2020 thrust companies into digital transformation projects to better serve their remote employees and customers. Because of the pandemic, customers’ expectations for service have both increased and grown more complex. Simply put: they want to be able to get what they need without too much hassle or friction.
As a result, the digital customer experience is now the chief concern for most businesses seeking to keep up with demand. According to Fullstory’s State of Digital Experiences, 84% of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products or services. For many companies, the pandemic put the spotlight on their digital experience for the first time. Others saw the payoff of their previous investment in building a digital experience. Both B2B and B2C companies are facing the same challenge—building a digital customer experience to remain competitive in these new market conditions.
The end goal when building a digital customer experience should be empowering customers to do more with less. Empowering your customers requires understanding your customers and their desired outcome. What do today’s customers want? They want convenience and efficiency. This is essential in a world where many are still largely working from home with less time and availability.
So how do you build a digital customer experience that empowers customers to do more with less and gives them more time and safety? I believe these three principles should guide your continued digital transformation efforts.
1. Make it Seamless
A satisfying digital experience comes down to one word: seamless. During the 2020 holiday season, consumers spent $23 billion more from smartphones than the previous year. Mobile needs to be part of your focus, and users should be able to pick up where they left off across devices. Consider how an app like Spotify supports users on the move. I can listen on my laptop while working, and then go for a run and keep my music going on my phone. What are the key actions your customer can perform digitally? Save those and sync them with the cloud in real-time to allow customers to continue what they were doing on a different device. Doing this will likely require your customers to have some sort of login.
2. Make it Self-Service
Consumers should be able to control how they engage your product or service. Don’t limit your ability to make sales to the hours you are open. Introduce self-service options into your workflow. Make it possible for a customer to get what they need whenever and wherever they are. Self-service is the best way to get your customer the power to do more with less, which is what they need when they have less time available.
3. Make it Automated
Automation might sound like an overused buzzword but it’s truly a necessity now. Identify the mundane or obvious touch points to automate. For example, an online purchase often requires terms and conditions be part of the checkout process. By implementing automating this contracting process, you can create a more seamless checkout experience. Smart organizations look to use automation to resolve issues before they need human intervention. Take Extra Space Storage as an example. The company moved more of its rental process online using automation and now engages with customers while they’re working on their reservations through a digital live agent. An update like this might require an investment up front but it will help build the ideal digital experience.
The habits and practices formed in 2020 are likely here to stay in 2021. On Black Friday, in-store traffic dropped more than 50% and online sales hit record highs. If the way consumers are buying has changed, the way we are selling and serving them should too. Make your digital customer experience effortless. Automating parts of the process, introducing self-service and seamless interactions across devices are a great place to start.