The digitalisation of the customer journey

Read Time: 3 Min

You’ve probably never heard of Walter Mischel, but you may have heard about his world-famous ‘marshmallow test’. Mischel was a celebrated psychologist known for his work on delayed gratification. In a series of studies in the 1960s and 1970s he told children that if they could hold back from eating a candy treat placed in front of them for ten minutes, they would be rewarded with two treats.

It’s not difficult to imagine that if we repeated the marshmallow test today, it would be adults and not just children who would fail the test in droves.


The internet has facilitated, even turbo-charged, the growth of e-commerce. You might argue that in doing so it has also boosted our demand for instant gratification. We need and expect speedy answers to our questions, and we demand quick delivery of goods and services.

The depth and breadth of Amazon’s service offering, for instance, bears this out. The introduction of the company’s same-day delivery service highlights the desire of the impatient consumer to have their online clothes or household purchases delivered straight to their door- and fast. Amazon Go’s concept store may be a return to the traditional bricks & mortar concept the company originally eschewed, but with a modern twist: shoppers walk in, pick up what they want, and walk out again: Amazon technology tracks what you pick up and charges you automatically- meaning no more lines or checkout!

Key to this is the effective digitalisation of the customer journey- making it as smooth and easy for customers to purchase goods and services offline and online, and across multiple devices. Companies that get this journey right will flourish- and ECI has a strong track record in helping companies across all sectors to get this right.

Online home insurance quotes for everyone

Financial services for consumers have been transformed by the internet. Price comparison websites have made it quicker, easier and cheaper for us to cut our household expenditure, be it mortgage, telephone and broadband, or utility bills. Consumers don’t even have to talk to a human being, most of the time. ECI invested in Avantia back in 2014. The company provides home insurance for customers when other providers might find it too difficult to do so, due to extensive renovation for example, or because of property ‘quirks’ such as listed buildings or flat roofs.

Today Avantia, maintains the most effective online quote ability of any household insurer in the UK- offering quotes for 98% of the 12 million requests it receives each year. This sounds simple but in truth it is no easy task to offer a process that is exclusively online (and which avoids the need for a customer to pick up the phone and discuss their particular property with an insurance broker). By investing heavily in R&D, and by developing its own unique algorithms, Avantia can execute complex risk pricing and produce an online quote within four seconds. How’s that for instant gratification?

AI-powered instant answers to all your questions

Fans of James Bond will know of course that Moneypenny played the warm and funny, but ruthlessly efficient secretary to the secret agent’s boss and head of MI6. Moneypenny is also an ECI portfolio company offering outsourced communication services, handling 15 million calls a year for 13,000 clients across the UK and US. Moneypenny offers a range of services to businesses of all shapes and sizes, from sole traders right up to multinational corporations.

What links all these businesses together is the desire to provide excellent customer service to their clients and the appreciation of how valuable an inbound call is. In an era of instant gratification, clients want immediate engagement, or they may go elsewhere for help and advice. Moneypenny’s telephone answering, AI-powered digital switchboard and Live Chat offerings mean that customers can access the information they need in a timely manner, no matter what time of day or night.


The ubiquity of desktop computers and mobile devices have empowered and revolutionized e-commerce. This fast-growing trend offers companies a way to win new business and strengthen customer loyalties. Companies that invest to transform their customers’ digital journeys will succeed in attracting and retaining clients. Those that don’t may soon find their competitors stealing a march on them.

About the author

Paul McCreadie

"I have been a member of ECI’s Investment Team since 2008, working with management teams from our initial investment all the way through to when we sell our stake. That means I get to meet great founders and management teams and support them to successfully deliver their vision."

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