The digital customer reality is upon us. Over the past few years, there has been the emergence of “mobile-only” customers who prefer digital and mobile tools. The line between the online and offline worlds continues to blur more every day with mobile banking and tools, virtual customer service, and robust shopping experiences. It’s nearly impossible to serve customers without employing digital channels.
This was originally posted as an article in the Customer Strategist Journal.
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The promise of an effective digital customer experience strategy (DX) is enticing to many companies, but the reality is that many are immature when it comes to digital customer experience strategy. A digital experience strategy requires brands to think differently about their customer engagement approach and identify how digital fits into the overall customer experience and customer experience journey. Simply adding digital tools on top of marketing, sales, or service interactions is not sufficient. On their own, they do not take into account the customer perspective, and in some cases will add unwanted complexity to the business.
A holistic digital customer experience journey requires a defined customer experience strategy
By incorporating digital cx strategy into a holistic customer journey strategy, companies move closer to a frictionless, omnichannel customer experience. With a frictionless experience, a customer can meet his need or solve his problem completely effortlessly in any channel, without having to jump through hoops or overcome obstacles. Obstacles are friction. No one has time for obstacles, digital or otherwise.
Our digital consulting team has found that digital cx excellence, from a customer perspective, is directly linked to the extent to which companies excel in six key areas:
1. Channel Flexibility
- Ability to seamlessly switch between channels without losing the context
- Consistency of information across all channels
- Ability to save and display a customer's history
- Existence and reliability of preferred channels
3. Service Convenience
- Clear and up-to-date information
- Ability to ask for quick and live support
- Ability to get end-to-end support
4. Purchase Convenience
- Ability to conduct end-to-end transactions
- Availability of subscription to new products and services
- Clear and up-to-date information
5. Simplicity and ease of use
- Intuitive design
- Simple and guided journeys
- Simplicity of navigation
- Context customisation
- Recognition of each customer as an individual
- Ability to meet customers' preferences automatically
Delving deeper into each of the six areas, a DX maturity spectrum emerges to show how well-positioned a company’s digital customer experience strategy actually is. There are several levels of maturity through which a company moves before achieving the goal: a frictionless and highly competitive digital customer experience. We have developed a concrete digital experience maturity assessment framework, based on the six key areas, aimed to help a company better position their actual DX performance delivered to customers through digital touchpoints. A firm moves from being available to consumers on digital channels to caring, engaging, and finally driving a preferred digital lifestyle.
There are a number of ways to measure a company’s DX maturity. Reachability is assessed by measuring the existence and reliability of a customer’s preferred channel, plus consumer awareness and attractiveness. Service convenience measures how easy it is for consumers to be fully served digitally. Purchase convenience matches the service convenience metrics, along with how seamless the digital transaction process is. Personalisation is measured based on recognition of customers as individuals. Simplicity assesses digital navigation and timeliness. And channel flexibility tracks how seamless it is for customers to switch channels.
Knowing where you are on the DX maturity ladder is very important to customer experience strategy. It is imperative to optimise digital interfaces and integrate them with other channels to create a truly omnichannel environment for customers. Not only will it provide a improved customer experience, it will optimise your operations to allow greater efficiencies and save costs.
What customer experience strategy can be implemented to improve DX maturity?
There are a number of ways a company can move up the DX maturity ladder to better meet customer expectations. From a strategic perspective, digital customer experience management must become an executive priority and align with the larger corporate strategy in order to facilitate real improvements. From there, clear channel roles and responsibilities must be defined, along with how to migrate activities from traditional to digital channels.
Organisationally, we recommend creating a dedicated digital team who defines alignment and synergies with other relevant business units—marketing, sales, customer care services, and other channels. The team must develop KPIs to drive organisation and cultural mindset toward digital transformation and CX experience, and streamline operations to create efficiencies and eliminate redundancies. Where possible, automate current processes and design new ones with a customer focus.
And of course, measuring performance with CX analytics is imperative. Use digital and social analytics such as Web stats, digital affinity, and micro-segmentation to track progress. Right-time analytics including churn prediction, and cross-sell/up-sell propensity will also allow companies to make the most of their DX activities. Effective omnichannel solutions must include a 360-degree view of customer interactions across all channels (digital interactions and traditional) to monitor channel preference, usage, and customer journeys from the customer perspective. Much of this analysis can now occur in real time, via customer insights platforms, giving executives actionable insight at the right moment. Digital tools like search engine optimisation (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM), community management, web, mobile app, social media, and digital advertising must be leveraged. And the design of any new DX program must be customer-centric and fit into the current customer journey.
Customer experience strategy: Putting it all together and next steps to improve digital CX
The concept of “digital” is on the minds of most business leaders, and effective digital customer experience management is crucial to accelerate your organisations digital transformation. As they make decisions about where to invest for the future, it’s imperative to look at digital CX strategy through the customer experience lens. Digital experiences are becoming the primary type of experience for most customers. Companies that can determine their organisation’s maturity and implement a long-term customer experience plan will have an advantage over the competition. TTEC's CX consulting team can provide customer experience digital services to help you measure your current digital customer experience maturity level and roadmap a strategy for improvement.