Digital technologies have revolutionized the ways in which customers shop for, and purchase, products and services. Just a few years ago providing customers with a decent customer experience was enough to remain competitive. Those days are gone. Today, the ability to achieve, and maintain, a competitive advantage can be dependent upon your ability to provide your customers with a digital customer experience that keeps them coming back. The provision of a digitally-empowered customer experience that is dynamic, efficient, intuitive, and engaging can lead to higher levels of customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.
Digital Customer Experience – What is it, Really?
Regardless of what you read or hear, defining Digital Customer Experience does not have to be overly complicated. It is actually fairly straightforward. Simply put, it is taking the time to fully understand how people currently interact with your online presence and then implementing tools, processes, and technology to enrich the customer experience across your entire customer engagement ecosystem.
Defining it is simple. Implementing it, however, requires an understanding of the essentials and how to get there. You also need to understand how an outdated customer experience can cripple your business.
Digital Customer Experience – Why it’s Important
It’s fairly simple. If you fail to provide your customers with a digital experience that is both engaging and memorable someone else will. Using outdated modes of customer communication and interaction can result in loss of new business opportunities, degraded customer loyalty, and a diminishment of your brand. Specific problems can include:
- Static web portals that fail to deliver content and brand messaging that customers can actively engage with. Portals that do not provide user-centric experiences.
- Lack of dynamic content management that fails to deliver the right messaging, at the right time, to the right audience.
- Failure to collect and synthesize customer data across all input channels (social media, email, call centers, surveys, etc). Results in sluggish response to issues and opportunities.
- Failure to make lasting connections to customers via mobile devices and applications.
- Inability to utilize analytics to draw predictive conclusions regarding future customer trends and behaviors.
- Outdated tools, processes, strategies, and tactics that focus on meeting internal demands rather that delivering the levels of service and convenience demanded by today’s customers.
Delivering a Customer Experience that Wins – The Essentials
A commitment to a few core essentials can completely transform the experiences you are providing to your customers. Depending on specific business circumstances, each of these elements will require different levels of focus, effort, and investment but they are all critical aspects of providing a great digital customer experience.
Optimize Your Mobile Strategy
Use mobile technology to create additional value for your customers. Integrate mobile technology across your entire sales and marketing ecosystem to provide real time access to—and connections with—your customers. Incorporate mobile applications that provide your customers with value that can be accessed from anywhere, at any time. Collect valuable information from your customers in ways that cause them the least amount of effort or inconvenience.
A Web Portal that Provides Engagement and Value
Few things contribute less to customer experience than a dull, static, template-based website. Your website should be an Enterprise Web Portal; a two-way conduit between you and your customers. Key features of the most effective enterprise web portals would include:
- Dynamic ecommerce integration that supports all shopping and purchase transactions
- UI and UX designs that provide visitors with an environment that is attractive and user-friendly
- Fully responsive design (for mobile devices)
- Integrated with other internal business workflows to provide a seamless customer experience
Learn from Your Customers
Listening to your customers is crucial. Equally important is the ability to learn from what you hear. You likely already gather a large volume of customer information. The intrinsic value of that information lies in your ability to quickly synthesize that data in ways that create actionable insights; insights that will contribute to your delivery of a winning customer experience.
The use of analytics should be a key component of any digital customer experience program. A data analytics solution will provide the means for collecting, analyzing, and visualizing your customer data, thereby fully optimizing the value of that data. This will enable your enterprise to not only learn from current customer behavior but to also predict future behaviors.
Consistency in Messaging and Branding
Inconsistent messaging and branding creates confusion for the customer and can lead to loss of confidence in your brand. An effective customer experience will include the development of brand messaging, content, and imagery that is consistently reinforced throughout every interaction between you and your customers. This will include an ability to consistently develop, deliver, and manage digital content across all of your sales, marketing, and customer services channels. Brand messaging that is consistent, and consistently reinforced, is brand messaging that sticks.
Convenience, Convenience, Convenience!
Customer’s attention spans are shrinking. Their tolerance for inconvenience is at an all-time low. A customer experience that is clunky, inefficient, and unrewarding will not build the level of brand loyalty that is necessary for a business to thrive in today’s hyper-competitive environment. A digital customer experience should, above all, provide your customers with value that is seamless, uninterrupted, and convenient.
The End Game
Focusing on the above essentials will allow you to provide a digital customer experience that will….
- Improve customer satisfaction and stickiness
- Increase your brand awareness
- Build your reputation as a provider of a great digital experience
- Improve your market share and drive revenue growth