Just a few years ago, customer experience (CX) was quickly gaining momentum as a key differentiator for consumers, and we thought that customer expectations couldn’t get much higher.
That was, of course, until COVID-19 hit. The global pandemic brought with it even greater demands as customers worldwide turned to online channels, forcing businesses to put their foot on the accelerator with their adoption of new and innovative tech.
Since businesses all over the world have upped their game, a new competitive differentiator has risen to the top – digital customer experience, or DCX. These days, just launching a website is simply not enough to keep your customers coming back or stay ahead of the competition. In a world where a quick, multi-faceted digital experience is the norm, an excellent DCX is no longer a ‘nice to have’ – it’s a necessity.
Digital customer experience refers to how your customers perceive your digital presence – but we’re not just talking about how they feel about your website. DCX encompasses every interaction that takes place on your digital channels across the customer journey – and that includes everything from your social media, mobile app, your chat bots, and everything in between.
Every virtual interaction that a customer has with your brand is part of your DCX, and one which should impact your customers in a positive way, whether that’s filling out a contact form, checking out your Instagram feed, or reading about your services on your app.
We’ve talked a lot about customer experience (CX), and DCX is a topic which sits very prominently within the CX umbrella. CX encompasses the entire customer journey, including physical touchpoints and in-store experiences, whilst DCX zeros-in on the connections and experiences made in the digital space.
Here’s the important bit: your customers don’t view your online and offline touchpoints as separate journeys – every interaction is part of the same brand experience. The key to creating an exceptional and consistent journey is by making sure you have the right people, know-how and technology in place to ensure there’s a smooth transition between each touchpoint – whether virtual or not.
Experiences are more important than ever, and with 67% of consumers willing to pay more for a great experience, creating a seamless digital journey could be the key to not just attracting new customers, but making sure they stick around.
Research shows that companies who have successfully transformed digitally are well on their way to creating a highly engaged customer base that is four times more likely to refer a brand to friends, family and connections, and two times more likely to make a purchase with their preferred brand - even when a competitor has a better product or price.
Create an incredible digital experience, and you’ll build yourself a loyal customer base who are more likely to recommend you to others!
We’ll say it again - creating an amazing DCX means so much more than building a pretty website. To meet the needs and expectations of today’s demanding customers, your virtual interactions need to keep frustrations to a minimum, diminish any need for them to head to your competitors, and offer an experience or feeling that they won’t be able to find elsewhere.
Here’s what makes a brilliant DCX.
Now, more than ever, consumers demand an easy, fast and efficient user experience. In fact, a huge 89% of customers head to a competitor if they’re let down by an experience with a brand. Making your digital experience more functional means taking a long, hard look at its usability and accessibility to make it as user-friendly as possible. Making these improvements could involve anything from making the typography on your website, app or social media channels clearer, simplifying your customer newsletter, minimising pop-ups on your homepage or speeding up load times of your content-rich pages.
One of the most effective ways of creating an outstanding DCX is by connecting all of your individual customer touchpoints over a variety of channels, meaning your customers can pick up where they left off on one channel, and continue the same experience on another. This desire for a unified experience has become the norm, with 75% of consumers now expecting a consistent experience wherever they engage with a brand.
Put simply, the modern consumer wants to interact with a brand across multiple digital channels, constantly bouncing between their mobile, social channels and web before eventually making their purchase. To give them the service they want, a business has to extend far beyond a basic website and have the means to connect all of these touchpoints – no matter the time, place or device.
Your customers want to solve their own problems, so it’s no surprise that 90% of people now expect brands to offer self-service options. As consumers live their lives on the move, they’re becoming more and more used to doing everything on the go, from booking appointments to making payments and getting the answers they need at the touch of a button.
“Brands that offer customers a choice of self-service options, while also providing a seamless connected experience when moving between channels, rate the highest in terms of customer satisfaction.” – Global State of Multichannel Customer Service Report, Microsoft
91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands that recognise, remember and provide them with relevant offers and recommendations, and your digital customer experience gives you the ideal opportunity to do just this.
Thanks to the likes of Amazon, customers have grown to expect a highly personalised experience – gone are the days when sending targeted offers or using a customer’s first name in an email will cut it. Consumers now expect to see this tailored approach through every single interaction – whether that be browsing your products, reading a marketing email, making a payment, receiving their order or leaving a review.
Toyota’s dedicated COVID-19 page is a great example of how an omnichannel approach can create a seamless experience for their customers. Not only can browsers message or video chat a local dealer, buy or reserve a car online and arrange a video consultation from a virtual showroom, Toyota have also integrated their Feefo reviews, so that any feedback that mentions COVID is displayed. Better still, customers can simply click on the live chat icon at the bottom of the page to get any unanswered queries resolved from any device.
Keeping an experience personal is key to a great DCX, and it doesn’t get more bespoke than a virtual personal shopping experience with Mamas and Papas. Customers have the option to virtually connect with an in-store personal shopper from the comfort of their own home – all via a link that gets emailed on confirmation of a booking. The perfect combination of innovative technology and human interaction, this approach makes sure that Mamas and Papas are at the top of their customer service game – all backed up by glowing Feefo reviews.
The Perfume Shop’s custom integration of Feefo reviews gives shoppers an excellent digital experience. On clicking through to a product, customers are greeted by a selection of other tailored suggestions, as well as the option to scroll through a treasure trove of customer reviews. Better still, with the use of Smart Themes, shoppers can quickly and easily filter feedback by price, delivery or fragrance, for example, to find the reviews they’re looking for in one single click.
We’ve looked at what makes a great DCX, so how exactly do you go about getting started? Here are some things to consider when planning your digital customer experience strategy.
First, let’s talk about understanding your customers – after all, how are you expected to optimise a customer experience if you don’t fully understand how your customers use your business?
The process of customer journey mapping can help you tell the story of your customers’ experiences with your brand across every touchpoint, and in this case, we’re talking all things digital. All digital customer touchpoints are mapped out, for example, your social ads, your website, and every virtual interaction with a member of your team, and these are then broken down into persona. (A millennial may click through on an Instagram ad and make a purchase on their mobile, whilst a 55-year-old may find your brand through a Google search on a desktop computer, browse your reviews, and make a purchase a few days later, for instance).
Customer journey mapping can help improve just about every stage of the digital experience; it can give your designer a better understanding of your audience and where they come from, your copywriters can better tailor the messaging across the journey, your marketing team can better target their campaigns, and it certainly doesn’t stop there. Your customer journey map will ultimately put your users at the front and centre of your brand, ensuring that every single decision is made with them in mind.
The opportunity for brands to completely transform their DCX by acting on data and insights is huge. By collecting data with CSAT and CES, for example, you can begin to understand the human factors that drive certain behaviours. By understanding how your customers interact with your brand, you can then deliver a personalised and engaging journey which reflects what they want and need from your business.
Customer feedback, such as surveys, can give you the answers you need to find fixes for the weakest areas in your digital experience – whether that’s your high bounce rates or abandoned baskets. By simply asking the right questions at the right time, you can arm yourself with the knowledge you need to fix any reoccurring issues and streamline your processes.
As you may have guessed by this point, feedback is absolutely critical to improving your digital CX. Make sure that you’re giving your customers as many opportunities to leave feedback as possible – don’t leave it until the end of the journey. Think about every single touchpoint that your customer navigates before making their purchase – don’t leave these as missed opportunities to ask for that all important insight. Whilst reviews are an excellent way to collect feedback about an entire experience, tools such as surveys, Net Promoter Score, CSAT and CES are ideal for placing at critical touchpoints to discover exactly what your customers are feeling at that very moment – a feeling that will be long gone by the time they’ve made their purchase or booked your service.
As customer experience continues to evolve in the digital space and more businesses shift online, ensuring that you have a solid and thorough plan for your DCX which feeds through every step of your customer journey is vital. Fully understanding your customers, the journeys they’re taking, and what they want from your business sits at the heart of every great customer experience strategy. Here at Feefo, we have the tools you need to discover more about your customers, so you can start delivering an exceptional experience. To find out more about how we can help with your DCX strategy, get in touch with a member of our team today!
Net Promoter® and NPS® are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Satmetrix Systems, Inc., and Fred Reichheld.
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