It should come as no surprise that in the age of Amazon, online customers are less patient and have high expectations. However, as technology becomes an integral part of all businesses, owners and managers will need to be creative as they deliver the same quality of service online. The benefits of a delightful digital experience extend beyond customer satisfaction and can lead to saving money and efficiency.
The research solidifies the importance of digital customer experience. McKinsey and Company, a top management consulting firm, performed a study that concluded by digitizing customer service, customer satisfaction can be increased by 33%, and costs could be reduced by 25 - 35%. According to Gartner, 81% of executives believe that in the future, they’ll compete solely on customer experience; however, only 22% have claimed to have developed an experience that exceeds customer expectations.
According to the Harvard Business Review, and everyone else, the customer experience is defined as the quality of all of a consumer’s encounters with a company’s products, services, and brand. Digital customer experiences include everything that is experienced through a digital medium, including wearables, mobile, tablets, laptops, and computers. These experiences extend beyond just the devices we use; they include how we search for products and services, checkouts, notifications, and 3rd party vendors. When it comes to digital, there are a significant amount of variables that need to be carefully considered because of their impact on the bottom line.
Too often, business leaders consider the digital customer experience to be something outside of the overall customer experience; this isn’t true. Designing amazing digital experiences require managers to understand the interrelatedness of the physical and the digital. Often, this requires an organizational redesign.
As a leader, there are several key factors to consider as you embark on developing the digital customer experience. In developing these experiences, we suggest focusing on three essential concepts: Consistency, Customized Experiences, and Integration Chatbots and AI.
The Problem: Is there conformity throughout the customer experience? Put differently, does the experience meet the expectations and norms provided by other digital interactions. Consistency goes beyond inputting information and extends to visual experiences as well.
Issues with consistency can stem from having different off the shelf software that does not integrate well with each other software, or databases that don’t communicate. For many leaders, when determining online strategy, the issue of internal data management or software communication is not considered. The result extends beyond customer frustrations and can have a significant impact on employees as they become frustrated by having to duplicate their efforts to complete a task. This redundancy is costly in time, costs, and motivation.
The Solution: Start with a clear articulation of the objectives. When approaching the digital strategy, leaders and team members should consider whether the software used will be capable of communicating. Most companies can hire a developer to build these integrations, but the project manager must understand the internal communication objectives to guide the developers properly and to prevent costly design slippage.
We experience customization daily as a result of the growth and analysis of available data. From Youtube to Amazon, we have custom suggestions that predict what we will be interested in and that improve engagement with content and products. But you don’t need to be a data giant to develop custom experiences that will wow your customers.
To develop customized experiences, think through the customer experience as if you were the customer; what would improve your experience? What are the frustrations you would experience, or feel were redundant or a waste of time? Some companies also use surveys to help gather valuable information from their customers. Customer information is also collected through conversations in a physical setting.
The objective is simplicity and predictability. We suggest using visualizations on a whiteboard or paper to make a roadmap of the experience, articulating each interaction as you design the process. Focus on minimizing the number of steps and inputs wherever possible. It is suggested to utilize information wherever possible; this means using existing customer information to populate forms and to learn about the customer.
Chatbots and AI
Chatbots and AI can significantly improve digital experiences. Filipino communications giant Globe Telecom developed and deployed a chatbot on Facebook. As a result, customer satisfaction increased by 22%, and employee productivity increased by 3.5x.
Similar to custom experiences, utilizing chatbots requires a thorough understanding of the customer and the ability to predict their questions and thoughts. Leaders and team members should understand that chatbots are an excellent means for helping customers to answer questions and to deliver information. Chatbots improve customer experience, save time, and help with data collection for improving later experiences.
Deploying chatbots and developing artificial intelligence is more accessible than most people think. There are plenty of Chatbot companies that are easily integrated across many platforms, including Facebook, Whatsapp, text message, and your website. Most of these platforms charge a reasonable monthly fee and have simple user interfaces to support the development of robotic communication.