In today’s technology-focused world, a company’s ability to attract and maintain customers requires them to leverage digital tools and channels. By doing so, they become empowered to create exciting, personalized consumer experiences. From apps that allow consumers to purchase coffee without opening their wallets, to the ability to hail a taxi cab without calling anyone, changing customer expectations have forced the evolution of the digital customer experience DCX).
Put simply, DCX is the product of all digitally enabled interactions between a company, its prospects, and its customers over the duration of their relationship. And every company in every industry needs to understand that the bar has been raised. Their ability to compete effectively and build market share in today’s expanding global economy will heavily depend upon proper DCX execution.
Why the Customer Experience Matters
JetBlue. Apple. Zappos. These and other companies have been lauded for their ability to build customer loyalty and, in turn, significantly grow their revenues. But what these companies have really done successfully is to forge an intimate relationship with their customers to drive engagement. And the key to building customer intimacy is to deliver a superior customer experience.
The case for this is simple. Every time a prospect or customer interacts with a business, in what are generally called “touch points,” he or she forms an impression of that business. When all of the impressions are aggregated, they form an experience. By placing customers at the center of the business model and architecting engagement and servicing systems to deliver desired customer experiences, companies build a strong competitive advantage that pays off. The latest research on the topic proves just that: Better customer experience drives revenue growth.
“Companies that help consumers simplify the purchase journey have customers who are 86% more likely to purchase their products and 115% more likely to recommend their brand to others.”
Doing DCX Right
There are many studies on the customer experience and DCX. Different studies point to different sets of experience attributes that are most important depending on industry characteristics, the nature of targets, and current customers. Here, we have identified five “universal” attributes that we believe make for an optimal customer experience, especially when digital strategies are being employed.
Consumers today are more diverse, more connected, and more powerful than ever before, making identification and micro-segmentation one of the most important and challenging tasks for the company looking to sell to them. Although companies may think they know their customers, studies show that 80% of consumers believe that brands really don’t know them as individuals.
Most customer interactions happen during a multi-event, multi-channel journey. As customers switch channels, both within digital and outside of it, they expect to receive the same level of quality. Customers get frustrated by inconsistent experiences. A whopping 78% of consumers say they opted out of a transaction or intended purchase because of a poor quality experience.
Seventy-seven percent of U.S. online adults say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with a good experience. Whether it is an FAQ section of a website that provides instant answers to basic questions or a live chat feature that addresses the long waiting times, today’s consumers expect to receive instant answers and fast issue resolution.
“Seventy-seven percent of U.S. online adults say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with a good experience.”
Companies that help consumers simplify the purchase journey have customers who are 86% more likely to purchase their products and 115% more likely to recommend their brand to others. High effort levels are viewed by customers as a significant barrier to a healthy business relationship.
Consumers are acknowledging that businesses can influence shopping behaviors by delivering relevant messaging and making shopping experiences more personal. 86% say personalization plays a key role in their purchasing decisions. In exchange for personalized offers and services delivered to the Smartphones or e-mail addresses, consumers are willing to share personal information – provided they can maintain a sense of control over it.
At the end of 2016, 89% of companies expected to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience. This is up from just 36% four years ago. The digital customer experience is no longer just about accessibility and ease-of-use; it is about connecting, inspiring, engaging, and co-creating with customers.
Businesses must design and execute the DCX rapidly by staying flexible and open to continuous feedback from customers and users. It may seem overwhelming at first, but there are frameworks, methods, and technologies to facilitate the process in a cost-effective, iterative manner.
To succeed in the digital age, companies around the world must understand what their customers truly desire–a personalized customer experience. The future demands it.