Think about all the different ways you interact with a brand online – researching their products, watching video content, commenting on social media. The list goes on and on. All of these interactions help shape your impression of that company. In other words, your opinions are influenced by the digital experience each company offers.
Here lies an opportunity for savvy brands to harness technology in order to meet the needs of the modern day consumer. So, if your company's digital experience is grounded in strategies from yesteryear, you need to get up to speed – or risk getting left behind your competition.
Why digital customer experience is important
Consumer habits have changed forever thanks to the transformative power of digital technology. Nowadays, a company’s digital presence extends far beyond its website or app – and the traditional mainstay of the homepage is becoming increasingly peripheral.
The digital customer journey can often be a convoluted affair, with research, interest and consideration taking place before committing to any purchasing decisions. So, a variety of devices are used across a number of touchpoints before consumers get anywhere near buying. In response, by 2018, 44 percent of companies had already moved to a digital first approach for customer experience – and this trend is increasing.
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9 questions to ask when redefining digital experience
If you are embarking on digital transformation for customer experience, there are a number of questions you can ask yourself. These questions will help you touch on important aspects of digital experience and take measures to improve it for your customers.
Here are a few examples, broken down by department.
1. Have I provided ways for customers to effectively help themselves?
Customers like having a self-serve option. Research from Harvard Business Review shows that more than 8 out of 10 customers will try and sort out an issue themselves before reaching out to a live rep.
Self-serve support also decreases the burden on customer support teams allowing them to do their job even better. It’s win-win.
Although self-serve options aren’t going to completely replace personalized customer support, they can do a lot to enrich the digital experience. There are two main ways of providing self-service:
- Chatbots. Conversational bot software can answer up to 80 percent of common inquiries and tickets can be escalated when necessary.
- Knowledge bases. FAQs, guided search or specific articles packed full of relevant information. They’re popular – 51 percent of customers prefer support through an online knowledge base.
2. Have I added multiple digital communication options?
Consumers crave convenience, and that means support should be available whenever and wherever it’s needed.
Not so long ago, if you wanted to contact a company, you had to pick up the phone. Today the options look very different. But just being present across channels isn’t the end of it. Those channels need to deliver consistently and offer a quality integrated service.
Offering customers a choice of digital communication channels means making use of:
- Live chat. Over half (52%) of consumers are more likely to repurchase from a company that offers live chat support.
- Social media. A staggering 42 percent of the world’s population uses social media, so it provides an unmissable opportunity to engage with customers.
- Chatbots. Automating common inquiries allows customers to get in touch fast – 90 percent of businesses report faster complaint resolution with bots.
- Email. Sometimes old school is the best option – 62 percent of customers still want to communicate with companies via email for customer service.
- Messaging. With 82 percent of consumers keeping SMS notifications switched on, they’re a great way to get customers’ attention fast.
3. Are all customer data stored in a single place?
Customers are fed up with having to repeat themselves and explain their situation from scratch when they’re transferred among agents or call back for the same issue. Using a centralized database is a good way to connect the dots between interactions, ensuring this doesn’t happen.
It’s not just your customers that stand to benefit – your business does as well. According to Aberdeen Group, companies that provide a consistent service quality across multiple channels retain 89 percent of their customers – companies that don’t are only able to retain 33 percent.
Plug the data into your customer support software and CRM to create a truly holistic customer view. This way you can:
- Create a consistent cross-channel customer experience
- Have easy access to past customer interactions
- Get a holistic, multi-device view of each customer’s interactions and attributes
4. Can I onboard new users effectively?
Everyone knows the value of first impressions. The onboarding experience has the power to define the ongoing relationship between your customer and their chosen product – not to mention your brand.
Failing to manage this stage effectively comes at a heavy price. The top two reasons that customers churn are:
- Customers don’t understand your product
- Customers don’t obtain any value from your product
Effective onboarding addresses both of these issues. And making appropriate use of technology really helps to enrich the onboarding experience. Here are a few tech solutions:
- Cobrowsing. Offers a great way for customers to collaborate with your staff to help them through any teething problems when getting set up. Staff can jump in and help, but thanks to observational learning, customers will be able to deal with the issue themselves in the future.
- Knowledge bases. A knowledge base or resource section is an ideal solution for frequently asked questions and allows users to solve their problems quickly and autonomously. Video content can really help bring instructions to life and again tap into our tendency for observational learning.
- Chatbots. Another great option since they provide a personalized touch and help users solve problems without having to scour your website for an answer.
5. Do I have customer feedback loops to understand how best to develop products?
Customer feedback is invaluable, offering you the opportunity to learn what customers think about your brand based on facts, rather than assumptions. Some 57 percent of marketing professionals say that the best tactic for improving customer experience is collecting customer feedback.
Involve customers in early stage product development where possible. You could even give customers a more direct input. Walkers potato chips in the UK let customers vote and choose the flavors they produced.
Surveys are an excellent way to obtain product feedback. Here are some you could use:
- CSAT. Measures customer satisfaction. Use after a feature is activated, before the customer renews the product (or upgrades), or after customer support sessions.
- CES. Measures customer effort required to complete a product task. Helps you learn how easy your product is to use. Use after newly released features or product interactions.
Don’t forget, you can always ask customers what they think during support calls, and even keep track of and analyze opinions using technology such as live chat, or sentiment analysis on social media.
6. Have I provided support for my products in-app?
Given the sheer popularity of mobile devices, and that 90 percent of mobile time is spent on apps, it would be reckless not to offer in-app product support.
It makes an impact, too. Qualtrics found that over 65 percent of customers said that their experience on the website or app would be at a minimum a very important factor, if not more so, in their willingness to recommend a brand.
Here are some ways you can ensure customers have the support they need in-app:
- Allow customers to message you from inside the app
- Provide in-app native FAQs
- Enable cobrowsing in-app
- Make sure your customer service software is fully integrated into your app
7. Have I made it easy to book demos?
Demos are an important opportunity to demonstrate the business' value to a potential customer and bring in those sales. Online demo requests need to be prominently displayed – but be careful not to fall into the trap of overkill.
Some good places to put “request a demo” links might be:
- Sidebar. An eye-catching call to action (CTA) and graphic in the side bar will remain in a prominent position throughout navigation.
- Contextually. Introduce the CTA into the copy of your website where and when it’s appropriate based on the subject matter.
- Footer. Customers know footers often include useful contact and navigational information, so their eye will be naturally drawn there.
Clicking through these CTAs, customers will find themselves on your “request a demo” page. There are some common traits that all good “Request a Demo” landing pages have. Your landing page should include:
- A clean look
- A simple form
- A phone number (and live chat etc.) as an alternative contact method
- Social proof to provide credibility
- A video, bullet points, or short description detailing what customers will learn in the demo
Take a look at Dropbox as an example of how to create a clean demo form.
8. Have I made it easy to get in touch?
It’s surprising how difficult it is to get in touch with some companies. Denying customers easy access can have profound negative results. Customers may:
- Grow frustrated. This may result in churn, and/or sharing their frustration with others and damaging your reputation.
- Abandon a transaction. One survey showed that 83 percent of consumers needed some kind of help to complete an online purchase. Without this help at hand, they are unlikely to complete the transaction.
Fortunately, there are a number of simple measures you can take to avoid these issues.
- Clearly list contact phone numbers on top of pages.
- Make use of technological features that make getting in touch easier. For example, click to call whilst in live chat.
- Make sure it’s easy to navigate to a contact page that clearly lists all available contact options.
9. Have I signified that we are a trustworthy brand?
The internet can be a scary place for consumers and it’s important for them to know they can trust who they’re dealing with. That’s why 84 percent of customers are more loyal to companies with strong security controls.
- Make sure you have a secure ecommerce payment process in place. A study by Baymard showed how 18 percent of shoppers who abandoned their e-shopping carts during checkout did so because they “didn’t trust the site with my credit card information.”
- Display trust seals prominently to demonstrate your business takes financial security seriously. This will ensure you don’t lose those 85 percent of customers who will not do business with a company if they are concerned about its security practices.
Most of all... create a frictionless experience
Whatever measures you take to redefine your digital customer experience, keep in mind that customers’ want their lives to be as simple as possible. By removing barriers and ensuring a clean, seamless digital experience, you stand to gain through increased customer loyalty and higher conversion rates. In the end, your aim is to create a digital experience to remember – for all the right reasons.