In today’s always-on digital world, we are kept constantly connected. Access to a smartphone, tablet, or computer, means businesses, and the customer service that comes with it, are only ever just a few taps away.
Online, many of our needs are met instantly, shaping what consumers now expect from businesses: fast, personalized, and accessible service.
Traditional customer service and legacy technology don’t offer the flexibility, convenience, and agility to cater to consumers today. So instead, businesses are turning to new technology and looking at digital transformation to elevate their customer experience (CX) and compete in the modern marketplace.
With digital transformation so key to staying relevant, 65 percent of businesses were already implementing changes in 2020. However, those plans became all-the-more urgent once the pandemic hit.
Unable to go into stores during the pandemic, more customers went online to shop. According to Forrester, 40 percent of U.S. adults increased their online shopping, and 42 percent don’t plan to return in-store any time soon.
With limited in-person options, companies had to adapt quickly to provide online customer care and digitize their CX. In fact, this shift happened so quickly, some companies have been forced to accelerate their plans by as much as 6 years.
The pandemic underscored the pressing need for digital transformation. And companies know this only too well — over 50 percent of businesses are shifting their focus to digital technology.
To understand how digital transformation links to customer experience, though, let’s start at the beginning.
Digital transformation is using technology and digital innovation to revolutionize your business operations.
It’s not simply rolling out novel tools and technology. It’s about digital strategies centered on optimizing your customer journey, providing what customers want, understanding their pain points, and fundamentally changing the way your business runs to provide more value to customers.
Digital transformation begins and ends with CX.
Today’s customers seek a new level of customer care. They want an ongoing relationship, not a series of isolated transactions. And it isn’t just customers that stand to benefit from that. Businesses do, too. According to Motista, customers with an emotional connection to a brand have 3x more lifetime value with a company and are 30 percent more likely to recommend them to others.
As technology brings new capabilities, customers’ expectations have risen in tandem. Businesses need to provide more, better, and faster service than ever before.
With 24/7 online access, customers expect constant availability and timely responses from a business. Based on a Hubspot study, 90 percent of customers rate immediate responses to support questions as important or very important.
Customers prefer service online where they are, with 69 percent wanting businesses to digitize their offerings.
As customers use more digital channels to contact businesses, each touchpoint must be seamless and consistent. Every interaction provides important context for future communication and relationship building. Without that, you run the risk of annoying your customers — 70 percent of customers think businesses should coordinate internally so they don’t have to repeat themselves to customer support.
Personalized experiences throughout the customer journey increase customer satisfaction and are key to trust and loyalty — 82 percent of customers feel more positive toward a brand after engaging with personalized content, for example. And the reverse is also true, with 71 percent of consumers feeling dissatisfied after an impersonal shopping experience.
Technology and digital transformation are vital in equipping businesses to provide thoughtful personalization, constant online availability, and the fast responses at large scale required to succeed in the modern world.
Gartner predicts new technologies will handle 70 percent of customer interactions by 2022, thanks to more meaningful and personalized customer experiences made possible through digital innovation.
As customer service has improved through the use of technology, the numbers have started to reflect this. For example, according to McKinsey, digital transformation in CX brought 20-30 percent increased customer satisfaction and 20-50 percent profit gains.
Below are some important ways you can use these technologies to enhance your CX.
Using chatbots and conversational AI, you can provide instant and consistent 24/7 customer service and faster issue resolution. Chatbots handle routine tasks, responding to FAQs, providing information, and offering personalized recommendations. This frees live chat agents up for more complex issues.
Chatbots are becoming more common, and customers are getting used to using them more, too. In fact, 40 percent of consumers aren’t fussed whether they’re speaking with chatbots or humans as long as they get what they need.
Like chatbots, live chat offers instant customer service. The main difference being, customers get to speak to a real human — your customer support agent.
Live chat has gained in popularity to the point that 41 percent of customers expect to see it on a website. It’s also a favorite form of digital communication, with 42 percent of customers preferring live chat as they don’t have to wait on hold.
To improve service even further, live chat also integrates with other channels to create a more comprehensive record of the customer’s history.
Cobrowsing helps support reps resolve issues faster by cutting out potential miscommunication and bridging the physical gap with remote communication technology. With cobrowsing, your support reps can interact securely with a customer’s screen to guide them through, or even physically complete tasks for them.
An overwhelming 91 percent of customers find cobrowsing helpful, so it’s a great tool for enhancing your support services and boosting customer experience.
Technology provides access to richer data and more powerful analytics. Every interaction you have with your customers gives you a clearer picture of their needs and pain points — crucial insights for improving customer experience. And for the sake of better service, a massive 87 percent of U.S. customers are willing to trade some of their information and privacy.
As the volume of data available constantly increases, the ability to manage it all from one centralized space is becoming more important than ever. A unified agent view can help store customer information, such as purchase and support history, to help with future interactions and pushing out tailored content.
With a variety of technologies to choose from to create a better customer experience, you can define the best way to approach digital transformation for your business.
Because all your internal operations impact CX, digital transformation is an inside job.
Understanding customers’ needs and spotting gaps or improvements to your customer journey are central to implementing digital transformation successfully. By focusing on accessible, fast, and personalized CX, your business can thrive with increased satisfaction, trust, and loyalty.
Digital transformation can’t replace the meaningful connections between your business and customers. It can, however, help you strengthen these connections and create a better customer experience.
Katrina is a New York-based copy and content writer for business and technology companies, specializing in conversation design and chatbot technology, as well as training and professional development topics.