With an increasing number of customer journey tools available online, the difference between digital and physical customer experience (CX) looks more like one path than two. Digital channels are becoming increasingly important and taking on an even larger role in shaping the customer experience strategy for competitive marketers.
What is the Digital Customer Experience?
Digital customer experience - as opposed to the broad umbrella of customer experience - focuses specifically on the digital interactions between a customer and a company.
An effective digital experience strategy requires brands to think specifically about how digital interfaces fit into their customer engagement approach. A company’s digital customer experience can be assessed through six key areas:
- Reachability. The existence and reliability of a customer’s preferred channel (newsletter, social, etc.).
- Channel Flexibility. How seamless it is for customers to switch channels.
- Simplicity. Digital navigation and timeliness.
- Service Convenience. Ease of digital service.
- Purchase Convenience. Seamless digital transaction process.
- Personalization. Recognition of customers as individuals through segmentation.
If you’re just getting to understand digital CX, measure your strategy’s maturity using the above outline. The end goal should include optimizing digital interactions and increasing digital experience efficiency.
Trends in Digital CX
Some 81% of CX leaders say their companies will compete on customer experience alone in the near future.
Keep abreast of these top trends that differentiate good brands from great ones.
1. Unified and seamless omnichannel experiences
With constantly evolving consumer habits, it has become crucial for companies to support multiple channels of customer engagement.
NICE inContact’s research found that 72% of consumers expect to continue talking with the same representative when across digital channels. A solid digital experience strategy focuses on optimizing for engagement across web, voice, and non-traditional digital to satisfy changing customer needs.
The goal of this process is to deliver a unified and seamless experience across individual customer touch points.
When developing an omnichannel strategy, consider these channels:
- Mobile App
- Social Media
- Live Chat
Where to begin: How to manage user data
Gather channel-based user data by type and purpose of communication. Establish different customer needs by channel, and craft more relevant forms of messaging specific to those needs. In other words, personas are not just for purchasing behavior - they can be used to delineate communication preferences as well.
Walgreens, for example, creates an omnichannel pharmaceutical experience by using its mobile app as a primary communication tool for customers. With the app, customers can access Pharmacy Chat and have access to trusted experts day or night. This differentiates Walgreens from pharmacies that are stalled by phone wait times or store hours.
Where to begin: Implement a smooth cross-channel path
54% of marketers agree that the biggest inhibitor in establishing a seamless omnichannel customer experience is lack of customer journey clarity.
Many companies can support multichannel customer engagement, but it’s a bigger challenge to support multiple channels simultaneously within a single interaction. Without this integration, employees repeat themselves and communicate disjointed information.
Ensure that customers can toggle across your brand’s various channels smoothly by implementing cloud management tools like Genesys Cloud and Twilio. These platforms provide integrated dashboards with a consolidated view of customers and context across all channels. That way, you can provide an optimal customer experience.
2. Incorporate A.I. into the customer journey
Hubspot’s research reveals that 82% of consumers look for an immediate response from brands on marketing or sales questions. A whopping 90% of consumers rate an immediate response as important or very important when they have a customer service question. Rising to this challenge of speed are A.I.-powered chatbots. This advanced tool has made it possible for brands to be ever-present for their customers.
Facebook Messenger bots, for example, merge full chat functionality, 24/7 availability and mobile notifications all in one. Not only do chatbots respond instantly to customers, they also have the capacity to learn more about each customer through machine learning. This empowers brands to make personalized connections with each customer.
Where to begin: Introduce chatbots into your workflow (if you haven’t already)!
Good news: many chatbot builders equip you with the ability to personalize your own bot script with little or no technical expertise! Chatbot builders like Drift and Intercom have user-friendly interfaces and templates for channel integration, ranging from mobile apps to websites. Many chatbot builders are also powered by A.I. and natural language processing technologies. This enables them to understand user intent and emotion through sentiment analysis.
Translation? A happy customer.
…. And don’t forget to combine chatbots with social media, too!
How amazing is it that we can order a pizza from Domino’s on Facebook Messenger without even leaving the app? Social platforms are an obvious channel for customer contact, because customers usually belong to at least one platform.
In need of some inspiration? Check out the Sephora Bot, an appointment booking bot to help customers reserve makeovers at Sephora stores:
3) It’s a Mobile-First World
Global mobile and tablet usage has exceeded desktop use for the first time since 2016. That means a mobile-first mindset as part of your digital customer experience strategy is more important than ever.
8 out of 10 customers stop engaging with a site if the content doesn’t properly display on their device. Because a large majority of consumers engage with your site, your site should be optimized across all digital devices. Especially mobile.
Where to begin: Create mobile-first digital assets
How does your brand’s website compare to your favorite sites? As it is, regular website optimization pays off well. On average, it creates a 113% jump in visits and 11% increase in clicks on that site.
Here’s a few tips on how you can optimize your digital assets on mobile:
- Use AMP pages (accelerated mobile pages). These pages are used ro build light-weight web pages that load optimally. A simple way to do this is using the AMP template tool, like the one Unboucne built.
- Consider text size, tap target and padding. Make your website “finger-friendly” by sizing tap targets appropriately and leaving enough padding between clickable elements.
- Include drop-down menus. These ensure readability and easier navigation to categories.
Feedback, feedback, feedback!
Actively seek to understand whether your customers are enjoying experiences at certain touchpoints, or getting stuck at them.
For a more in-depth understanding, look into high-level metrics such as return visitors and bounce rates. These indicators provide an overview into what resonates with your audience and what doesn’t gel. It also helps assess trends over time.
Creating the ideal mobile-first experience for your user is an iterative process. Be sure to:
- Encourage feedback from users
- Give users a place to easily provide feedback on usability
These small initiatives can be as easy as a pop-up feedback button on the side of the screen (we especially like Mopinion’s version of this!)
Engaging with customers to deliver a better experience shows them that you care. Acting on that feedback demonstrates your commitment to giving them the best experience possible.
Summing Up the Digital Customer Experience (CX)
The best customer experiences don’t just happen by accident - brands with a successful CX strategy make a conscious effort to align business objectives with customer experience. Experience has now become a key differentiator for brands. Companies that assess the maturity of their organization’s digital CX and plan long-term are equipped with a distinct competitive advantage. Let “digital” be top of mind for you today -- to create engaged, loyal customers for life.