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What is digital customer experience (CX)?

As a small-business owner, you’re all too familiar with the importance of customer experience. It defines the impression your customers leave with, and every interaction they have with your brand is a chance to create a positive one — or a negative one.

Digital customer experience (CX) is simply the online side of the experience coin and another tool you can use to build upon that lasting impression your products and people leave on your customers. 

There was a time when a customer’s digital experience began and ended with their desktop computer. But now, anywhere your customers use the internet to engage with your brand is a digital experience. Whether it’s through owned apps, chatbots, social media content, or digitally connected environments like the Internet of Things and voice-activated devices, it’s all part of a digital customer experience.

So, do you know the impact your digital presence is having on your customers? Let’s look at how to measure digital CX, create your digital CX strategy and improve your existing experience.

How to measure digital customer experience

The sheer volume of possible digital touchpoints your brand can leverage can feel overwhelming — especially for small businesses that don’t always have the same resources as a larger corporation. But according to research software provider Qualtrics, "to a customer, it’s not complex at all — to them, the differentiation between online and offline, owned and non-owned, marketing and ecommerce" is unimportant. “What guides their journey is their own task or goal, and they expect to be able to go wherever it leads them.”

Before you begin creating your digital customer experience strategy, you should determine your baseline metrics. Using reporting tools to monitor your customers’ online interactions will help you generate data to inform the right goals and to make smart business decisions. And it will help you measure your success over time.

  • Tools such as Google Analytics or Apple’s App Analytics can track points of friction as well as popular features and pages. This data could, for example, give your team insights into where customers are abandoning their purchase or what features could be elevated more prominently. Use an analytics tool to answer questions such as: Which landing pages are converting? If leads are completing a form, where do they go next? What goals are users hoping to accomplish?
  • Map the customer journey on your site to learn which touchpoints are most important to your customers. A customer experience map is a way to visualize every customer touchpoint from pre-purchase to purchase, customer support, customer advocacy and post-purchase. Google Analytics offers a free version that is robust enough to track the baseline data you need to complete a customer journey map of your website without a costly investment. Don’t forget to include any non-website touchpoints, such as emails or social media.
  • Using AI tools to monitor the customer experience on your website and app can help you spot trends and patterns. For example, one bank leveraged AI to flag the appropriate personnel to reach out when a customer repeatedly overdraws their account.

Now that you’re armed with solid data, it’s time to use those insights to create your digital CX strategy.

Creating a digital experience strategy

Use all the data you’ve gathered to build your digital customer experience strategy. Your strategy should help you identify and remove obstacles that keep your customers from reaching their goals, which will increase engagement and create a smoother customer journey.

HubSpot explains that a good digital CX strategy can help you “anticipate and map out how users move across your online channels.” This goes beyond just your website to include any social media channels or other digital avenues you’re using.

A study from Harvard Business Review revealed that the more channels customers use, the more valuable they are to your business. Retailers’ omnichannel customers spent an average of 4% more in store and 10% more online compared to customers who used just one channel. Managing multiple channels can be time consuming. So how can you get the most out that time?

  1. Create audience personas. Your customers should be at the heart of your CX strategy. By identifying unique buyer personas, you can tailor the experience to their unique desires and goals and their preferred communication channel.
  2. Map the customer journey. Once you’ve established who your customers are, it’s important to identify every moment a customer interacts with your brand, with a customer experience map.
  3. Embrace omnichannel marketing. The most important difference between multichannel marketing and omnichannel marketing is continuity. While multichannel means you have several digital channels available (for example email, social media, your owned app and web), the channels don’t share customer information with each other, leading to a disconnected experience. However, omnichannel ensures your customer data is syncing between every channel no matter which ones your customer prefers, creating a frictionless experience.
  4. Optimize the user experience. Research from Stanford shows that sites win credibility points when they are both easy to use and useful.
    CX focuses
    on “the end user’s overall experience, including their perceptions, emotions, and responses to a company’s product, system, or service,” explains HubSpot. A good CX strategy considers ease of use, accessibility and convenience. Focus on how easy it is for users to make a purchase on your website, whether your site is mobile friendly and if your site is easy to navigate.

How to improve your existing digital customer experience

Developing a system for continuous customer feedback, called a feedback loop, will help your customers feel heard and, in turn, improve the CX for the rest of your buyers. Improving your existing digital CX can be as simple as surveying customers and implementing your findings. You could:

  • Email a customer satisfaction survey after a completed customer support ticket to learn how satisfied the customer was with their rep’s response
  • Send a push notification after users download your app to gauge satisfaction and ask for a rating in the Apple App Store or Google Play
  • Ask for a visual grade of your customer service (for example, 5-star, smiley face, thumbs up or down rating) via a link in a live chat conversation

Digital customer experience tools and resources

  • CRM software: Customer relationship management (CRM) software lets you manage all interactions with customers and leads at every point in the customer journey. CRM software can provide a wealth of data on your audience and customers to inform your digital CX strategy.
  • Social media monitoring and management tools. Social media management tools aren’t just for scheduling content. There are many low-cost and even free social media monitoring tools that can provide insights into what customers are saying about your brand. This “social listening” can empower your team to provide excellent customer service in real time.
  • Chatbots. Juniper Research predicts that chatbots will resolve 75% of inquiries in 2022. Not only can chatbots help you provide service faster, but you can also mine customer interactions to inform your digital CX.

Customers expect better experiences online and in person than ever before. It’s up to your business to seek future-forward ways to continue serving them. Visit the Business Solutions Center for more resources and insights on how to deliver exceptional customer experiences.

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