Covid-19 has accelerated the global move towards digitalization. Now, the companies are focusing on optimizing their digital interactions to solidify their customer base.
As per the prediction by Forrester, 25% of brands will have significant advances in the quality of their customer experience in the year 2021.
In this article, you will understand the concept of digital customer experience, discuss the important digital CX trends in 2021, focus on its advantages, and learn how to prepare a digital CX strategy.
Let’s get started!
What does Digital Customer Experience Mean?
Customer experience (CX) covers anything from traditional customer service channels to new digital interfaces that customers use to interact with brands. Digital experience focuses on the latter.
Digital customer experience (DCX) is the aggregate of all the online interactions between a customer and a brand.
Researching a product on your laptop, phone, or tablet, using an app to find the nearest point of sale, and searching for customer support are all digital customer experiences.
Why is Digital Customer Experience Important?
Here is the list of reasons and stats that show the significance of the digital customer experience:
1- To Meet The Expectations of Customers
Expectations of customers have radically evolved. A report by Salesforce says that around 67% of customers are willing to pay more for a great experience.
Another study by American Express suggests, more than 33% of customers consider switching companies after just one poor customer experience.
As companies leverage breakthroughs in AI, mobile, social, and cloud to deliver valuable, personalized, and immediate experiences, customers have more choices than ever.
They access services and purchase products from anywhere at any time. Thus, this convenience has further extended customer expectations.
2- To Boost Revenue
A report by Adobe says that experience-driven businesses see almost 2x higher YoY growth in customer retention and repeat purchase rates.
Hence, brands that offer great digital customer experience see their revenue grow faster than those that do not give priority to CX.
3- To Improve Customer Retention and Loyalty
A winning DCX management not only helps your brand gain new customers but also results in higher customer retention and loyalty.
A report by Motista suggests that emotionally connected customers have a 306% higher lifetime value. On average, they stay with a brand for 5.1 years.
These stats give a clear indication of how important digital customer experience is for your brand to become a leader in the market.
How to Improve Digital Customer Experience?
With the evolution of the digital era, artificial intelligence, machine learning, IoT, and analytics, are becoming great elements to run a more successful business.
Here are four steps that can help you improve your digital customer experience in 2021:
1- Understand Customer Behavior
Study how consumers think and feel about different brands, products, and services. Understand their behavior while researching and shopping.
Examine how consumer behavior is influenced by their peers, media, and culture.
Leverage the power of review insights platforms like Revuze to understand the reasons why the customers make decisions. It will help you to know their expectations for an optimized digital experience.
2- Improve Page Load Speed
A study by Google found that 40% of customers leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load.
Here are the best ways to speed up your website to take your digital customer experience to the next level.
- Reduce image sizes.
- Reduce redirects.
- Decrease the number of plugins installed on your website.
- Select a powerful web host.
- Use content delivery networks
Use GZIP compression
Minimize Your HTTP Requests
3- Adopt The Right Tools and Technologies
Using customer touch-point tools and technologies is a great value-add to the digital customer experience.
These tools increase productivity, simplify processes, and ensure seamless cross-team collaboration.
Here is a list of three must-have tools.
- Help desk: It is a customer service software enabling brands to manage their interactions with customers. These interactions aim at building trust by providing personalized support, resolving issues quickly, and always being empathetic to their needs. One of the popular software help desk software is Zendesk.
- Chatbots: Around 84% of participants in a survey by Accenture said they preferred interacting with computer-based applications. AI-driven chatbots support automated live chat, answering basic queries. It facilitates agent hand-off when the situation demands.
- Self Service: Nearly 70% of customers expect a company’s website to include self-service options. Include a repository of FAQs, knowledge base, solution articles, and online discussion forums to empower customers to find answers by themselves.Teamsupport and Hubspot Service Hub are best examples of Self Service softwares.
4- Offer Omnichannel Support
Omnichannel support provides your customers with a unified, integrated buying and support experience with your brand across various channels and devices.
As per Freshdesk, nearly 47% of consumers admit to using three to five different communication channels to get in touch with a specific brand.
Therefore, brands should consider turning their digital customer support experiences into omnichannel support.
An omnichannel help desk allows you to refer to past queries across all channels at once, such as phone, chat, email, social, website portals, and e-commerce support.
Digital Customer Experience Trends 2021
If you are looking to stay up to date on the latest trends occurring in the digital customer experience, then here is a list of trends that your company should pay attention to in 2021.
1- Hyper-Personalization Will Play A Key Role
As per McKinsey, personalization will play a key factor in market success in the coming years.
80% of customers are likely to make a purchase when their experience is personalized.
2- Data Security and Privacy Regulations Will Intensify
By 2023, the personal data of 65% of the world’s population will be covered under some kind of modern privacy regulations, says the Gartner report.
3- Video Customer Service Will Increase
Video customer service will join the digital customer experience trends.
Brands will focus on making support videos, such as how-to manuals, product overviews, and feature explanations.
Video customer service will provide a first-hand perspective of various problems and solutions to the customers. It will include virtual and augmented reality elements to create even more immersive experiences.
4- Conversations With Chatbots Will Rise
From startups to large scale organizations, chatbots help automate and streamline activities, ultimately improving employee productivity and increasing digital customer experience.
A report by Gartner shows that more than 50% of businesses are likely to spend more per annum on bots and chatbots creation in 2021.
5- Predictive Analytics And AI Will Shape Sales Trends
Predictive analytics uses AI and machine learning to predict future sales trends and patterns in consumer engagement.
The Big data space is likely to reach over USD 274bn by 2022.
A study by Salesforce suggests that predictive recommendations influence 26.34% of all orders placed.
Predictive analytics identifies the risk and opportunities for the future. Thus, it helps businesses to effectively interpret big data for their benefit.
How to Prepare Digital Customer Experience Strategy
As per Gartner, 81 percent of marketers are likely to compete almost solely based on customer experience.
A digital customer experience strategy is required to ensure that companies build the right experiences as per their customers’ needs and expectations.
Below are the steps that companies need to take to develop a digital customer experience strategy.
1- Define Business Objectives
An organizations’ objectives should guide all activities and investments.
The first step is defining the role of digital interaction points. Define the role on the basis of the brands’ overall objectives and attributes.
2- Develop a Deep Understanding of Target Users
Develop a deep qualitative understanding of the customers’ key goals, how they accomplish those goals, and their expectations of the brand.
Create buyer personas to personalize customer experience on a large scale by humanizing core target groups of your customer base.
Around 71% of companies that exceed their revenue and lead goals use buyer personas. You can use tools to create buyer personas.
It helps you plan how your brand will deliver experiences to its target customers through digital touchpoints.
3- Plot Key Customer Journeys
Map the most important customer journeys through research and determine the digital touchpoints that best enable those journeys.
Set-up Google Analytics for your website. It has two reports that are behavior flow report and goal flow report.
4- Prioritize Critical Touchpoints
Prioritize the most critical and important channels for delivering on customer goals and expectations.
Focus on the activities that provide the highest value to the most valuable customers and the brand.
5- Routinely Collect Feedback
Collect customer feedback regularly as customer needs and expectations can change.
In addition, measuring customer experience helps to understand how well your business is performing.
21% of organizations have developed their own KPIs to track customer experience.
The key CX metrics are Customer satisfaction score (CSAT), Net Promoter Score (NPS), and customer effort score (CES).
Therefore, taking feedback and measuring customer experience helps you to stay up to date regarding how your customers are feeling about your brand.
Why Should Brands Use Digital Customer Experience Platforms
A digital customer experience platform is an integrated software designed to meet the needs of brands undergoing digital transformation.
The ultimate goal is to provide better customer experiences across various experience customer journeys.
Here are the benefits provided by DXP:
1- Integrated Control Center
DXP provides combined omnichannel content management, customer data, and analytics enabled experiences.
Thus, it helps companies to increase customer retention and provide consistent journeys to customers.
For example, Revuze provides cloud-based product experience management business solutions. It scans unstructured customer feedback across multiple internal and external sources, such as online reviews, emails, and surveys, social media, and call center. The data is then converted into market insights to understand customer perceptions.
Revuze uses AI and machine learning semantic analysis to organize information into the most relevant subjects for every brand and product.
2- Content Flexibility
DXP uses a hybrid-headless and microservices structure to deliver the same content across all channels.
Thus, it provides time for the brand to focus on creating more content for a better experience. Also, it provides better experiences to customers on their preferred channels.
3- Better Personalization
DXP integrates with other systems such as CRMs, contact centers, and social media to provide a 360-degree view of each customer.
It also provides the right value to the customers at each touchpoint.
4- Future-Proof Adaptability
A DXP can integrate new technologies, adapt, and connect with customers as digital maturity increases. Besides, it also connects with the audiences as per their requirement.
Therefore, it helps you to reduce expenses, time, and energy while increasing flexibility, efficiency, scalability, and profitability.
Digital Customer Experience Examples
Here are some unique examples of digital customer experience from the banking and consumer sectors.
1- Bank: Erica Chatbot by Bank of America
Bank of America has been focusing on digital banking innovation for several years.
Erica, the virtual financial assistant of BAC, was launched in 2018. It helps customers with common issues without the assistance of a live operator.
Erica also integrates with BAC’s spending and budgeting tools and connects with customer service agents’ consoles in call centers.
It means that when customers use Erica, then they can make contact with a real human agent with just a simple tap.
2- Consumer: Starbucks
The Starbucks mobile app allows its customers to order and pay from their phones, making the purchasing process more convenient and faster.
The app also saves purchase history to offer deals personalized to the user’s tastes. In this way, they also build loyalty by creating a feeling that a company knows each of its customers in person.
Not only this, but Starbucks also partnered with Amazon Alexa for voice ordering.
3- Technology: Workplace From Facebook
Workplace is a collaboration and communication software that connects everyone in your company through an internal social network.
It uses groups, chat rooms, and live video broadcasting to get people talking and working together.
Workplace uses AI and machine learning to sort the most relevant information in the news feed, providing intelligent recommendations.
4- Consumer: Adidas Confirmed
The Adidas Confirmed is an app that allows customers to reserve products for pick-up in store. It alerts the customers about new product launches and asks for feedback on purchases.
The app also provides articles detailing how the sneaker or apparel projects came to life with visuals and context about certain elements, such as materials or colors.
Digital transformation offers companies an opportunity to engage customers and deliver on their expectations of a seamless customer experience.
Customers judge your brand based on ease-of-access, website experience, consistent messaging, and support across channels. Thus, a perfect digital customer experience strategy helps you earn trust, boost conversions, and nurture long-lasting relationships with customers.
Simone Somekh is a New York-based writer and editor who specializes in marketing and communications for B2B SaaS companies. He teaches Communications at Touro College and he is the author of an award-winning novel published in four languages.