How operations leaders can leverage digital customer experience to get ahead

Dhiraj Nallapaneni

10 min read Last Updated Dec 11, 2020

digital customer experience

Every business wants to offer best-in-class customer experience. But that’s tough when customer expectations are changing so drastically. Nowadays, it’s becoming more and more important that businesses across verticals embrace digital experience. 

Those that fail to embrace the new paradigm will find themselves falling hopelessly behind. 

In this guide, we’ll break down the fundamentals of digital customer experience. We’ll also discuss some unique ways you can optimize your digital customer journey.

What is ‘digital customer experience’? 

Customer experience is the sum of all of a customer’s encounters with your brand, from the moment of first discovery. Digital customer experience, on the other hand, is your customers’ interactions with your business online. Everything from researching your business on review sites, to booking an appointment through your website, and even doing a live chat with one of your representatives, falls under the umbrella of digital customer experience. 

Why is digital customer experience important? 

As digital channels increasingly become a more significant part of customers’ everyday lives, they play a larger role in customers’ purchase decisions. As a result, strong digital customer experience is no longer optional. It’s table stakes. 

digital customer experience key areas

The connection between digital transformation and customer experience

Remember, your digital experience doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Making an effort to improve your digital CX should improve your customer experience as a whole. Here’s why.

  • Digital transformation makes your processes more efficient. Offering a better digital customer experience can reduce the amount of work for your team. For example, if your business solely relies on phone and email, then your support team must manually respond to each customer query. On the other hand, using a digital chatbot can help reduce the workload. A chatbot can take care of the simple queries so your employees can spend more time on the complex ones.
  • Digital transformation helps you quickly adapt to emergencies. During the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated lockdowns, many businesses ceased operations entirely to comply with local guidelines. However, businesses that had already taken the initiative to move some of their operations digitally continued to serve customers with little to no friction. There’s a lesson here: No matter what happens in the physical world, digital transformation will allow your business to continue operating as normal. 

Common misconceptions about digital customer experience 

For many businesses, improving digital experience just isn’t very high on the priorities list. Here’s a couple of common misconceptions that cause companies to undervalue the power of digital.

Misconception #1: Digital customer experience only matters for purely digital companies 

Let’s be clear: Digital customer experience isn’t just for tech companies anymore. It’s important to recognize that even if your business offers no digital services, potential customers will inevitably engage with your business online. 

 For example, a potential customer looking for new furniture might use online reviews and the websites of local businesses to ultimately make their purchase decision. If they have questions after making a purchase, they might try to reach out to businesses via website chat. A bad digital customer experience will lead to the customer becoming frustrated and looking elsewhere.

Misconception #2: Digital customer experience only helps with sales and marketing 

Some people think that digital customer experience is only helpful for attracting new customers. The perception is that improving your digital experience means redesigning your website to be sleek and modern, which in turn means increasing the conversion rate ever so slightly. But that’s not the case. 

Digital customer experience can also help you provide better services to existing customers. Since people are spending more time online, they are no longer satisfied with getting customer service from traditional communication mediums like phone calls. Instead, they’re looking for quicker and more seamless ways to get in contact with your business. A study by Econsultancy found that live chat has the highest customer satisfaction of any communication channel. 

How can digital customer experience be improved? 

Here are a few ways to ensure that your business is offering a world-class digital experience.

Map the customer journey 

Customer journey mapping is the process of illustrating the journey the typical customer takes. That means understanding the moment they first become aware of your business through the moment they become a loyal customer advocate. While some of you have probably done this activity already, it’s also important to map the journey from a purely digital perspective. 

customer journey stages

The first step is to try going through your business’s digital journey. Start from the stage when they become aware of your product or service – through all touchpoints and on different devices. This will give you a good understanding of what your customers may be experiencing. See if a potential customer can find all the relevant information they need to contact you. Take note of how easy it is for your customers to reach you, how long it takes, and what the interaction with your agent looks like. 

If you’re interested in getting more data that can help you build these digital customer journey maps, there are tools that can help. Consider getting a web analytics tool like Hotjar. Tools like this show you where customers are clicking the most on your website and can even record real customer sessions. You might notice customers dropping off in certain parts of the journey, which can alert you to issues in your digital customer experience. 

Focus on mobile

Customers are shifting away from traditional desktop browsing. Studies have shown that more than 50% of Internet browsing is through mobile devices. Here are a few ways that you can optimize your digital experience for mobile devices:

  • Check all the web pages that you publish to make sure that they are fully-functional and viewable on mobile devices. 
  • While pop-ups are fine to use, remember that pop-ups that are difficult to exit on mobile devices hurt the digital customer experience. 
  • Make sure that the copy on your website is easy to read on a mobile device. Keep paragraphs short and make sure that your font is at least 14 px.

Offering personalization 

An ideal customer experience in the physical world typically consists of friendly and warm employees who can anticipate needs and give personalized attention. The same concept applies to the digital world, as well. 74% of customers actually say they feel frustrated when a web page isn’t personalized. 

Here are a few ways that you can get started personalizing your digital customer experience. 

  • Segment your customer database based on different demographics. Test out different marketing messages that might resonate better with different groups. For example, married couples with children might respond better to text messages that highlight how your business is family-friendly. 
  • Keep records of previous interactions readily available. Your team should have access to previous conversations through channels like chat, text, and email. That way, a representative can look at the record to follow up and ensure that any previous problems the customer has experienced are resolved. 
  • Set up communications based on past purchase behaviors. By keeping track of previous purchase behaviors, you can send your customers highly-relevant messages. For example, a customer who made a purchase at a retailer’s July 4th sale can receive a text message informing them about the next upcoming holiday sale. 

Offer live chat and chatbot solutions 

Email and phone calls just don’t cut it anymore. Today’s customers expect quick responses to their problems. After all, if your business can’t do it, the competition is just a few clicks away. 

That’s why more and more customers are looking to communicate with businesses via live chat, which makes interacting with businesses easier than ever. All a customer has to do is type a query into the chatbox and automatically connect with a representative.

Don’t have the resources to immediately respond to every customer inquiry? Consider using chatbots. These are automated programs that can be programmed to handle common questions specific to your business. Chatbots can handle simple queries, giving your team more time to handle the more complex questions. 

Use video  

Video is more engaging than text or a static image, and it can make a big impact on a potential customer. A video is a great way to explain your services to potential customers or even send a personalized thank-you note. Aaron Novello, head of the Novello Group in South Florida, sends a personalized video to every new client thanking them for choosing him. 

Video is also an excellent way for your team to connect with customers. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with a phone call, there is the possibility that certain things will get lost in translation when a customer can’t see your representative’s facial expressions. On the other hand, video chats can prevent these kinds of miscommunications.

Reevaluate internal tools 

Your team needs the right tools for success to offer a great customer experience. Relying on unnecessarily complicated platforms make it difficult for your employees to provide quality service to customers. 

One method to determine whether employees are happy with the tools that are currently available is to collect employee feedback. In addition to asking questions about how they feel about their overall experience at the company, ask whether they feel that the tools they are using to communicate with customers are simple. If the answer is no, it might be time to explore other options. 

How to measure digital customer experience 

The first step to managing and improving your brand’s digital customer experience is looking at relevant metrics. Here are 3 metrics that can help you better understand the quality of your digital experience.

User intent 

It’s important to make sure that your web pages align with what customers are looking for. That means paying close attention to the material that’s ranking high in relevant search queries. 

A contractor business might want to develop a webpage around “fixing my roof”. To make a webpage that resonates with customer needs, they should look at the results on the first page of Google search results. Then they can ask a few questions. Do they have videos? Are they how-to guides? What questions are being answered? This will give the business owner a better understanding of what customers want to see when they look at related pages.

Unfortunately, there’s no one metric that shows how well your website is satisfying user intent. However, there are metrics that can help you come up with reasonable guesses. Look at bounce rate, the percentage of page visitors who leave your site,  and time on page, which shows how long customers are looking at your individual web pages. 

Net promoter score 

Net promoter score (NPS) asks how likely customers are to family and friends to recommend your business on a scale of 0-10, with 0 being the lowest option and 10 being the highest. 

You can collect NPS surveys for customers who interact with your business both physically and digitally. If you find that customers who came in through digital channels are unsatisfied, that’s a sign that your website needs improvement.

Touchpoint scores

A touchpoint survey asks customers about specific interactions within a digital customer journey. For example, a customer who books an appointment online might get a survey via email asking how easy that specific experience was. While NPS surveys can gauge the quality of your business’s overall digital experience, touchpoint surveys can help you identify individual areas that require further attention. 

Digital CX in action

Now let’s take some time to look at a business that used digital customer experience to grow revenue, even while their competitors struggled.

digital customer experience infographic

Build a winning customer experience from end-to-end 

Digital experiences are more important than ever. With the right tools and the right feedback, your business can start wowing customers from the moment they first find you on Google. 

Want to know more about how your business can start offering a winning customer experience? Check out our eBook. It contains some tips and tricks that you can’t find anywhere else.

unbeatable CX