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  • Digital Evolution Forum

How Digital Shyness Impacts your business

Updated: Oct 20, 2021

Digital shyness... Sounds like the latest business buzzword someone just made up to get a bit of attention. But it's absolutely real and It could harm your business unless you take it seriously. The great news is that there are also huge potential opportunities if you overcome digital shyness. Opportunities that some companies have captured to the tune of billions.

So in this short guide, we are going to give you a clear picture of what ‘digital shyness’ really is, aspects you need to consider and what action you can take to embrace digital shyness.

We will also look at how you can take the next steps forward with your business's digital evolution knowing more about this topic.

If at any point in this overview of digital shyness you decide that you would like to understand how the Digital Evolution Forum can help with your specific business strategy, an experienced member of the team will be ready to give a tailored approach to your business.

Let's start with understanding what this term means by asking the question...

So what is digital shyness really?

Digital shyness can be explained in three ways: socially, commercially, and personally.

The social side of digital shyness refers to when people might feel apprehensive to put their details online for people to view, such as when Facebook or LinkedIn. This stems from people not wanting you to know their details, not feeling comfortable showing who they are, and generally not being interested in keeping up with friends through a screen.

Commercially, as Germany is currently facing which we touch on later, might be through businesses moving processes to digital transactions. Whether that's conducting new business calls and selling through video calls instead of going to the office to do a demo, interviewing a candidate from the other side of the world who they may never meet, or sending documents and messages via fax rather than digitally uploading pictures or scanning.

Personally, digital shyness impacts people's willingness to pay online or input personal, sensitive, or secure information. When the internet first came about people were apprehensive when it came to putting personal details such as a bank card or personal ID into web pages. They worried about the possible risk of fraud.

Strict security measures, especially for websites that require this information, have thankfully improved a lot in recent years making it much harder to defraud someone. However, there are still people who like to ring the hotel abroad and book over the phone or want to apply for a new bank account in-store rather than going through an online application process.

Being digitally shy might also mean that you're not the loudest person in the room or are worried about engaging with people on webcams. A person might be digitally shy yet are comfortable speaking at a conference to 5,000 people in the same room, and meeting new people across the country or the world.

And people who aren't digitally shy might be the exact opposite to the example above.

They might be quiet in person but are well acquainted with digital processes, how to communicate through different channels such as Slack or Microsoft Teams, and know-how to upload documents to the right file in the Cloud for easy access. However, they might refrain from putting their camera on in team meetings and don't like announcing updates to anyone outside of their close circle of family and friends.

What impact does digital shyness have on a person's career?

Let's look at it from this way, there's a digital skills gap as we found out in the guide 'Digital Training: Is It Really Worth It for Your Business?'.

There's going to be some form of impact, arguably more so for the younger generations than the older and more traditional generations. Because digitisation is becoming an increasing standard to companies, the skill set required, or the benchmark, is constantly being raised making what people have as standard now look like the most valuable person only 10 years ago.

This is why it makes the industries in which companies operate increasingly competitive. Because we have this technology available to us, we're expected to be using it.

Whether it's as advanced as using AI on data to having a process that means customers can buy without ever having to meet you as a seller. A key reason that training needs to be part of your business's agenda, as outlined in 'Five Key Steps to Digital Evolution Success That Leaders Should Take' is to overcome obstacles digital shyness can bring to the success of the business.

For example, if you can't complete a certain task or project for your client because you don't have the digital infrastructure to match their speed or systems, they run the risk of going to a competitor who's invested in digitally transforming those aspects to be able to meet their needs with greater ease.

Awaiting opportunity

It's not always a flaw for someone to be introverted. It can mean greater focus and fewer distractions which when coupled together can lead to phenomenal results that send efficiency through the roof.

And it's the same with digital shyness. As we discussed further up, being digitally shy doesn't mean you're not comfortable with people, it means you're not comfortable with switching to digital processes.

You might not be digitally shy in one area of your life and completely comfortable in another.

This can create a challenge, especially if your business or client is going through digital evolution.

But it can also be an opportunity you might want to seize.

Overcoming digital shyness may deliver a new business or revenue line, a more efficient way of working, accessing a global talent pool instead of people that are only within a 45-minute drive from the office, and so much more.

Look at the various companies that have thrived from overcoming digital shyness e.g., Best Buy, Home Depot, Hasbro, Nike.

Or look at companies such as DocuSign, which are currently valued at over $50 billion. People took the leap to stop physically signing documents and moved over to click-signing a document, opening a very efficient way of doing business digitally.

Whether it's the shift from having a CD and Walkman to having an iPod to now having Spotify being able to stream all the latest music within a second digital is taking over.

What can you do about digital shyness?

Help your team feel comfortable with digital no matter whether they are an introvert or extrovert.

We looked at in detail the importance of having a culture that makes your team feel safe and confident in the guide '3 steps to prepare your business for a successful digital evolution'.

The Guardian highlighted in May 2021 that in Germany, they have brought in a new law intending to reduce digital shyness. Because people in Germany are reluctant to move processes, the government promised that 575 services will be digitised under the new ID law.

Preparation is key

With a business, it might not be as drastic as the above example. But it always helps to be prepared.

It's likely as a business you've gone through some form of digital transformation without even knowing it. Whether it's moving documents to the Cloud because of remote working, implementing a chatbot to automate responses for lead generation or customer support, or moving to sign documents through DocuSign instead of printing the document, writing your name, scanning it back through the printer, and then sending it as an email attachment. The opportunities are endless.

We explored the idea of making sure that you have a roadmap for a successful digital evolution in the guide '5 steps to your business's successful digital evolution'. And thinking about people in your team, or perhaps your customers, who have traits of digital shyness should be considered in the strategy stage.

Thinking about how you can overcome it, why they might not want certain processes digitised, why they don't want to create an account, or why they can't accept electronically signed documents are examples you can ask.

Communicate changes

One of the aspects that make us human is rapport and conversation with other people and building relationships with people we know, like, and trust.

Your teammates and clients need to have this feeling with you. And the main way you'll achieve this is by consistent and clear communication.

We highlighted in multiple articles including 'Why Your Digital Evolution Strategy Needs A Human in the Loop' how important consistent communication is.

When digitising processes, no matter how simple or how complex, whether it's moving documents to the cloud or implementing RPA to automate your invoices, there always need to be clear communication on where the company is headed, why it's going that way, room for challenging the idea, and what the vision or reason is behind that decision.

As the pandemic has taught us, it's easy to get caught up in the digital and technology side and forget the human aspect. That's why if you do have members of the team experiencing digital shyness, it's important to keep them in the loop on all progress.

Is your business digitally confident?

Let's recap what we've looked at together in this article. What the term digital shyness means, the impact it can have on an individual's career and your team's functionality, and what steps you can take to overcome it.

How many ideas have you got in your head on what you can do to change the mindset of the company to embrace digital shyness?

Maybe you're thinking about what you can now do with someone you know who has digital shyness and how to make them feel increased confidence.

Although we've looked at a fair bit, we've not directly looked at your business. If you've read this and thought that it sounds great but aren't too sure where to start due to the specifics of your business, the Digital Evolution Forum is here to help you with this.

You can contact a member of the Digital Evolution Forum to see what tools and resources are available to you that can make your digital evolution a success and simplify the move to digital.

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