Why Great Customer Service Needs Both Paper and Digital

Author: Tim Brosnihan, Marketing Manager for Document Scanning Solutions at Canon Europe

Today’s SMBs are nimble and disruptive within their industries because they take advantage of every resource possible – they use smartphones, tablets and cloud applications to work flexibly, remotely and most importantly, instantly. With 64% of SMBs in Europe[1] already using cloud-based software, at three applications on average, tech-savvy business leaders are reaping the benefits of a variety of technologies.

This resourceful approach to working is especially important for responding to the demands of the modern customer. It’s no longer enough to give customers great service and competitive prices – they want it quickly, efficiently and with high levels of product knowledge. If a business indicates that it is slow at responding, or has lengthy processes for simple tasks, customers are put off and are driven to competitors. 

Nonetheless, physical documents are still very much present and so online and physical versions must be managed in a symbiotic system for SMBs to provide their clientele with the best possible customer experience.

For SMBs to fully harmonise their paper and digital documents, they must employ an ‘instant’ mind-set within their working culture and use the right technologies to carry out the process, not just smartphones.


A customer-facing business such as a financial services firm can enhance customer confidence and satisfaction by ensuring they have the right system set up on their front desks for quick processing of physical documents, and swift administrative processes. When a customer sees an employee handle their personal documents in a visible and prompt manner, trust and confidence is naturally boosted.  

Customers want to provide and receive information in any way they prefer, and want service to still be fast.  Providing both paper and digital as possible touch points, and then digitising everything as smoothly as possible, is key. In a variety of hospitality environments, this style of working can be invaluable. From speeding up the on-boarding processes for booking forms, registration forms, ID confirmation, contracts and more, to quick document retrieval too – if a customer calls up and wants to check a detail, the business can pull up the record digitally with a quick search, even if the form was submitted in paper form.

This fast-paced, digital exchange culture naturally means customers have placed increased value and importance on trust and security. By making sure the right document processes are in place, the risks of any security mistakes or breaches are significantly reduced. Habitually making a digital copy of a sensitive paper document and saving it in a secure location in the cloud means there is a full digital archive ready to be accessed as needed – whether it’s for small enquiries or more serious audits.

For instance, a legal firm in the early stages of business has a reputation to build. By using the right hardware and solutions a process can be created where all confidential documents are captured and stored appropriately. The risk of losing client details, documents going to the wrong place or falling into the wrong hands is common today, but with such a routine, can actually be minimal. By securing those document processes, the customer relationship is secured too.

Above all, a budding SMB relies on developing strong customer relationships, so any and all customer contact methods need to be seamless and efficient. By using the best workflows and technologies, business leaders can make sure that any customer data captured is accessible across the business network by authorised employees. This way, if a customer has been sent the incorrect item or wants to track their enquiry, all efforts can be made to resolve the issue or query straightaway –speed is everything for modern customers.

By streamlining the relationship between physical and online documents, back office and front of house will always be on the same page and the customer will always come first – which will only result in satisfaction and ongoing loyalty.

[1] http://www.bcsg.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/The-small-business-revolution-trends-in-SMB-cloud-adoption.pdf