The digital customer experience is the sum of experiences one can have using a digital interface. The beauty of a digital interfaces, like a smartphone or tablet, is they access so many activities and industries. They bring you to millions of products without leaving the comfort of your home.
When you talk about experiences, people are quick to replace them with customer service. They forget customer service is only an aspect of customer experience. Customer experience is deeper, capturing the totality of engagement that customer has with your brand. This runs the full scope of the entire time she is your customer.
Don’t get confused, I’ll clarify in just a little bit. Every single brand has customers and relates to them, providing them with goods and services which means there is the provision of customer experience. The bigger issue is the level you want the experience you provide to be at. It is up to you as a brand to determine if it is going to be topnotch, industry average or downright poor. Of course, these experiences are highly unpredictable.
We are dealing with humans here, couple that with the fact experiences differ from person to person. Perceptions, emotions, habits, and unexpected behaviors all vary. But even in light of this unpredictability, do we fold our hands as a brand and do nothing? Hardly.
Why is Customer Experience Important?
It’s the truth, someone out there is doing exactly what you are doing. Think about it, someone, somewhere is already running your ideal business. Do you know the only thing that’ll make you stand out from the crowd? It’s the customer experience you deliver. not just the products or services you sell.
Customer experience is the totality of all consumers’ encounters with a company’s products, services, and brand. Well, everyone can get the products from about any good source out there; it is the positive experience you create that keeps them coming back for more and turns them into brand loyal advertisers for free. I will let you in on a fact.
When you deliver experiences that fall below expectations, your customers will be unhappy. When your customer experiences are equal to their expectations, your customers will be much happier. It is at this point that people seem alright to maintain the status quo, but you can turn it a notch further by delivering customer experiences that surpass your customer’s expectations and make them delighted. When you get to this point, you can become the market leader in any industry you find yourself in. Of course, you know that doing this entails learning about your customers and what makes them tick.
To do this, companies have to recognize the need to gain an in-depth understanding of customer’s expectations, what can influence this experience and how it can be effectively enhanced. We are in the era where the customers control the buying process as well as the flow of information.
Technology has made it easy for customers to access information about a company anytime, anywhere and any day. Don’t get me started on social media and its powers too. If you doubt me, try making a customer angry or dissatisfied! Unhappy customers will broadcast their unhappiness with service provided through any means to the world, much more than satisfied customers.
Topnotch customer experience is a brand function every customer demands from an organization. Brands make the mistake of approaching offline and online customers alike. They often forget customers are different from each other. And online customers are far less patient than offline customers.
Studies have found slow page load can frustrate online customers to the point of them giving up and leaving your site. While an offline customer can wait for minutes for service, eCommerce is very different.
There is an increase in online customers because of the ease and convenience it brings. Of course, it’s a lot easier to lie in bed with your phone than to leave the comfort of your house to buy something. The stakes are higher for the digital transactions, because, customers don’t excuse brands for a poor digital experience.
For all these reasons, companies have to invest in delivering a high quality digital customer experience.
Build Strong Digital Customer Experiences
With digital revolution permeating every corner of the world, the key to engaging and delighting customers is the provision of a digital experience worth remembering. For many consumers, the notion of customer experience is wrought with frustrations and delays resulting in something one can barely call an experience. The line between physical and digital is blurring with each leap that technology takes.
Building strong customer experience is important as it transcends to higher referral rates and customer satisfaction. When your customer experience is top-of-the-line, it creates a buzz and spreads like wildfire, bringing more customers knocking on your digital doorstep.
When you wow your customers with your brand experience you make them happy. They then associate the brand with that positive emotion. Ultimately, they keep coming back for more. So, the customer satisfaction element is the end goal of marketing itself.
The best customer experiences are built on high-quality custom content specifically written to target a particular potential customer group. Also, industry specific content narrows your offers to the particular type of companies you want to do business with most.
Improve Customer Experience with Great Content
There is a difference between product content and “great” product content. To capture attention, product content must be original, accurate, current, sufficient, and interesting. It also has to be engaging enough to warrant a continuous read. This is what makes it great.
Remember, your products are online and your web visitors cannot employ their sense of touch to make their purchase decision. You need to appeal to the imagination of your readers in a way that they can picture it in their mind’s eye. Of course, great products contents help do this in an effective manner.
Great product content has a positive relationship with revenue. Why not imagine this scenario?
You had a stressful day and you are lying on your bed and surfing the web. You do not intend staying for long, just to check in and check out. Just as you are about logging off, you scroll past information about a product. For the life of you, you cannot seem to understand why you stare transfixed to your screen, it is just so convincing and compelling that it almost seems like a sin if you do not get it. A low battery warning makes you jump out and enter card details to make the purchase.
The result will be your brand earning more.
Strategies for Improving Digital Customer Experiences
I bet since we all know the importance of building strong customer experiences, the next question on our tongues is how then do we improve our digital customer experiences? Hold on to your hats while we explore strategies for your arsenal to create mind-blowing experiences to keep customers addicted to your brand.
Before continuing, please know everyone, at every touch point of the organization, owns the customer experiences. It is not just in the strategies alone but inclusive of the people, the processes and the technology. However, all strategies you decide to undertake, there must be a consumer-centric approach in mind. This means that all must be done with the consumers in mind and not the products. The satisfaction and fulfillment of their needs should be at the core of all business activities.
Now that is out of the way, let us continue with the ways we can improve digital customer experiences!
Produce Great Product Content
It was not a mistake that this was the first on the list. It bears repeating for further emphasis. When we talk about content, we refer to the product information used by a brand to convey messages about their offerings. Just as important as a battery is to a phone, you cannot talk about digital marketing or strategies without talking about content creation. It is even more important with online experiences.
This is because there is no presence of a physical store. The customer has no choice but to depend solely on the presentation of digital content. Armed with power-packed and attention-grabbing content detailing product attributes, your products will definitely outshine their competition on the digital shelf.
Personalize Your Digital Offerings
Technology is improving every day with new innovations popping up, waiting for no one. Businesses that are proactive will need to creatively discover ways of satisfying the increasing demands of their consumers. This is where personalization comes in. Customers want their voices to be heard and want to feel like they do matter.
The shift from mass marketing to personalize and customized offerings that make them feel unique. You have to continuously reinvent your brand to personalize your offerings, culminating in an experience that will leave a positive mental picture of your brand. For example, a letter sent to you from two companies. Company A greets you as Dear Sir/Madam while company B uses your personal name and surname. Company B will hold more weight in your mind because of the feeling within you that “you are known.”
It will be more appealing if the Managing Director signs it personally. Getting mail from a brand with zero personality will not hold a place in your mind. Little things like this count but they are often overlooked.
We are in the information age and more companies are keying into the idea of creating brand loyalists to withstand competition in the market. They can achieve this by leveraging information generated through customer’s consumption patterns, online comments, and likes and shopping sites to be able to anticipate the wants of the consumers with much more accuracy, making their buying process easier, enjoyable and fun. Well, almost as good as reading minds! Of course, the ability to read and make meaning out of data is one that is golden to companies and should not be overlooked.
Have a System to Handle Complaints
The mistake most people make is that they fail to realize that communication is a two-way process and feedback is the evidence of effective communication. Customer complaints should be seen not as a criticism but as an unsolicited feedback for you to fix the leak in your roof as a brand. So, use customer feedback as an opportunity to discover areas of improvement. More so, it gives you a rare opportunity to turn that customer into a brand ambassador for free!
Have a system of ensuring that complaints are treated with urgency and everyone gets a rapid response. Sometimes an immediate solution may not be available but it wouldn’t hurt to communicate to them that you’ve heard their complaints and a solution is on the way.
It is also important to minimize customer’s reason for complaint. For instance, it is not enough to keep receiving complaints about the long duration of time your page takes to load without doing anything about it to make the page loading faster.
Practice the art of following up even after resolving a complaint. This is an effective way to ensure customers like the solutions you offer, sending the signal they value your content.
Consistency Is Key
Have you ever been in a situation where you were extremely happy with a service? Then you went back for more only to be utterly disappointed. The greatest killer of superb marketing efforts is inconsistency. Do you want to be different? Make your service offering consistent and that consistency will earn you loyal customers.
Think about a consumer’s impression of a brand as a finished work of art, like a painting. A painting does not just come to be. Instead, the culmination of imagination and brush strokes make the final picture.
If there is no consistency, your customers will end up with a disjointed and confusing brand impression. Over time, these inconsistencies will negatively affect the growth of your business. For a company to make a heavy investment in delivering consistent messages and experiences, it must invest in dedicated software systems. These will reduce inconsistencies by automating customer purchase processes.
Support systems should be in place to minimize the issue of customers repeating themselves and their details. The company’s customer relationship management software should tie all customer interactions together across digital channels. Link emails, social media, and live chats to avoid a fragmented digital customer experience.
Just imagine you got a complaint, sent an email, and each online agent you talked to asked you for an explanation of the complaint. Wouldn’t this be an annoying waste of time?
When talking about consistency, visual does matter on so many levels. Check out a consistent brand like Apple, who has maintained a regular experience across their differing products. Their reward is loyal customers who have found it quite easy migrating between their devices and that makes them come back for more.
As a brand, ensure that your website is easily accessible and loads fast. Trust me, no customer is going to wait around for a site to open, they’ll go right to another that offers a faster solution. Retailers have incurred a loss of online sales when they don’t optimize their websites. Hence, in line with delivering superior digital customer experiences, you have to optimize your website so it guarantees maximum performance regardless of the customer’s network connection, location, or device.
On the issue of navigation, there is need to ensure your site is user-friendly. An average customer should not have difficulty in assessing and navigating your website to keep them interested in your brand.
Areas of Careful Consideration
Looking for areas that can be harnessed to improve digital customer experiences? The first step is to produce quality product content. Yes, it is repeated again which goes to show how extremely important great product content is. Utilize the benefits behavior-based web personalization platforms do offer and respond to user behavior in real time. It helps a brand have an in-depth knowledge of their customers through their behavior patterns and responding to that behavior proactively.
Upgrade your website by building on the past experiences of customers to make their experience on your site easier and convenient. Think about the joy you felt when you visited a website for the second or third time and product content and information you sought were available, saving you time. I bet it definitely made you feel appreciated and saved you some time too!
Ensure you do have a working online chat or helpdesk that is available twenty-four hours. It does improve customer experiences when your site is known for fast response to inquiries or complaints.
An Excellent Digital Customer Experience
You and I make up the digital customer. Consumers will keep on raising the bar for quality customer service and timely product delivery, switching at the slightest inclination to a competing brand with companies suffering a significant revenue loss as a result of this brand switching. You know why this brand switching is so easy? It is because consumers are exposed to billions of messages every day. Hence, today’s customers are more loyal to experiences than to companies or brands; hence, interacting digitally with your customers is crucial to your growth as a brand.
I cannot stress this enough. Digital product content remains a huge and important aspect to effectively delivering memorable online customer experiences. There is need for the creation of strong contents that delivers a delightful experience for the consumer.
If you haven’t subscribed to this practice, you can still turn things around by realizing what needs to be done and backing it up with actions. Remember, your customers can leave at the click of a mouse if their experience with you is not top of the line and this begins with the production of great product contents that are attention-grabbing in seconds of scanning them.
Marketing is a war and only those with the strongest weapon in their arsenal can win the war. Exceptional customer experience to delight customers has now become the focal point of marketing activities like branding, design, delivery and the overall differentiation of products and services of organizations. This goes to show that making the digital experience of the customer worthwhile and striving to surpass their expectations is the perfect weapon to fight the war of sustaining and retaining customers.
Now that you know how to build a winning customer experience, click here to see what Catsy can do for you.