Great customer experience might be the key brand differentiator for customers, but without a digital customer experience strategy in place, you won’t get anywhere fast.
But if you’re wondering how to develop a strategy for yourself, we’ve got you covered. We’ve gathered five simple tactics to help you get started.
With these tactics in place, your strategy is going to see some concrete results - from increased conversion to improved customer satisfaction. Let’s get started by covering some of the basics.
A digital customer experience strategy is a sequence of tactics you use to provide your online customers with the best experiences possible.
While not every business’s digital strategy will look the same, companies who invest in this area regularly see increased profits and growth.
For example, research shows that businesses who’ve adopted an omnichannel customer experience have seen a year-on-year growth of 10%. What’s more, they’ve also seen a 10% increase in order value, and even a 25% increase in close rates.
The reason why these kinds of strategies deliver such value to businesses is simple.
By offering their customers convenient and personalised experiences that are devoid of friction or obstacles, these businesses are keeping their customers happy.
In turn, they’re customers are more likely to remain loyal - a lifeblood to any business.
Nevertheless, as Clare Muscutt says: ‘Building a good customer experience does not happen by accident. It happens by design.’ Let’s take a look at how that design might look for your business.
Here are five simple tactics you can use to create your own digital customer experience strategy.
Take note of the tactics you might already be using, and question how you could adopt some new ideas to really whip your strategy into shape.
You might think it sounds obvious, but if you’re designing a digital customer experience strategy without an end goal in mind, how will you ever know if your strategy is working?
Defining a goal for your strategy is also an important tactic to consider when planning your next move. For instance, if your overall objective is to boost conversions from your website, the next tactics you employ will be ideally designed around that specific goal.
To define your own goal, take some time with your team to discuss what improvements you are trying to make to your business.
While offering the best customer experience possible is admirable, your tactics and strategy will feel all the more manageable with a more concrete objective.
Take our previous example of increasing conversions. It’s a clearly defined objective with a built in metric that’s ready to measure. All you need to do next is develop a timeframe for your digital customer experience strategy to play out.
For best results, the Harvard Business Review recommends giving your strategic plans a year or so to play out. Any longer, and your goals may become too vague and impressionistic.
A full year will give you the time you need to employ and test your tactics, making sure your strategy is working as planned.
With a worrying 49% of organisations only spending one day a month to review their strategies, setting yourself a goal and constantly measuring it is a great way to improve on your competitors.
Researching who your customers really are is one of the most crucial steps you can take when you’re first creating your digital customer experience strategy.
Without a good idea of which audience you’re targeting, you’re all the more likely to miss the mark.
In contrast, businesses that do invest in their audience targeting see some amazing results.
In fact, 93% of companies who exceed their revenue goals use tactics like buyer personas as part of their business strategies.
It’s proof that learning who your customers are is not only the smart choice, but a profitable one too.
Researching and understanding your customer base is also incredibly useful from a marketing perspective too.
This is because understanding your true audience will allow you to personalise your output around different demographics.
It’s a practice with proven results: companies that use research-based marketing personas were able to make their websites 2-5 times more effective and easier to use.
So, start asking your customers questions, and you’ll discover which obstacles and barriers are disturbing the current customer experience.
From there, you can make much needed improvements, while also personalising your interactions around your true target audience.
Once you’ve got a good idea of who your target audience is, the next tactic you want to adopt for your digital customer experience strategy is simplifying their experience overall.
This is done by considering every touchpoint they encounter on their digital journey.
Your website should be easy to navigate and designed intuitively, based on your customer research.
If you’re an ecommerce business, for instance, you could start by streamlining your checkout journey. It’ll decrease your shopping cart abandonment rates, as well as improve your current customer experience.
You could also make sure to take a look at your branding across all your channels.
For instance, if you want to get the most out of social media, you’ll want customers to recognise your company wherever they interact with you.
Even mismatching logos can confuse customers, and if you use social media messaging for customer service, you don’t want to put them off.
Of course, from a broader perspective, simplifying your digital touchpoints will mean different things to different businesses.
Nevertheless, one of the easiest ways any business can simplify the digital customer experience is by adopting an omnichannel approach to online interactions.
Whether your overall goal is to increase sales or to improve your customer service scores, an omnichannel solution and a variety of contact channels will help you become reachable to all your customers - regardless of the channels they prefer to use.
It’ll also demonstrate your flexibility as a business, especially if you adopt a solution which allows contact agents the ability to escalate and transfer between channels.
The very best of these solutions will also enable you to save and display a customer’s history. This will reduce the need to bounce customers between channels, which is a huge digital customer service mistake.
To avoid this, make sure your customer interactions are simple and frictionless by prioritising this tactic within your digital customer experience strategy.
With 43% of customers claiming that they’d pay more for greater convenience, meeting this demand is an essential part of your digital customer experience strategy.
This tactic is closely related to the previous point we’ve covered: if you’ve simplified your digital touchpoints, it’ll make your customers’ online journey all the more convenient.
However, for maximum impact, you’ll want to make sure you offer convenience throughout the entirety of the digital customer experience too.
For example, if you’re an ecommerce store selling a wide variety of clothing, some of your customers might be interested in your models' entire outfits, not just one particular item.
This is why more and more retailers are offering the option to ‘view the outfit’ on their websites. The convenience these sites offer their customers makes them all the more likely to convert.
Convenience is the real reason why personalisation is such an important factor of the customer experience too.
In fact, the brands with the best track records for customer engagement prove this through their use of algorithms and convenient, personalised recommendations.
Take Netflix and Spotify, for example. Both are world-leading within their industries, and both supply their users with personalised recommendations whenever they log in.
It means the digital customer experience is tailored to the user in the form of a frictionless customer journey.
To get started offering maximum convenience to your customers, take a step back from your site or app and consider what problems you could anticipate and solve for your customers.
For instance, if you sell and ship products to physical addresses, you should be offering a guest checkout option for maximum convenience. You should also consider different delivery and payment providers for the same reason.
You could even adopt some website engagement tools to analyse your customers’ behaviour.
However you decide to offer convenience, make it an essential tactic within your digital customer experience strategy.
Not only will it reduce customer tension, it’ll also help your customers feel valued and appreciated.
When it comes to creating a sustainable digital customer experience strategy, this last tactic is a little left field.
Nevertheless, if you want to make sure you’re offering your customers a positive, memorable experience, one of your main aspirations as a brand should be delivering experiences that lead to your customers sharing positive stories.
Let’s look at an example to illustrate.
Customer service expert Mark Sanborn often closes his public speaking events with a story about a client of his.
The story concerns the president of a bank whose car broke down on the way to a meeting.
The short version of the story goes as follows: after calling up a local car dealership for help, the dealership manager arrived at the breakdown, greeting the client with coffee.
The manager then assisted the bank president free of charge, offering her a loan car so she could get to her meeting.
While in said meeting, the dealership manager repaired her car, washed it, and returned it - again, all free of charge.
That company was Buyers Import of Columbus, Ohio, and despite not spending on marketing, that story has gone on to be heard by hundreds of thousands of people - whether through Mark’s lectures, his YouTube channel, or his writing.
The reason that it’s been repeated to so many people is simple: it’s a great example of how a business can go the extra mile to offer an amazing customer experience.
Of course, you can’t reasonably offer this kind of experience to every customer - especially the customers you’re serving online.
That said, if you and your team always aim to make your customers happy enough to share great stories with others, you’ll be capping off a digital customer experience strategy that’s worth its weight in gold.
So ask yourself and your team: how can your business set yourself apart? How can you give your customers an experience they won’t forget?
For example, could you excite your customers with a free gift or giveaway? What about a behind the scenes look at how your business runs, with a sneak peek at your latest products?
You could even delight your online customers with on demand video chat, giving them the same sterling customer service that they’d receive in store.
To effectively evaluate your digital customer experience strategy, the most obvious step is returning to our very first tactic.
However, whatever objectives you aimed to achieve, it’s also a great idea to touch base with your customers once again.
After all, it’s this group that you’re trying to please the most.
So, whether you use informal conversation or surveys and CSAT scores, remember to always keep in the loop with your customers, as well as checking your metrics.
Not only will it help you understand where your strategy is going right or wrong, it’ll also remind you of who you’re really there to serve.
Which tactics will you adopt for your digital customer experience strategy? Let us know in the comments below!
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