What is digital customer experience?
Digital customer experience (DCX) can be described as the experience an online visitor has when browsing through a brand’s digital channels. Digital channels can include (but are not limited to); social media accounts, ecommerce websites, blog pages, and customer service (e.g. live chat).
Great digital customer experience can be determined by how enjoyable, accessible, consistent and streamline your online consumers find interacting and engaging with your brand online. This could be captured and evaluated through a combination of tactics, such as; customer feedback, reviews and website analytics.
“Take care of your customers, and they will take care of you!”
Why prioritise great digital customer experience?
It’s simple: happy customers equate to a thriving business. Your business wouldn’t function without your customers. So, if your customers are enjoying the service that you provide across all your digital channels, you have a greater chance of converting them to becoming a loyal customer and, therefore, more opportunity to increase online sales, average order value and other important metrics. By improving your digital customer experience you are increasing their lifetime value and – essentially – the longevity of your business.
2021 has been a tough year for all businesses – ecommerce and physical stores. Our recent market research, Time to Demystify Digital, revealed that brands felt pressure to quickly adopt new technology to keep up with digital transformation and new online consumer expectations in order to survive.
A key trend from the same market research was plans to improve digital customer experience in order to stand out in the market. Adopting 3rd party tools, such as; PureClarity, a personalisation solution technology, is a way you can cater to your customers needs.
Top tip: When looking to adopt any technology you should first ask yourself three questions:
- How will this software enhance my services to benefit my customer relationships?
- Will this increase customer loyalty and help nurture my existing customers?
- Will this enhance my current overall customer experience?
Marketers need to prioritise digital customer experience now more than ever before. Nearly 80% of consumers are more likely to invest into a brand long-term if they are treated as an individual and experience good DCX time and time again. Consistent experience is great digital customer experience.
“Build a relationship with your customers on an individual level if you can… this can be done through content, engagement, personalisation, web optimisation and 3rd party tools. There’s so many options brands can do to build relationships, but it is all about nurturing those relationships and creating long lasting relationships – don’t just see a customer as a one time sale, see them as long term and value them.” –Manpreet Singh, CEO of Bobble Digital, Ecommerce Trends 2021/2022: An Agency View
There’s three fundamental ingredients to achieve great digital customer experience:
- Success – did the online visitor convert? Did they hit all the touchpoints you wanted them to and action the desired goal? (e.g. make a sale).
- Effort – how seamless was the session?
- Emotion – are they a happy customer after their session?
Steps to creating a digital customer experience strategy
“A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all!”
- Review your current digital customer experience strategy: Map out everything you are doing to improve your customers DCX. Look at each stage of the customer life cycle and see how you cater to customers on every level (e.g. awareness is accessible and on digital channels such as social media?)
- Review your website analytics: Look into the metrics, what are your customers doing when they are on your site? Where are they coming from? Are they hitting all the touchpoints? Note down key trends.
- Create a customer journey map: Look at your online visitors’ online journeys and map them out, so you can visually see the routes that they are taking and map where they are dropping off. Use real time analytics to create a more accurate representation of your customer journeys.
- Map out customer expectations: What do your customers expect when they are on your digital channels? Are your values aligned with theirs? Research shows that brands that have shared values with their customers are more likely to increase customer retention.
- Customer feedback: Talk to your customers, understand what they like and dislike. This could be done through a short questionnaire, survey or rating whilst your customer is onsite.
- Focus on your customer service team: Invest time and money into training your team so that they are capable of delivering the best service and customer support possible.
- Use social listening tools: Social media is a brilliant tool to see what online visitors are saying about your brand. It also allows you to understand what your customer needs and wants.
10 ways to improve your online CX strategy:
1. Omnichannel approach
In this digital world consumers can be anywhere, everywhere and multiple places at the same time – the possibilities truly are limitless when it comes to digital and the advances in technology. That’s why it has become even more important to be able to reach your customers wherever they are. This can be achieved through offering an omnichannel experience.
An omnichannel experience involves expanding your presence across multiple digital channels. It would be beneficial to conduct some research into which channels that your customers are most active on. For example, if you have a younger demographic Tik Tok and Instagram are channels that have been proven to be the most impactful among millennials and generation z audiences. With that being said, social selling is a growing trend that all businesses need to take advantage of.
Many brands opt to be accessible through a website, an app (or PWA) and social media to ensure that they are hitting all customers’ touch-points. Research shows that online businesses with strong omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain an average of 89% of their customers.
2. Optimise for both desktop and mobiles
Mobile devices are becoming more and more popular for completing online purchases and tasks. In fact, 72.9% of all ecommerce sales will be made via a mobile phone by the end of 2021. Marketers need to be aware of the rise of mCommerce, to ensure that they are providing their customers an engaging digital experience on both mobile and desktop devices. Both are equally as important and useful to businesses.
3. Consider Progressive Web Apps (PWA)
In our recent podcast ‘Ecommerce Trends 2021/2022: An Agency View’, Lauren Collings, Senior Account Executive of Chilliapple stresses the importance of mobile apps in 2021 and beyond. Lauren goes on to suggest that Progressive Web Apps (PWA) are a good and cost-effective alternative to mobile apps for smaller businesses.
Mobile apps and PWAs are designed and built to deliver enhanced capabilities and reliability, also so that they are easily installable on any device. They are fast, easy to use, and extremely popular to enhance DCX.
“Progressive Web Apps allow clients the ability to offer that same level of customer experience as an app, without the price of a mobile app.” –Lauren Collings, Chilliapple, Ecommerce Trends 2021/2022: An Agency View
4. Use a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system
A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system allows you insight into your customers behaviour, shopping history and interests, which helps you understand how to optimise that customer relationship. It also can predict the future needs of your customers based on past behaviour and habits to increase their lifetime value and, therefore, increase digital customer experience.
A CRM is a great and useful way to collate information about your customer in one location and is an integral part of DCX. Popular CRM softwares include (but are not limited to): HubSpot, Monday.com, PipeDrive, and Freshworks.
5. Track analytics and real time data
Before you start interacting with your customers and online visitors it is important to understand them. The 5 basic questions you must ask yourself is:
- Who? Who are your customers?
- Where? Where are they coming from? (This could be device or location)
- Why? Why have they visited your online store?
- What? What are they looking for?
- When? When on your website what are they doing in real time?
Website analytics will allow you to answer the questions above and more. It will give you insight into your customer data to better understand and evaluate who your customer base is and how to approach situations to get better customer engagement. It provides you information on who they are, where they have come from, why they are in your store, what they are looking for, and when they arrived / what they are doing in real time, as well as more general metrics like conversion rate, average order value and cost per acquisition etc.
Many businesses use Google Analytics (GA) to track website analytics. However, 3rd party solutions, such as PureClarity, also include real time analytics and data to help determine onsite behaviour and the success of your content and campaigns. In addition, social media allows you to track customer data on their platforms. Social scheduling tools, such as; HubSpot, Hootsuite and TweetDeck, provide real time analytics as well.
It is important to track analytics across all channels that you use on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis. If you are running specific targeted campaigns it could be useful to track daily to monitor its progress.
6. Offer support
Customer service and support is the bread and butter of digital customer experience. A big ecommerce trend of 2021 is bringing an in-store experience online, bringing a more personal and meaningful experience to your customers. This technique is proven to increase customer retention and improve digital CX.
There’s a huge range of digital services that you can provide to your customers to bring an in-store experience online, however one of the most effective is live chat, instant messaging and chat bots. This allows your customers to have a direct line of contact.
Not all businesses have the resources and capabilities to be able to man chatbots 24/7, that’s why majority of the chatbots and live chat features are equipped with automated messaging. Some ecommerce technology solutions, like PureClarity, offer live chat that provides insight into analytics, to understand current and past customer interactions so that you are able to make real time product recommendations.
Chat bots, live chat and instant messaging services could be the difference between your visitor bouncing, never to return, to them converting and becoming a loyal customer.
7. Provide self-service solutions
Support can be shown through on-site content too. Provide self-service solutions to cover all customer touchpoints by publishing frequently asked questions, articles and video content. Position yourself as experts in your blogs, how to articles, case studies and customer reviews. Reviews in particular are great for gaining the trust of your customers.
Tip: Blogs, how to articles, FAQs, case studies and customer reviews are equally as beneficial for SEO purposes too.
8. Simplicity and ease of use
Marketers and businesses need to focus on making the user journey simple and fast. People want quick transactions online. Reducing the amount of clicks between a person landing on the site to them making that final purchase is crucial for increasing conversion rate.
Ways to improve ease of use:
- Personalise each digital customer experience to the individual, showing them real time content that is relevant to them (more on this later).
- Make the navigation clear and simple.
- Include support and useful resources (e.g. chat bots, blogs and self-service support content).
- Design is appropriate. Consider a font that is readable and contrasting to the background colours. Ensure that the style of the website is consistent to reduce bounce rate.
9. Action and respond to customer feedback quickly
Fulfilling customer needs needs to be at the forefront of your businesses to do list. If your customers leave a review or give a suggestion on what they think could be done to improve your customer service and their DCX needs to be completed as quickly as possible.
Anytime you receive customer feedback is an opportunity to engage with them and improve your DCX. However, not all customer feedback is going to be doable, but responding and acknowledging their feedback and queries is important for improving customer satisfaction. Be honest and transparent with your customers – they will appreciate this.
10. Adopt ecommerce personalisation
Creating an in-store experience online has never been easier with advances in ecommerce solutions like personalisation. Ecommerce personalisation allows you to create hyper personalised and unique shopper journeys for individual website visitors based on their wants and needs, past visits and current activity.
Online visitors want 1:1 dialogue, seamless experiences and relevant content. 73% of online consumers have stated that they want personalised shopping experiences, and 86% of them have declared that personalisation plays a big role in whether or not they make a purchase with a brand.
Benefits of personalisation:
- Increase in online sales and conversion rate:
- Increase in average order value (AOV)
- Increase in customer engagement and loyalty
- Opportunity to nurture existing customers
- Driven by artificial intelligence (AI) for accurate automation of content
- Real time analytics and insights to optimise campaigns and build stronger customer relationships
Ecommerce personalisation can come in many forms. Product recommenders, personalised content (e.g. banners and carousels), live chat, searchandising and email are some of the most popular and effective ways to improve digital customer experience with personalisation.
Advances in technology means that ecommerce personalisation solutions are much more accessible and affordable – you no longer have to be Amazon to be able to reap the benefits of ecommerce personalisation.
If you want to increase online sales, average order value, conversion rate and overall revenue, you need to start to re-evaluate your digital customer experience strategy. Ecommerce personalisation is a sure-fire way to optimise your digital customer experience and improve your customer experience management. Get in touch today – book a discovery call here.