Home Blog Customer experience What is digital customer experience? A complete guide

What is digital customer experience? A complete guide

In our ever-connected world where unhappy customers can air their grievances at a moment’s notice (side note: customers tell an average of nine people about a positive experience, but 16 people about a negative experience), it’s crucial to get every last part of the customer experience just so – and that includes your digital efforts.

But what exactly does a digital customer experience encompass, and what role does it have to play in your overarching CX strategy? In this complete guide to digital CX, we’ll lift the lid on just how much your business can prosper by delivering a great digital customer experience. By treating your customer as humans – online and offline, you can understand their full story, and deliver an exceptional customer experience.

What is digital customer experience?

Customer experience is critical to company success, and because an ever-growing proportion of business is conducted online these days, your digital experience is an important one to get right. But what exactly is digital CX?

In short, it amalgamates every online interaction a customer has with your brand – from your mobile app to your company website; your social media presence to your chat bots. If it concerns your brand, your customers and any form virtual interaction, it’s a digital customer experience; the most crucial part of which is the perception your customers are left with after they’ve dealt with your brand online.

If your website is difficult to navigate, your social media feed is full of defensive digs, and requesting online support is a fruitless endeavour, your customers won’t be rushing back for more. But if your website is a breeze to operate, you regularly strike up a rapport with customers on your socials, and seeking help is entirely frictionless, people are far more likely to come away feeling happy – and willing to buy from you again.

Every single online interaction compounds into one overarching digital customer experience, so think carefully about what you want each moment in your digital customer journey to say, and how you want to make people feel – because your intentions matter.

The role of digital customer experience in your CX strategy

73% of businesses with above-average customer experience perform better financially than their competitors – and the digital experience you offer your customers has an enormous part to play in setting you apart from the competition.

It’s important to keep in mind (especially when we’re talking in fancy terms) that your customers won’t differentiate between online and offline: they’ll simply see a whole brand experience that adds up to one big customer experience – and they won’t even see that as ‘customer experience’. They’ll simply come away with an impression of your brand that’s either positive, negative, or neutral.

So, while we can talk about how to hone your digital customer experience to great effect, it’s all part of the same thing: customer experience. This bit just happens to be the stuff that your customers encounter online.

We are truly in the age of omnichannel customer engagement (the creation of personalised experiences that pervade all of your channels) – and it’s this approach that will help you to deliver the most memorable customer experiences. So, when you’re thinking about your CX strategy, you need to give just as much thought to how your digital channels perform in terms of customer satisfaction.

How your business can prosper by delivering a positive digital customer experience

Did you know that two-thirds of consumers would be willing to switch brands if a competitor offered a better experience? You spend a great deal of time, money and effort trying to build a loyal customer base, so don’t let your digital customer experience let you down!

You can have the best in-store experience the world has ever seen, but if a customer heads online and feels let down by your website, online ordering system, or even the tone of your social media responses, it’s game over.

Customers don’t differentiate between online and offline when they’re dealing with a brand – all they’re concerned with is making a purchase, enlisting a service, seeking support, or whatever else they’ve come to you in search of. Whether their task is achieved in-person, over the phone or online, it’s all the same to your customers: it’s the experience (and the resolution) that counts.

By delivering a positive digital customer experience, you’re showing customers why you’re worthy of their investment by making them feel happy, excited, contented or relieved; you’re creating feelings of loyalty by providing an encounter that doesn’t leave them running for the door, and you’re crafting a cohesive suite of omnichannel experiences that all tell the same, positive story. In other words, you’re making it possible for your CX strategy to deliver the goods.

How to create a satisfying digital customer experience

Before we get into the nitty gritty of creating a knock-your-socks off digital customer experience, it’s well worth noting that loyal customers are both five times more likely to make a repeat purchase, and four times more likely to refer a friend – so striving for customer loyalty through better CX really is worthy of your time and investment.

Great digital customer experience comes down to three things: if the customer was able to achieve their goal; if the process was straightforward; and if they came away feeling happy, or otherwise contended. Get these things right and you’re onto a winner (don’t worry, we’re about to tell you how).

Standardise

We’ve already talked about the importance of creating an omnichannel experience, but the only way you’re going to see real value from this approach is through standardisation. Each of your digital touchpoints must deliver a coherent and consistently positive experience.

Future-gaze

You need to start thinking long-term when it comes to your DCX – largely because it’s not a ‘one and done’ effort. The digital landscape is constantly evolving, and you must keep up. The ultimate goal here is to create loyal customers – and therefore increase customer lifetime value – so prepare yourself for ongoing improvements.

Resolve

Noting damages a brand quite like a negative customer experience, poorly handled. If a customer has a bad online experience with any aspect of your brand, you need to act quickly. Ignoring or dismissing a customer compliant can be incredibly harmful to your reputation, so take their feedback, learn from it, and use it to strengthen your DCX for the future.

Personalize

There’s big bucks to be had in personalizing online experiences! These days, customers love to feel special; valued; seen, and heard – and what better way to achieve that than with a touch of customization. If you really get to know your customer base and use their data for good (with their permission), you can create a DCX to write home about.

Test

Any digital customer experience strategy worth its salt is tested, tested, and tested again. Follow every point of the customer journey to see what’s working, and what’s not. Any snags at this stage can be quickly ironed out before putting potential customers off for life. After all, one of the most powerful components of your DCX will be seamless issue resolution – so get resolving.

Communicate

If you’re making improvements to your digital customer experience, tell people that. People value transparency, so even if you’ve made mistakes in the past, letting lapsed customers know that you’re taking important steps to make a change might just be enough to tempt them back. Implementing feedback shows that you care, and that’s extremely powerful in business.

Essential practices for creating an industry-leading digital customer experience

These preliminary practices will help you to build a DCX to be proud of.

Get ahead of your DCX

If you want to create a truly cohesive experience for your customers – whether online or offline – you need to root out potential problems before they arise, and correct subpar experiences before they damage the reputation of your brand for good.

Get to know your customers

Understanding your target customers will allow you to tailor your digital customer experience to the people who really matter to the long-term success of your brand. What’s important to them? What are their biggest pain points? What solutions do they want to see to their online woes?

Get familiar with the customer journey

Once you’ve got your target audience pegged, it’s time to map out the customer journey in its entirety so that when it comes to developing a DCX, you know where your online interactions are taking place, how your customers typically respond, and where you can start to personalize those experiences.

Get proactive with your feedback

Customers quickly suss out the brands that don’t really care about what their customers think; if you fail to seek out feedback – or collect feedback only to ignore it, people will quickly come to doubt your sincerity. If you want your DCX to be on point, you need to understand how well it’s performing now and where improvements could be made, and then act on the feedback!

Get connected

Every single interaction that a customer has with your brand needs to add up to one cohesive whole – so you need to go beyond digital alone. The entire customer experience counts, so if your digital strategy has been perfected but the other elements of your customer experience strategy let you down, you’re going to be fighting a losing battle. Cohesion is where it’s at.

Experts of the digital customer experience

Right then, which companies are excelling when it comes to providing a strong digital customer experience? Let’s take a look.

Netflix

Ah Netflix; they seem to top so many of our leader boards – and for good reason (until they tried to stop us sharing passwords, that is). The streaming giant continually collects customer data and uses it to superb effect. With personalized journeys that allow customers to rate shows and have recommendations offered up to them on a viewing platter, their DCX game is strong.

Sephora

As the go-to for makeup lovers, Sephora can teach us all a thing or two about ground-breaking digital customer experience. Their seamless integration of omnichannel experiences is truly revolutionary: by blending virtual try-ons with digital records of the products tested in store (not to mention website and app integration, and great physical store experiences), every Sephora customer has their info to hand, no matter how they interact with the beauty brand.

Chick-fil-A

Chick-fil-A identified a problem, and found a solution. By taking a crowded informational website and turning it into a customer-focused multimedia platform, Chick-fil-A managed to increase engagement, online revenue, and customer loyalty in one. By using customer insights to prioritize functional needs, the company was able to offer personalized access to menu, location and “about” information, along with storytelling content.

How can Forsta help?

Digital customer experience and all-round customer experience go hand-in-hand, so you should probably take a look at our Customer experience survey software.

We’ve already covered just how crucial it is to understand your starting point (and to get a grip on your target customers), and Forsta’s industry-leading software makes the whole process entirely effortless (on your part, that is).

We’ll pull all of your omnichannel data into one place to tell a rather thrilling story, use our advanced analytics to dig out the root cause of any tensions or reputation-damaging snags, automate all of those boring and totally time-consuming tasks, and help you to drive cultural change in your business through cold, hard insights.

Ready to take your digital customer experience to the next level?

Arrange a free demo to learn how Forsta can take you from data to insight to action – without so much as breaking a sweat.\

How does your DCX shape up?

Now that you’ve got the inside track on what makes a great digital customer experience, how do you think yours shapes up? If it leaves a lot to be desired, don’t worry – as long as you act now, and keep those customer communication channels open, it’s not too late to make a change; even a monumental one.

And if you have no idea how you stack up, or how to improve your omnichannel approach, give Forsta a call. We really do know what we’re talking about.

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