Why a Digital Customer Experience is Critical for Business
By the start of the 20th Century, corporations have become prolific in producing items quickly and efficiently—a key differentiator that led to affordable products for the masses.
Processes became cost-effective, as firms began streamlining distribution and opening new markets to gain an advantage. At one point, they reached a plateau. By the end of the 20th Century, the Internet shifted the focus of distribution. Whereas, companies still need to build innovative products and get them to market, the differences in many of those products became more subtle, and businesses needed a new way to differentiate. In this new era, companies expect the experience to be that new differentiator.
The proliferation of connected devices has brought about this shift. These gadgets put a necessary computing power in the hands of consumers and enable them to have deeper, more enriching relationships with companies.
However, this suite of empowering devices has driven customer expectations to new heights and has increased the frequency of interactions between customers and businesses. It also opened a world of opportunity for companies to enrich their relationships with their clients.
Companies have typically been organized by channel, tending to develop soloed strategies for each new touchpoint available to them. This approach confuses customers who undergo disjointed experiences.
Instead of focusing on channel-specific experiences, companies need to pay attention to the multi-channel trend of customers who use multiple touchpoints. Apart from using multiple touchpoints, they expect touchpoints to be in sync in visual design, behavior, and content. Companies, hence, need an overarching digital customer strategy.
According to recent research, in 2016, over 50% of customer service interactions will be digital in nature.
Creating a digital customer experience strategy is the fundamental building block that companies must employ. 73% of companies with positive customer experience impact value the link between customer experience and business results.
In a poll of enterprise contact centers, 82% believe that the customer experience is a competitive differentiator, and ease of interaction (73%) as one of the most important attributes of a quality customer experience.
Smart consumers demand exceptional customer experiences, and the digital touchpoints are crucial in delivering it to them. It is undeniable that the increasing importance of digital touchpoints— as well as the growing strategic role these touchpoints play—demand that digital customer experience strategy becomes a top priority.
Get focused and plan your digital marketing strategy and business plan to deliver exceptional and personalized customer experiences.
Tools for an Effective Digital Consumer Experience
A good digital customer experience strategy should get you closer to the target audience. You have to be able to connect with them right through the initial touch points, and stay with them at every phase of the process.
1. Clearly Stated Analytics and Goals
Digital makes us competitive to make use of data available to us and track and quantify the results of the actions taken, meaning you need to ideate on approaches that are more engaging for your customers.
Also, Big Data and analytics have opened doors to easy collection of information, which goes to show analyzing them is a challenge that most digital embracing companies need to work on.
2. Perfect Understanding of Buying Personas
For a customer-oriented approach, it is significant that a company study closely and know what it is like to be in the shoes of its customers.
An intensive and meticulous research on buyer personas is an integral part of the customer experience strategy since you need to have knowledge of their socio-digital influences.
Mapping the customer journey is a good approach but you also need to gauge the interactivity level of your buyers with the digital world. This will help you understand the channel they are more open to, helping you direct your marketing strategy towards the right path.
3. Application of Iterative Measures
In creating a better customer experience, CMOs and CIOs have put their heads together to disrupt and come out with approaches that are out of the box. The box is already cramped, so to speak.
People need to sit as a team and come up with more innovative, suitable solutions.
4. Working with a Cross-functional Team
In the digital era, there are no roles limited to the specifics of your profession. Once on the road to create a great customer experience product, you must play the part of marketer, technical architect, and an analyst.
For an excellent customer experience, you need to build a cross-functional team that connects not only from within for better management, but also creates a relationship with the user-groups to collect reviews, as well as ideas for refurbishing and new product launches.
How to Get it Right
Customers have become critical of digital interactions. A recent study states that 90% of customers have had one or more than deal-breaker digital experiences when using a mobile device to search for customer service information.
To avoid disappointing customers and leading them to switch to competitors due to poor digital experience, a company must focus on the following goals for an effective digital consumer strategy.
Here are some tips on improving your customer service digitally:
1. A consistent digital experience builds loyalty and trust
When companies provide inconsistent digital experience, the consumer ends up with a disjointed and confusing impression of the brand.
Immediate frustration aside, these inconsistencies erode loyalty, over time. A consistent internal IT process is, thus, necessary.
Companies shouldn’t delay investing in dedicated software systems that can streamline and automate customer-facing processes, and reduce errors and inconsistencies.
2. Invest in opinion-gathering tools to improve the digital customer experience.
Companies should be able to measure how customers feel about a product or service so they can improve as feedback is crucial.
A common mistake happens when businesses assume that customers bring inconsistencies to their attention. While this does happen in brick-and-mortar settings, consumers online rarely have time for it. Instead, companies need to measure actively how well they meet online expectations by asking online customers directly.
3. Digital initiatives must complement existing customer journeys.
Avoid adding digital components that don’t directly benefit the customer or are not in sync with the company’s value proposition. This does not gain traction and only makes the experience complicated and confusing.
A better approach is to design an app that simplifies some aspect of the journey on which customers are already engaging. Save them time and effort; don’t ask for more of either.
Digital remains only one part of the customer experience. But, more and more companies and their consumers assert that is it deserves the most of immediate attention and investment today.