Providing a great Customer Experience (CX) can help increase brand loyalty and generate positive word of mouth. Anecdotally, I love gushing about receiving positive customer service—I’ve told many stories about having wonderful interactions with businesses and their employees.
Over the last few decades, those stories have included more tales of email exchanges, chat response software, and my love for apps.
But those are just anecdotes, right?
Not really. While the digital revolution has transformed how we do business, one thing remains the same: customers expect prompt, positive service that prioritizes them.
And that starts with a robust digital customer experience strategy.
What is a digital customer experience strategy?
First, let’s talk digital customer experience.
At the risk of being redundant, it’s the experience your customers have while interacting with your brand’s digital touchpoints. To be most effective, this should be a seamless and uniform user experience across all branded channels.
Therefore, a digital customer experience strategy is the process of studying those touchpoints and interactions, then implementing improvements that create a more positive user experience. Because customers often interact with brands both physically (i.e., in-store) and digitally, this serves as only one part of your overall customer experience strategy
Examples of digital channels you might offer your customers include:
- Your website
- Digital forms
- Social media
- Mobile apps and loyalty programs
- Customer experience surveys
- Email campaigns
How to build a digital customer experience strategy
An effective digital customer experience strategy nurtures customer journeys by removing roadblocks between your customers and your brand. This means making all digital channels intuitive and easy to use. Your process may differ depending on the channels you offer and the experiences you provide. In general, focusing on your customers and what might be most beneficial to them is a great starting point.
When building a digital customer experience strategy, consider:
Getting to know your customers
Want to create good customer experiences? Start with getting to know your customers: how they interact with your brand, what they like about the experience, and what they don’t. Customer experience platforms offer tools you can use to collect customer feedback about their interactions with you. For instance, customer support chatbots can help resolve issues (and collect the resulting data). Implementing feedback surveys can gauge customer satisfaction.
Understanding your customers is also an important step in a holistic marketing strategy.
Each software or platform will offer its own set of tools at varying price points. I recommend shopping around to find one that fits your needs and budget!
Speeding things up
Load times can make or break a customer experience. Optimizing your website and apps to load quickly can do more than increase their usefulness—it gives your customers less time to navigate away!
Speeding up your digital channels usually takes multiple steps, including finding a good CDN (Content Development Networking), optimizing your visual content, and optimizing SSL. This can take time to research and implement. If you have the means, you might consider hiring an IT professional or freelancer to help.
Offering multiple touchpoints
Each customer has their own preferences and needs. By offering multiple touchpoints, you give your customers the ability to decide which ones are most comfortable for them. This flexibility of choice helps your customers customize their own experience when interacting with your brand.
Personalizing customer experiences
Though many customers might prefer to interact with your brand through their devices, strictly digital interactions can feel cold and impersonal. A personalized customer service approach can help create a more human experience.
To do so, consider creating user profiles for your customers. For instance, you could address emails directly to individual customers or suggest related products or services based on previous purchases. This might entail collecting personally identifying information (such as names and email addresses), so don’t forget to ask permission first.
You might also consider using a casual, conversational tone when writing emails and other text-based content.
When your customers want to interact with a human, they should be able to do so. Of course, these options can only match your budget and resources. For instance, some businesses can afford an all-day phone line to field customer questions and issues. Others might opt for live chat software. You could create a digital form to log tickets for an email response system.
No matter which avenue you choose, it’s essential to be responsive. Customers usually like feeling valued, so make sure you value them and their time.
Have you ever received an abandoned cart email? It’s more than a simple reminder of a product you showed interest in—it’s an automated response to your digital interactions. Consider looking for repeatable processes you can automate. For instance: email drip campaigns, routing chatbot conversations to relevant departments, and triaging customer support tickets as they’re logged.
Providing a seamless experience across channels
Your customers likely interact with your brand across multiple channels and devices. For a seamless experience, your customers must receive the same excellent service from one channel to the next. This includes using a unified voice and consistent branding on all platforms. It also means ensuring that your customer support team can access important customer information and feedback. For instance, if your customer begins an interaction with a chatbot, then decides to call for further support, it’s helpful to access that chat when helping the customer over the phone.
Optimizing for mobile
People love their mobile devices. Most people use their personal devices to read emails, browse the internet, shop online, check the news, and connect with family and friends. In short: if it’s interactive and connected to the internet, they likely use their phone to do it. Optimizing your sites and apps for mobile can help them look more appealing and be more useful to many of your customers.
Improving the checkout process
Have you ever wondered why brick-and-mortar stores keep candy, snacks, and magazines by the register? It’s because making items easy to purchase helps increase sales!
Consider a streamlined purchase process with fewer steps, easy-to-navigate interfaces, and big, easy-to-read buttons to help make it easier for customers to purchase your products.
Odds are, your business collects far more than just customer data. But that’s not the only data useful for tailoring customer experiences.
We create a lot of data—2.5 quintillion bytes a day, in fact. Amongst that is information about our own businesses: what works, what’s profitable, what’s not, and so on. Analyzing this data can help you learn more about your customers’ wants and needs.
For instance, you might learn that sales increase after offering a quicker turnaround. You can learn what products are most popular or which services customers need at different times of the year. This can help you step up production, prepare new offerings, or develop additional options for your customers. Of course, much of this might happen outside of your customers’ digital experience. However, it can improve that experience by ensuring you can provide the products, services, and other options your customers need each time they log onto your site or app.