In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, as the volume of digital customer interactions with brands continued to soar, a survey of 100 global enterprises set out to find the challenges facing their customer experience (CX) strategies and how they were working to overcome them. Specifically targeting CX and data-focused leaders from organisations in North America, Europe and Australia, the study’s authors recognised the business landscape had changed forever and it was more important than ever for companies to provide customers with world-class experiences.
Among many findings, one statistic stood out - 54% of CX leaders agreed that legacy systems were holding them back from achieving their CX goals. While customers have rushed to embrace the new digital reality, it is clear many businesses are behind the eight-ball in terms of rolling out the technology to meet their wants and needs.
Where ‘digital’ was once synonymous with desktop websites, consumers are now just as likely to do their shopping while sitting on a bus with a phone in their hand. Indeed, global mobile app and tablet internet usage exceeded desktop use for the first time in 2016 and even when they are standing in a bricks-and-mortar store, more than 80% of consumers will still turn to mobile to help make a product decision.
Amid such generational change, it goes without saying that digital is where today’s businesses need to focus their customer experience efforts and, to be fair, most companies are doing just that. The global digital transformation market is projected to more than double from $470 billion in 2020 to $1,009 billion by 2025, with research finding that 70% of organisations have a digital transformation strategy or are working on one. That said, many brands continue to deliver suboptimal digital experiences and are missing the chance to offer memorable customer journeys, gain critical consumer insights and maximise sales.
In a bid to help address such concerns, this article will break down CX and digital transformation, explore how companies are ensuring they have enough resources to thrive in digital and reveal how specific software and platforms can help.
What is digital CX?
Digital customer experience refers to how customers perceive a brand based on the accumulated interactions they have across its digital platforms. From social media channels and live chat to navigating websites and mobile apps, consumers expect seamless and personalised engagements across their entire customer journey, which can be challenging for businesses given the number of digital channels now available.
Shoppers not only switch between platforms and channels multiple times during a single journey but they do so at speed. Vital steps such as awareness, consideration and purchases happen on various channels and at different times of the day and night, creating a complex journey for businesses to cater for. However, the customer does not consider it complex – they are simply doing what the modern consumer does and going where their journey takes them.
The lesson for business owners? Delivering a quality digital customer experience is not as simple as setting up various digital channels and making sure they work well. It requires an omnichannel mindset that eliminates internal silos to ensure customer experiences are seamless and cohesive across channels and platforms. It is all about knowing the digital touchpoints a business shares with its customers and doing everything possible to improve the experience they have with and in between those touchpoints.
What is a digital CX strategy?
Just as a CX strategy outlines an organisation’s plans to provide positive experiences along the customer journey and purposeful ways to measure them, a digital CX strategy focuses on the identification and improvement of digital touchpoints on such journeys. The aim is to create meaningful and quality digital experiences to improve customer loyalty and foster positive word of mouth, with a recent Forbes Insight Report finding that 74% of consumers are likely to buy from a company based entirely on their experience – regardless of the price or product.
How do you ensure you have enough resources to achieve digital CX success?
The ability to develop and deploy a successful digital CX strategy relies on having the right building blocks in place. The bigger the organisation, the more important it is to nurture the perfect blend of good people and strong data to ensure the company’s leaders are aware of the need to provide enough resources to thrive in the digital age.
Employ digital-first teams: a digital customer experience can live and die by the mindset of the people charged with delivering it. This does not just mean customer-facing employees but rather creating a workplace environment where everyone across the organisation is committed to being digital-first and customer-centric. A visible commitment from the CEO, executive and middle managers will help create the excitement and enthusiasm necessary for a successful digital transformation. Look to recruit and promote people with a thirst for digital innovation and with an iron-clad commitment to doing what it takes to make customers happy.
Use data to drive decisions: it is not enough to rely on a single data point to understand a customer’s story. One sale or social profile is just that – one moment in time – and focusing on single characteristics, actions or transactions will never capture the full picture. The key to delivering exceptional digital CX is to shine at every interaction a customer has with your organisation. That means investing in technology and data-driven learnings that allow employees to better understand a customer’s journey, history and touchpoints even before they are interacting with them. This may include using Net Promoter Scores (NPS) or Customer Satisfaction Scores (CSAT) or deploying social media management tools that connect customers’ digital footprints with your own CRM.
Seek customer feedback: the old saying goes that ‘the customer is always right’ and what better way to prove you believe that than by asking them what they want from a digital CX? The capacity to present executives with black-and-white examples of what customers think of an organisation’s digital efforts cannot be understated. From seeking feedback immediately after digital interactions such as live chat to commissioning regular surveys, customer-led insights are a great way to identify and overcome digital pain points such as navigation issues. When acted upon, they also reinforce to customers that you care enough about them to act on their feedback.
Partner with tech leaders: with digital innovation at the heart of so much of the modern customer experience, it is essential for organisations to be supported by the latest technologies. The landscape is changing so quickly these days that some of the digital CX tools that were considered cutting-edge yesterday are likely to be mainstream tomorrow. Take the time to identify and build relationships with tech leaders that are not only offering best-in-practice tools today but are committed to enhancing and even reinventing them for future users. Talent and technology are ultimately the key drivers for exceptional digital CX and sourcing the latter ahead of competitors will help one’s organisation thrive.
Case Study - how software solutions can improve digital CX
In a year when many companies are increasingly feeling budget pressures, it is reassuring to know not all digital CX tools require the need for extensive IT projects, resources and big budgets. One example relates to the world of contact centres and a sophisticated solution that is helping operators of all sizes run more efficiently at the same time as improving customer experience by delivering faster resolutions.
Driven by the most advanced AI-powered speech recognition technology, Oration by Convai tackles one of the most common contact centre pain points by understanding the nature of a call and how to deal with it using a caller’s natural verbal response. While traditional call routing systems often result in extended call handling times and poor overall experiences, Oration uses the latest speech recognition technology alongside Convai’s AI language interpreter to determine caller intent and fast-track calls to the most appropriate outcome.
It has also been designed to be implemented over the top of existing technology infrastructure, meaning contact centres can start reaping its benefits within a matter of hours and without needing to employ a tech expert to make it happen. Having already processed more than 15 million conversations, Oration is just one example of how digital innovation and intervention is helping companies improve customer experience.
Digital has been a game-changer for the customer experience sector but the exciting news is this is just the beginning. There is no doubt the number of platforms and ways to engage customers via technological innovation is going to increase in coming years, which is why digital CX strategies need to be at the forefront of executive thinking. There has never been a more important time for organisations to dedicate resources to enhancing digital CX but reassuringly there have also never been more quality providers looking to show them how.
While companies have rushed to embrace omnichannel strategies in recent years, the reality is many business leaders fail to understand the difference between omnichannel and multichannel. Discover what sets the two concepts apart and which will help your organisation find the success it is looking for.