A great digital customer experience should ensure that customers feel valued and understood, no matter where their brand engagement happens online. Their interaction with your brand has to be smooth, convenient, and hassle-free. This rings true for both physical and digital customer experiences. But since 96% of Americans shop online1, the digital customer experience is more important than ever now.
What is Digital Customer Experience?
Digital customer experience is the online experience and journey your customers go through while interacting with your brand. This includes actions such as researching your product on the web, searching for customer support help, or using your mobile app. Many companies still have a hard time defining what a good customer experience should look like. That doesn’t have to be the case for you and your business, especially if you want to shift your focus to digital customer experience which involves customers engaging with your brand through their computer, smartphone, or tablet.
Some things that you can do on your end to make the digital customer experience great are SEO, content marketing, or email and social media marketing.
Your approach to digital customer experience should be different from your approach to traditional customer experience. This is because online and offline customers want very different things.
In offline retail, a customer’s experience can be affected by a number of things, like atmosphere, lighting, or how other customers in the store are behaving. In this setting, customers understand that a business isn’t directly responsible for every single factor that might affect their shopping experience.
But in an online setting, customers aren’t as forgiving or patient. They expect to click a mouse or tap a screen and get what they need in seconds.
Why is Digital Customer Experience Important?
In 2018, 50% of customers said that their experience was influential in their decision to purchase (or not purchase) a product or service. In fact, companies that value customer service see additional revenue growth of 4% to 8%. This is why you need a great digital customer experience strategy to foster a satisfied customer base.
If customers can’t find what they need with a few clicks or taps, they’ll give up and leave your page. The probability of a bounce increases by 32% if a customer has to wait just one to three seconds for your page to load. Other data suggests that 50% of people will abandon your website if it doesn’t load in less than three seconds. The slower your load time, the lower your conversion rates will be.
Researchers at Microsoft even found that a website starts losing traffic to competition when it takes just 250 milliseconds longer to load2.
The moral of the story? When online shoppers encounter even the slightest inconvenience, they blame the company almost instantaneously. That’s why you need to diligently monitor and optimize your company’s digital customer experience.
How can Digital Customer Experience be improved?
One of the first things you should address when improving your digital customer experience is reducing those dreaded slow load times that we just discussed.
A recent study showed that AutoAnything cut their load time in half and saw a 13% increase in sales and a 9% increase in conversion rate. The same study also found that Edmunds.com reduced their load time by seven seconds and saw a 17% increase in page views and a 3% increase in ad revenue.
To get started on speeding up your website to take your digital customer experience to the next level, you can:
- Reduce redirects
- Reduce image sizes
- Minify and combine files
- Cut back on the number of plugins you have installed on your website
- Choose a more powerful web host
These are just a few quick and easy examples to get you started, but keep in mind that there are lots of changes you can make to your site to reduce load time.
#2 Tools and Technology
Making inroads in digital customer experience is not possible without a motivated and highly equipped customer-facing workforce. For an agile and well-connected work environment, adopting the right tools and technologies is absolutely necessary. Cloud technology and SaaS tools are now an integral part of digital customer experience and support processes.
Customer touch-point tools and technologies are a great value-add to digital customer experience and customer service practitioners. These tools enable increased productivity, simplified processes, and seamless cross-team collaboration. Agents will now have the power to delight customers swiftly and with an informed approach.
A few tools that ramp up your Digital Customer Experience strategy:
- Live chat and Chatbots: Live chat is a feature that can be added to the brand’s website, through Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, or any messaging platform. Since the conversations are asynchronous, people find chat to be a no-frills medium to reach out for support. Chatbot is a live chat plug-in that can automate answers to basic queries and facilitate agent hand-off when the situation demands.
- Self service: Self service in customer support refers to the repository of knowledge base, FAQs, solution articles, and help communities you can build to empower customers to find answers by themselves. Self service portal is an extended helpdesk feature that enhances digital customer experience.
- Helpdesk: Helpdesk is essentially a customer service software that enables businesses to organize and manage their interactions with customers. The interactions are aimed at building trust by providing personalized support, resolving issues quickly, and always being empathetic and proactive to their needs.
#3 Omnichannel Support
Another way to create a great digital customer experience is to offer omnichannel support. Recent research by NICE inContact shows that 72% of consumers3 expect companies to know their purchase history regardless of the customer service channel or type of issuehey use. The same study also found that customers expect to continue talking to the same support agent even after switching channels.
Regardless of the support channel that a customer uses to initially reach out to you, they want their experience to be seamless.
For this reason, businesses should consider turning their digital customer support experiences into omnichannel ones. That way, if a customer begins a conversation with your brand by asking a chatbot some questions on your site, they can easily be handed over to a live agent if it doesn’t resolve their issue. In an omnichannel setting, that agent should be able to view the interaction that the customer had with the chatbot and continue the conversation without asking for a repeat of the information.
For instance here’s a screenshot of an omnichannel dashboard, where you can find all customer queries and interactions in one central location–so your agents can serve customers with clarity.
With an omnichannel helpdesk, agents can also refer to past queries across all channels at once, like phone, chat, email, social, website portals, and e-commerce support.
3 Digital Customer Experience trends set to take over the future
#1 Companies will ride the hyper-personalization train with chatbots
Since chat is fast-becoming a high-touch channel for quick communication, it is the best place to delight customers with hyper-personalization. User behavior can be leveraged to trigger chatbot conversations that are tailored to suit customers’ needs and enhance their digital customer experience.
#2 Video customer service will become mainstream
Self-service was originally touted to be a ticket deflection centre to improve agent productivity. But it ended up being lapped up by customers, who preferred to solve issues on their own without depending on human intervention.
For the same reason, video customer service will join the bandwagon of digital customer experience trends to look forward to. It involves brands making support videos that work as how-to manuals, product overview, and feature explanations, to name a few. Since customers get a first-hand perspective of various issues and product fixes, video customer service is easy to consume and understand workarounds.
#3 Employee experience will be prioritized
According to Gallup, companies with engaged workforces outperform their peers by 147% in earnings per share. It points to how a highly engaged workforce can translate to great digital customer experience. Employee experience slowly warming up to get its due emphasis as it’s a cornerstone to creative collaboration, a culture of speaking out, and meaningful discussions.
Workplace by Facebook is a classic example of apps that improve employee experience, as it encourages product-based and use case-specific conversations–with the potential to churn out great business ideas right from frontline support to C-level executives. Collaboration between employees within the customer service tools and technologies can also improve the digital customer experience at scale.
Digital Customer Experience is a business differential
Customers have to feel good about their interactions with businesses, or they won’t stick around to make a purchase. This is especially true for digital-driven businesses, where customers judge your brand on yardsticks such as ease-of-access, website experience, consistent messaging and support across channels. Here’s where a digital customer experience strategy can showcase your unique value to potential customers, earn their trust, boost conversions, and nurture long-lasting relationships with customers.
(This blog was originally published here)