In our world of many digital delights and enhanced availability of technology, what is the digital customer experience and can it be used as our primary area of focus when ensuring a positive customer journey?
If we consider that digital customer experience is a series of actions and interactions that can occur in the digital space, the journey can still be completed by an offline interaction, which would insist that it’s not something in and of itself. Customers do not exist and interact only in the digital space, so digital customer experience shouldn’t be separated from customer experience as a whole, as it is simply one component of a much larger picture.
Using data and digital customer insights, we are able to fine tune and enhance an online experience as much as possible, but it might be to our undoing if this is the only area of focus for our efforts. We are not yet living in an age where 100% of all customer interactions take place online, and although the instances of this are constantly on the rise, we do still need to consider digital customer experience as only one element of the work.
Still, in a time where systems move increasingly faster and expectations are growing progressively higher, digital needs to work hard to meet these needs and requirements and so do businesses. Data, innovation, streamlined user journeys and reliable systems are only a percentage of the pie, but that percentage grows with daily uptake of technology by the customers themselves and it would be wise to grow with it.
Customer Experience – Offline And Online
Throughout the experience, there are many digital points of contact that the customer will make. While digital can often drive the initial interaction via social media, paid advertising or some form of content, it can be a completely offline transaction that takes place as the final conversion. Both need to be considered when refining a customer journey that results in a positive experience.
It is here where we see the defined lines between online and offline experiences merging into one unified experience as the customer goes about acquiring whatever it is that they need.
What The Customer Thinks…
When considering digital customer experience on its own, there are a number of ways we can gain insight into what works as we can access the data to back it up. Extensive customer insights, AB testing, opinion polls, customer reviews and a whole host of digital information can lead us to understanding how our customers expect to be treated. We know that customers are using digital more and more to fill in the gaps of their entire experience, whether it be by making enquiries on social media about product availability, or by using an online article to do some research into a service. Smartphone use, the use of multiple online channels, the availability of online information… it’s all pointing towards customers spending an increased amount of time in the digital space and expecting quick reactions through digital availability.
Even though they’re spending more time online, most customers don’t seem to care or aren’t even aware that there is such a thing as a customer journey or experience, and they certainly don’t divide it up into digital and non. They are simply trying to execute on solving a problem as quickly as they can, and this can involve multiple touch points across the board. Their entire experience might be very quick and painless and seem like there is little thought or foresight involved, so it’s up to the business to ensure that a customer journey has been mapped out and that this results in a positive customer experience. With the customer’s primary concern being to wrap up their interaction as quickly as possible, enhancing and streamlining the digital component of customer experience is a quick win in gaining their respect, loyalty and future business.