite a mortgage or loan, banks and other financial institutions need to collect information about the borrower. This can be done through paper forms, phone calls, and website portals.
- Patient records: Healthcare providers need to collect various types of information from patients in order to provide them with care. This includes medical history, current medications, and contact information. This data is typically collected through paper forms, but more and more healthcare providers are beginning to use electronic health records (EHRs).
The evolution of customer data intake methods
- Paper forms: Historically, customer data intake has been done primarily through paper forms. This is still the case in many industries, particularly in healthcare and finance.
- Phone calls: In some cases, customer data intake is done over the phone. This is often the case when sensitive information is being collected, such as credit card numbers or social security numbers. Also a common data collection method in insurance claims.
- PDF forms: PDF forms are a common way for companies to collect data from customers. PDF forms can be filled out electronically and then emailed or faxed to the company.
- Fillable PDF forms: Fillable PDF forms are similar to regular PDF forms, but they can be completed electronically and then saved. This is a convenient way for customers to fill out forms if they do not have access to a printer.
- Web-based application forms: Web-based application forms are digital versions of paper loan applications. They can be completed and submitted online, and the data is automatically populated into the company's internal systems. However, they are not as user-friendly as native digital application experiences.
- Text messages/chatbots: Customers can text or chat with a loan officer to provide data.
- Digital data intake journeys: Customers provide data through digital interactive UIs accessible on digital channels such as a website, mobile app, or customer portal. These digital experiences are often more user-friendly than web-based application forms as they are designed specifically for digital channels such as mobile devices and tablets.
- API integrations: APIs collect data from third-party systems such as databases and public records. Those do not require a customer-facing UI.
Reasons for the rise of digital data intake
With the advent of digital channels such as the internet and mobile apps, companies are increasingly using these channels to collect customer data.
There are a few reasons for this shift:
- Digital channels are more convenient for customers: Customers can provide their data to a company through digital channels at any time and from anywhere. This is convenient for customers who may not be able to visit a physical location or who may not have the time to fill out a paper form.
- Digital channels are more efficient for companies: Companies can collect customer data more quickly and efficiently through digital channels. This is especially important for companies that need to gather large amounts of data, such as insurance companies and banks.
- Digital channels allow for more accurate data: Customers can provide more accurate information through digital channels than they can through paper forms. This is due to the fact that digital channels allow for real-time data entry and validation.
- Digital channels provide a better customer experience: Customers generally prefer to interact with companies through digital channels rather than paper forms. This is because digital channels are more user-friendly and provide a more seamless customer experience.
- Digital data collection is a prerequisite for automation: In order to automate processes, such as underwriting or claims processing, companies need to be able to collect customer data electronically.
- Regulatory requirements: In some industries, such as healthcare and finance, regulatory requirements necessitate the use of digital channels for customer data collection.
What are the challenges of digital data intake?
Digital data intake comes with a few challenges:
- Security concerns: When collecting customer data digitally, companies must take steps to ensure that the data is secure. This includes encrypting data in transit and at rest, as well as implementing security controls such as two-factor authentication.
- Technical challenges: Digital data collection requires the use of technology, which can be complex and difficult to implement. This is especially true for companies that are not technologically sophisticated.
- Cost: Implementing a digital data collection system can be costly, especially if a company needs to build new data collection UIs from scratch.
- Training: Employees may need to be trained on how to use the new digital data collection system. This can be a challenge if the system is complex or if employees are not comfortable with technology.
- Change management: Digital data collection can require a change in company culture and processes. This can be difficult to manage and may require the help of change management experts.
Despite these challenges, digital data collection is becoming increasingly popular, as the benefits outweigh the challenges.