As people use more and more digital devices to connect with companies and brands, the need for great digital customer experience is more pressing than ever.
Digital customer experience
What is digital customer experience?
Digital customer experience is the sum of the interactions between brands and customers that takes place on digital interfaces. These may be mobile phone, desktop, tablets, even digital billboards. It is the virtual experience individuals can have with a company.
What are the elements of the digital customer experience? The 4 Is
Integration. First of all, the digital customer experience must be integrated. All the digital and non-digital touchpoints need to be linked and consistent one to another. The customer must experience a seamless and smooth journey.
Innovation. By their own definition, digital channels need to be innovative, continuously updated and re-designed every now and then.
Interaction. Let’s not forget that most of these digital points, may they be apps, websites, desktop or screens, require an active response from customers who have to click, open and scroll to say the very least.
Intuition. The digital experience should work in line with how customers think and behave. Digital channels may be seen as new and complex and for this reason, their interfaces should be as intuitive as possible.
Benefits: Why is digital customer experience important?
The world is shifting towards digitalization. Digital channels are already used to promote, to raise awareness, even to sell and then to manage relationships with customers. A customer journey could start and end digitally. It is imperative to focus on the digital experience individuals go through. In a few years, even the smallest business will realize the importance of digital channels in customer relationships and will want to use them.
Digital customer experience management
Customer experience managers take care of all interactions between the customer and the company. Their main goal is to ensure that the customers’ experience is great at every single touchpoint. Digital customer experience management is even more specific. It’s all about relatively new digital channels where the company’s communication takes place. It could be mobile apps, online advertising, on-site chatboxes, customers have several tools to communicate with brands on digital platforms.
The job of a digital customer experience manager is to coordinate all these channels and ensure the customer digital experience is smooth and consistent. The main areas these managers have to take care of are:
Customer experience digital marketing
Digital customer experience delivery platforms management
Digital customer experience journey mapping
This kind of management requires adaptability and innovation, as communication technologies are continuously changing and so are customers expectations. The most popular digital customer experience trends at the moment revolve around customization. Thanks to the big data and customer experience digital data acquisition itself, companies are trying to deliver personalized digital experiences to customers. Digital customer experience jobs are becoming a real need for most industries and it is easy to understand why: the time has come to give exclusive attention to digital touchpoints.
The digital customer experience strategy
You may be wondering how a customer experience strategy differs from a digital one. A digital customer experience strategy requires companies to think differently about how they interact with customers. It is not just about adding digital tools. But instead about figuring out how these digital channels will be perceived and used by customers. It is all about taking the customer perspective on digital and turning it into a strategy.
The most common areas that can lead you to shape a great digital customer experience strategy are:
Simplicity and ease of use
Trends: What is the future digital customer experience?
Talking about digitalization means talking about continuous innovation and disruption. We can for now just assume what the future direction of the digital customer experience will be.
Omnichannel experience. In the future brick and mortar stores and digital experience will be fully integrated, offering customers a seamless experience.
Mobile experience will be better optimized and polished as the number of mobile phones has already overcome the number of desktops.
Customized experiences will be more and more diffused. Thanks to the digital shift, companies are now able to collect a large number of data regarding their clients. This allows them to better target customers by creating more appealing contents and offers.
AI, artificial intelligence will become an important part of the customer journey as it will probably be the link between online and offline touch points.
Examples of best practice digital customer experience
We selected here some companies who proved to be amazing at handling their customers’ digital experiences, they will surely be a source of inspiration.
Starbucks famous app allows customers to order and pay online for their coffee and to collect points for the famous rewarding system. The coffee brand also created a vast online community thanks to its website where customers’ ideas are continuously collected. Last but not least, Starbucks partnered up with Amazon Alexa making it possible to order coffee by voice and from home. It is a great example of innovative digital experiences well integrated with offline ones.
Burberry. The British company declared back in 2006 its will to become the first fully digital luxury company. And so it did. Thanks to its really smart social marketing campaigns, brilliant e-Commerce website, and online customization options, Burberry makes a great example.
Uber is a clear example of a company completely built on digital customer experience. Its app connects all stakeholders (drivers and customers) seamlessly and features a very intuitive interface, making the product work perfectly.
Digital customer journey
What is a digital customer journey?
The customer journey is made of all the experiences a customer go through during her interaction with a company. The customer journey depends greatly on the different touch points that firms offer to their customers. It is then easy to understand that nowadays, a great part of this journey takes place online, on websites and mobile apps. The digital customer experience is that part of the customer journey taking place exclusively on digital channels.
How to map a digital customer journey
We offer here a brief agenda to follow for mapping a consistent digital customer journey:
Outline customers’ needs and expectations
Define the stages your customers will go through during the journey
Align all your touch points in order to be at the right place at the right time of the customer journey
Integrate all touchpoints and render the whole experience smooth.
Best practices in digital customer journey
Before mapping out a strategy it’s quite important to also take into consideration other aspects. It is crucial t first consider customers’ characteristics and habits. This way it’s possible to target them on the right digital channels instead of wasting time. Then it is vital to design appealing interfaces that must be usable, easy to use and great to look at.
These are general rules, of course, depends much on the type of business and on the customers’ demographics. The customer journey is at the core of the customer-centric vision. Per definition, this means putting the customer first and then building the strategy around her.
The Digital B2B customer experience
Customer experience is known mostly for business to consumers. What about business to business industries? As customer-centricity becomes of great interest also in B2B, so does digital customer experience.
Digital channels are becoming (are already) important tools to gain competitive advantage and defeat global competition. Managers must give their customers the best digital experience possible.
Digital customer experience conference
Although digital experience is a relatively new topic, conferences about it are already spreading.