In today's digital age, no business is complete without a website or an app. In fact, 65% of consumers said their experience on a website or app is "very important" in their decision to recommend a brand.

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But, it's not enough to simply launch a site and call it a day. You need to create a customer experience that's engaging, user-friendly, and delightful. By optimizing these digital steps in the customer journey, you'll improve your ability to attract and retain customers.

In this post, let's review everything you need to know about digital customer experiences, including what they are and how you should manage them. Then, we'll wrap up by highlighting some digital trends that your team should be considering this year.

Digital Customer Experience

Digital customer experience refers to the customer's perception of your website or app. It accounts for all interactions that occur on these channels as well as how they affect the customer journey. As business continues to shift into a digital landscape, these touchpoints are playing a larger role in how companies are perceived by customers.

To create a delightful digital experience, your website or app should meet the needs and expectations of your target audience. Leads should be able to navigate through your content and understand why they should purchase your product or service. Returning customers should have access to customer success and support features that are built right into the user interface. This will create an ongoing experience that nurtures customers through each stage of your flywheel.

Now that we've introduced you to digital customer experiences, let's review some best practices you can use to optimize them at your company.

Digital Customer Experience: Best Practices

1. Pay attention to mobile experiences.

Whether you have a detailed website or a handy app, it's important to focus on mobile experiences. After all, 82% of customers use mobile devices to make a product decision.

That's because smartphones allow customers to compare companies while they shop. They can see how your brand stacks up against your competitors before they make a purchase. If your website or app doesn't seem to fit their needs, chances are your products won't either.

When designing your digital customer experience, make sure it's mobile responsive. That means when it's displayed on a tablet or phone, the interface automatically adjusts to the smaller screen. This dramatically affects the user experience and makes it much easier to navigate through your content.

2. Adopt analytics.

Like any other part of your business, you should be actively looking for new ways to improve your website or app. Fortunately, that's easier to do if you have reporting tools that monitor your digital customer experience.

This software tracks the features and pages that customers use most and helps your team identify points of friction within the app or website. For example, you can pinpoint where leads are abandoning purchases and can work proactively to prevent churn. Or, for returning customers, you can review their favorite tools and adjust your page navigation so they're easier to find when users revisit your site. Having this insight into how customers are engaging with your offers helps your team effectively optimize the user experience.

3. Collect customer feedback.

Another way you can gather information is by asking customers for their feedback. Have them fill out a survey after using your website or app and ask them if they would recommend it to their peers. You can use an NPS survey to gather both qualitative and quantitative data on your digital customer experience as this should give a good idea of how customers are reacting to your content.

4. Conduct user testing.

User testing is another way to determine how much customers enjoy using your website or app. In this environment, a select group of customers is asked to test your product, then they provide feedback on specific aspects of the user experience. This gives you chances to tweak your website or app before releasing it to the rest of your customer base.

While there are a few different types of user tests, the most popular one is usability testing. Usability testing assesses how easy it is to use and navigate your product. Participants are asked to perform a simple task, then they're evaluated on their ability to complete it. This shows your development team how user-friendly your website or app is.

5. Create an omni-channel experience.

Omni-channel experiences generate customer delight because they provide more communication options to customers. People can engage with a business on a medium that they're comfortable using and aren't forced to work on an interface that they're unfamiliar with.

And, as we can see from the graphic below, this added comfort significantly impacts customer satisfaction.

Omni-channel

Image Source

The more channels you support, the happier your customers are. And, they're more likely to buy from your company again. That's because you're engaging them on channels they're already using, making it much easier for users to interact with your content.

These best practices should help your business optimize your digital customer experience. However, as technology advances, new trends will continue to emerge and influence customer perception.

In the section below, let's review a few digital trends that businesses are following this year.

Digital Customer Experience Trends

1. Improvements in Artificial Intelligence

When we think of artificial intelligence (AI), we often think of sentient robots that mimic human actions and conversations. While these are fun, sci-fi villains, they aren't accurate representations of how AI is used in modern business.

Most AI is used to automate business functions and personalize experiences for the customer. For example, AI is often programmed into email newsletters when companies want to send messages to their entire customer base, but want the emails to seem genuine and sincere. So, they use AI to pull data from the CRM and personalize the message with the customer's information. This makes the email look and feel like it was written specifically for that person.

As AI continues to improve, you should expect more features like these to appear in your marketplace. Customers crave personalized experiences and AI is the perfect tool for delivering users exactly what they want and need in a digital landscape.

2. Increased Number of Chatbots

Chatbots were once a novelty that businesses used to show customers that they're trendy and keeping up with the latest technology. These bots were very limited and could only perform a predetermined series of actions. This made for dull customer experiences that didn't always end with the customer getting what they wanted.

Now, chatbots can answer 80% of routine service questions which significantly reduces the pressure placed on customer support teams. With bots, support agents can refocus their time and energy on more complex or time-sensitive cases that are more likely to result in customer churn. That's why experts predict that 85% of customer interactions will be handled without a human agent by 2020.

3. More Focus on Predictive Analytics

Predictive analytics determine how customers will react to changes in your business. These reports help business leaders understand customer behavior and the role the company plays in their customers' lives.

As AI and machine learning continues to improve, we can expect predictive analytics to become a fundamental tool used by companies with a digital presence. These reports will be built right into the internal user interface and will update with the most recent customer data. That way, business leaders will have all the information they need to make a confident decision for their company.

4. New Augmented Reality Tools

Augmented reality (AR) has generated a ton of cool opportunities to improve digital customer experience. If you're unfamiliar with it, it's a technology that supplements real images with digital elements, like in the example below.

Augmented-Reality

Image Source

Since AR is still relatively new, there's a lot of potential for its use in customer service. Some brands have used it to supplement in-person customer experience by displaying product information that appears as customers shop. When a customer is in the store, they can use their smart device to scan a product and see data like customer reviews and product details. This reduces friction during the buying process and makes it easier for customers to find the product or service that's right for them.

Another popular AR trend is the "try-as-you-buy" experience. If your company operates mostly online, you can let customers test out your products by using an AR version on their computer. That way, customers don't have to go through the hassle of buying your product or asking for a sample, only to return it a few weeks later.

5. Personalized Customer Experiences

With all of this customer data at your company's fingertips, it's going to be much easier to create personalized customer experiences. Not only will you have a stronger understanding of your customer base, but you'll also have the technology needed to distribute content effectively. And, you'll be able to automate this personalization so you can maintain a delightful customer experience as your business grows over time.

If you're wondering when you should implement these tips, take a look at these key customer touch points.

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Originally published Jan 30, 2020 8:00:00 AM, updated January 30 2020

Topics:

Customer Experience