Digital Customer Experience – Focusing on the Basics

October 13, 2021

Want to take digital customer experience to the next level? Make sure you have first tackled the basics

In recent times, digital transformation has hugely accelerated the shift to online processes. Digital customer experience has become one of the priorities of many organizations today.  It is increasingly a real competitive advantage for businesses and an essential element of business success.

While building an advanced digital customer experience strategy is a priority for many companies, it is good to remember that there are no shortcuts – the basic aspects need to be taken care of first. While they might seem simple and easy, in practice, these are some of the areas where many companies still fail, and which are the barriers to achieving an advanced level of digital customer experience.

1. Customers Need to Be Put In the Center of the Company’s Strategy

Not only in the center of the marketing strategy, but in the center of the company’s business strategy.

Looking at the core values listed on companies’ websites, you can see that customer-centricity is among the majority of them. If you ask most company’s CEOs, they say they sincerely believe their company is customer-centric. However, talking about customer-centricity with all the right words and claiming to be customer-centric is not the same as truly being it. To build an effective digital customer experience strategy, the whole organization needs to understand that customer-centricity is more than just reacting to customer feedback and sending out a customer survey once a year.  

True customer-centricity is not just a statement written on the website. You need to be honest. You cannot build lasting success just on the face of customer-centricity. The impression may be nice, but customers can see through it quickly.   

Creating a next-level, superior digital customer experience requires resources and effort. It is often quite difficult to accomplish that if your company is not 100% behind this, i.e., providing resources and understanding the importance of the customer-oriented business.

2. Get to Know Your Customers

Success is often defined in terms of sales and financial goals. But how often is success defined in customer terms? How often do we measure business goals against customer satisfaction targets?  If you are looking for long-term success, you need to build on customer loyalty, not just short-term sales results.  To provide your customers with a top-notch digital customer experience, you need to consider what people value and need, and what your customers value, not just the people in your industry. To set the right targets for each touchpoint of the customer journey, you need to know your customers.

3. Digital Customer Experience Is Not Just About Online Shopping

The term “digital customer experience” refers to every digital interaction that a customer has with a company or brand. It includes everything from your website, chatbots, and mobile apps to social media pages and various other digital channels. In fact, e-commerce is just one part of the entire digital customer experience.

4. Digital Customer Experience Is Not a Marketing or Customer Service Responsibility

Most of all, digital customer experience is about technology and data. Creating an effective digital customer experience strategy and implementing it requires cross-organizational teams.  You need data scientists, CX experts, UX specialists, and the whole organization to understand and contribute to the importance of CX.

5. Customer Satisfaction Survey and Reacting to the Results Is Not Enough

These days, there is a lot of data available about the customer. And technology enables us to use AI and machine learning systems to monitor the customer’s journey and form a comprehensive picture of customers’ interactions with the company.

However, according to a survey by McKinsey, 93% of the companies involved say that they continue to use survey-based measurement systems as primary means to gauge and understand customer experience and behaviors and improve satisfaction.

While surveys are, of course, a good tool to get feedback and understand customers, they cannot be the only method. As McKinsey states:

“Why use a survey to ask customers about their experiences when data about customer interactions can be used to predict satisfaction? —- Those with an eye toward the future are boosting their data and analytics capabilities and harnessing predictive insights to connect more closely with their customers, anticipate behaviors, and identify CX issues and opportunities in real time. These companies can better understand their interactions with customers and even preempt problems in customer journeys.”

Small But Important Things to Check Before Aiming for the Next Level of Digital CX

As stated, many companies want to provide a superior digital customer experience. However, several basic things often get neglected, yet they are the base of the good digital customer experience and a prerequisite for getting to the next level. Amazingly, many companies still have work to do with the following: 

  • Making their company easy to reach – Preferably 24/7. Is it easy to contact your company? Is there an email address, chat service, phone number, or contact form available? Both in web and mobile?
  • Replying to people who contact them – According to Freshworks.com, first response time expectation for an email message is 1-4 hours. Maintaining a first response time of one hour would help you meet the expectations of 90% of your customers. The first response time on a chat tool needs to be under a minute. In fact, the customer expectation on this is a few seconds. The average first response time expectation ranges between 6 and 15 seconds. If you let people wait for too long, it probably causes even more frustration than the disappointment of not finding the chat service on your page at all.  Also, consider the quality of the service; making the chatbot work well needs time and concentration.
  • Making buying easy and simple – Use more than one channel or make asking for personalized quotations easy. Create self-service portals – whatever it is that makes buying convenient and easy. Invest time in thinking of more ways to provide customers with an easy and quick way to buy or ask for a demo or quote. 
  • Making giving feedback easy – This includes both positive and negative feedback. Answer all feedback, negative and positive alike. Provide quick answers, or at least let them know that you have received the feedback and will get back soon.   
  • Making interaction with their company seamless and pleasant – Make sure the customer doesn’t need to repeat what they have said every time they contact your company or change the contact channel. Provide seamless experiences.

Last but not least:

  • “Thank you, please, I’m sorry, have a nice day.” – “Manners make the man” is an old saying, and similarly, we could say, “Manners make the brand.”  Don’t forget that your customers are human beings, even though they are interacting digitally. Treat them nicely and politely, even the client who has a complaint, or the client who resigned from the service (remember, that it is an important touchpoint of the customer journey as well).  Good manners make your customers view your company in a much better light.

Conclusion

There is no shortcut to success. Delivering superior digital customer experience demands a strategic and genuinely customer-focused approach and the ability to tackle the basics before moving on to more complicated customer experience strategies. Furthermore, creating a great digital customer experience means making sure that your customer is treated as a valued human being throughout the journey with your company.

To quote Amelia Dunlop, principal at Deloitte Consulting LLP: “In this frenetic, impersonal digital age, we believe that people want to be treated like humans and less a part of a homogenous customer experience.”

Anne Riihimäki

An enthusiastic and highly experienced Senior Consultant at Henrico, a Nordic Digital Business Agency, Anne has over 20 years of experience across strategic and operational roles in Sales, Marketing and Business Development.

Holding a Master’s Degree in Economics, she has worked with strong, international brands in a variety of industries, including Accenture, Reader’s Digest, Telia Company and European Dynamics S.A. Anne has broad experience in digital business, SaaS,  ICT & telecoms and has a passion for inspiring and motivating businesses on how to leverage human approach in digital transformation. Anne firmly believes that human approach and customer orientation – though many times overlooked and misunderstood – are integral to achieving lasting commercial success in every business sector, especially in digital transformation processes.

How can we help? Please get in touch, we are excited to hear from you!

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