Not so long ago, business owners believed that a key to winning customers over was the quality of the goods or services they delivered. Times have changed and even more potent success factors have appeared — such as providing a great customer experience. When you offer a good customer experience, your customers are ready to spend more.
A study from McKinsey found that 70% of buying decisions are based on how the customer feels they are being treated.
But what does customer experience mean in the digital age?
What is Digital Customer Experience?Anchor
Digital Customer Experience (DXC) is the sum of all online interactions a customer has with your company. It is the overall perception of your brand that your customers develop as they interact with your brand across different digital platforms.
The digital customer experience is part of a much wider customer experience (CX), which includes in-store interactions and other traditional customer service channels in the physical world.
CX depends on building human connection, trust, and showing empathy. DCX focuses on front-end services and back-office processes that increase customer satisfaction in the digital world.
Why Digital CX Matters in 2022Anchor
Good quality products and services and competitive prices are still important for online success. However, in the past few years, brands that focus on products and prices alone have struggled to make conversions.
On the other hand, companies that strive to make every step of the journey seamless and memorable not only convert more but also get to make sales at higher prices. Here are some trends to support the claim:
40% of customers are more likely to spend more than they had planned when shopping experiences are highly personalized for them. (Boston Consulting Group)
93% of customers are likely to repeat purchases with brands that offer excellent customer service. (HubSpot Research)
$35.3B/year is what US businesses lose in customer churn caused by CX issues that can be avoided. (CallMiner)
In the Holiday Recap 2018, Adobe Analytics revealed that 80% of shoppers used a mobile phone inside of a brick and mortar store to either compare prices, read product reviews or look up alternative store locations.
In 2022, customers expect nothing but seamless service across all digital channels. By adopting this omnichannel approach, businesses can deliver a smooth and consistent customer experience at all touchpoints, including texts, emails, social media, websites, and apps on a range of devices including smartphones, tablets, and laptops.
Digital customer experience strategies allow businesses to tailor the offer to individual customers. This is where capturing feedback is essential. Gaining insight from the group you’re trying to reach allows you to deliver products and services personalized to their individual needs
53% of U.S. adults are likely to abandon their online cart if they can’t quickly find what they are looking for. (Forrester)
With more options and information at their fingertips than ever before, customers expect nothing less than easy, fast, and smooth purchasing experiences. In 2022, customers will readily turn to digital channels to find answers to their questions.
By employing AI-powered chatbots and digital contact centers, businesses can:
Stand out from the competition
Improve customer retention
Increase their customer lifetime value (CLV)
To allow brands and companies to engage with customers on any device and format, teams need to adopt technological solutions that deliver omnichannel experiences at any needed scale, without restrictions such as templates, devices, or pre-defined technologies.
A Headless Content Management system (CMS) can deliver content as data to any platform or device via API.
The term “headless” means that the content repository or “body” is separated from the presentation layer or frontend, also known as the “head”.
Thanks to this feature, a headless ecosystem makes content accessible to any platform via an API.
For comparison, in traditional CMS like WordPress, content is restricted to a specific landing page or blog post — effectively rendering on one frontend.
A Headless CMS, on the other hand, contains all the content — text, images, video, files, etc. in a single structured database. This way development teams can distribute them to any digital frontend from a single source.
By taking a headless approach to eCommerce, businesses can develop an architecture that allows them to build a powerful backend that will grow with them over time.
In return, Headless Commerce allows companies to:
Build faster websites
Achieve easier omnichannel presence
Control individual parts of the architecture
Seamlessly integrate with other tools and services
Future-proof their tech stack
Adding a content management system such as Hygraph allows the marketing organizations to exercise more control over the content on the site, and even quickly create marketing campaigns without hiring developers.
Quality of DataAnchor
In addition to using a Headless CMS, brands have a huge opportunity to improve their DCX by acting on insights from experience data (X-data).
X-data like Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) and Customer Effort Score (CES) is valuable information about user experiences that helps companies understand the human factors behind certain behaviors.
Operational data (O-data), on the other hand, tells how customers interact with a brand.
When combined, these two types of data become essential tools that help businesses design and deliver personalized offers that boost customer experience.
Ensuring the quality of data starts at the source. Companies that work with first-party data need to make sure their data is up to date.
But, gathering data isn’t enough.
It’s also necessary to perform regular data cleaning, which leaves a rich repository of relevant information.
This includes identifying and replacing incomplete, inaccurate, irrelevant, and problematic data. The result should be consistent data sets that are free of errors.
Digital Experience PlatformsAnchor
Digital customer experience management is a powerful game-changer, but it’s also highly complex.
To streamline their efforts and centralize information, businesses should invest in a specialized software platform that makes it easy to analyze data and predict what might happen in the future.
What is a Digital Experience PlatformAnchor
A Digital Experience Platform (DXP) is a set of services that together help build a digital experience and distribute the essential information to a range of stakeholders who use the platform.
The idea behind the DXP is that all the services that are needed to build a digital product experience should be linked together. At the same time, there is a wide variety of digital products that customers find relevant.
DXPs allow teams to build websites, mobile applications, e-shops, and Internet of Things (IoT) applications.
When all these services are brought together under one roof, businesses benefit from more efficient workflows and a more continuous stream of content.
Build Your DXPAnchor
Traditionally, DXPs have had a “fullstack” monolith architecture that allows businesses to digitize their business goals, marketing efforts, analytics, and content management.
However, with the emergence of Headless CMS and API-driven approaches and the omnichannel content distribution, there has been a rise of microservices-based DXPs.
Instead of one monolithic software suite, we now have a suite of products that work in harmony.
BuildYourDXP aims to index these micro-services that can be used together to form a DXP.
The tools and services in this compilation must be able to:
Integrate with one another
Be independent of one another
Provide an API
Be Independently scalable
Not be a monolithic DXP itself
Be a cloud-based SaaS solution
To ensure that services are up to date, the BuildYourDXP project is completely open-source, with edits and additions welcome.
Where to Start with Improving your Digital CXAnchor
It’s difficult to point out a one-size-fits-all approach to expanding a digital customer experience strategy. As every customer is an individual, your approach will depend on your target audience.
Consistency is one of the key goals in improving the digital customer experience. Technology systems that are put together piece by piece, make it difficult to deliver the seamless experience that customers expect.
To achieve a consistent digital CX, businesses often use digital experience platforms that are specifically developed to break apart stacks of data for more unified management.
Digital Customer Experience Best PracticesAnchor
Here are the best practices every online business should incorporate in their digital customer experience management program to see returning customers.
Make Customer Experience a PriorityAnchor
A customer who walks away with a positive experience is more likely to become a repeat and loyal customer, and may even recommend and promote your business in different ways. This is why great customer experience needs to be a priority.
Get to know your customer. Learn who they are and what they expect from your relationship. If you understand what they are looking for, you have much better chances to be able to give it to them.
Collect Customer FeedbackAnchor
When Bain & Company asked more than 350 companies about their CX, 80% answered they deliver a great customer experience. However, when the poll was extended to customers, only 8% agreed that they receive a great customer experience.
The moral of the story is that believing is one thing, but your customers have the final say.
Feedback is an important part of your digital experience efforts, but it’s also important that the feedback process is simple and convenient.
There are different methods for capturing feedback, like surveys, social media, live chat, dedicated feedback tab, or even a simple star rating interface. The important thing is that your feedback methods meet customers where there are.
Respond to Feedback in a Timely MannerAnchor
While you can treat feedback as useful data, you can also introduce closed-loop feedback. In this case, you’re not only collecting feedback but directly acting on it.
The goal of closing the loop is to improve your customer experience. You can do this by resolving the problem effectively, answering a customer’s question, or even simply acknowledging praise or suggestion.
In any case, acting on customer feedback in a timely manner is a personal way of demonstrating that their feedback is important and that you care about the outcome.
Apart from preventing unhappy customers to leave, closed-loop feedback can also help you turn neutral customers into brand promoters.
Invest in PersonalizationAnchor
Personalization can take your customer experience to a whole new level. When their experience is personalized, customers feel like they matter to your brand.
80% of customers are more likely to make a purchase when brands offer personalized experiences. (Epsilon)
On the other end, a personalized approach allows your brand to deliver the right content at the right time, to the right person.
Not every shopping decision is a rational one, as our emotions often kick in, too.
Just as emotions are personal to us, that personal connection is something that DCX-savvy brands leverage through contextual marketing to convert first-time shoppers into returning customers.
Data is the key to personalized CX. It can tell you who your customers are, what their interests are at a particular moment, and when, or where they have engaged with your brand.
Once you get to know your customers, you can start trying to meet their needs and even predict what their needs might be at a particular touchpoint in the future.
Deliver a Consistent Experience Across all TouchpointsAnchor
Finally, you should aim to level the playing field across all your digital touchpoints. Research from Deloitte shows that 90 percent of customers expect a consistently excellent experience across all digital touchpoints.
Customers shouldn’t be hunting for content. Content should be available at whichever touchpoint a customer chooses to interact with the brand.
Don’t think of content in terms of deliverables, like manuals, user guides, pages, etc. Instead, create componentized content you can reuse across multiple deliverables.
Adopt content creation tools that help authors, editors, and other content contributors create content that has consistent structure and terminology.
Finally, semantically tag all product content, no matter which department created it, using a unified taxonomy. This results in semantically rich content that can be automatically delivered to those who need it.
Digital customer experience is the new ocean that needs to be mapped, with a rich bounty awaiting those who learn the ropes.
The API-based platforms and different ways to engage customers are to increase in the years ahead, making CX transformation to digital the number one agenda for businesses that want to live the other day.
Begin your transformation on time. Check out BuildYourDXP and choose the best micro-services for building your custom digital experience platform.