How to Create an Exceptional Digital Experience in 2021
The modern customer’s attention is split in so many directions. They’re going through various digital channels, such as social media, customer support, and email to find solutions to their challenges.
What does that mean for brands and marketers? To deliver the best results, you need to optimize each touchpoint of the digital experience so that you can push prospects down the funnel and turn them into loyal, paying customers.
Launching a seamless digital experience requires a solid game plan. It’s only by combining research, personalization, and an omnichannel approach that you can engage and attract the most customers as possible.
In this article, we’re going to show you how to create an exceptional digital customer experience in 2021.
Table of contents
What is the customer digital experience?
The customer digital experience refers to all of your target audience’s online interactions with your brand. It can include your social pages, your company website, or live chatbots.
How you optimize the digital customer experience will set the impression of your brand in customers’ minds. Is your digital experience helpful for your target audience and solving their challenges? Or is it confusing and full of friction?
Top tip: If you’re wondering how to overcome the barriers and prepare your business to deliver a world-class digital customer experience, we’ve put together some advice in our article on how to accelerate the digital transformation process 💡
The importance of a customer-centric, positive digital experience
How you optimize your digital customer interactions can make or break the success of your brand. Here’s why:
It boosts your customer retention
A common mistake that brands make is focusing solely on acquiring the most customers for their product or service. Unfortunately, many brands put so much effort into customer acquisition that they forget one crucial element to growing a business: keeping their existing customers happy.
An effective digital experience strategy leads customers to come back hungry for more. As a result, it boosts your retention rate, customer lifetime value (CLV), and how loyal customers are to your brand (customer affinity).
It increases revenue
What does a higher customer retention rate lead to? It leads to more conversions and growth for your company’s bottom line. An aging but widely-cited Bain & Company study revealed that even a 5% increase in retention could boost company revenue by 25–95%.
Those effects appear to be consistent among today’s consumers. A more recent empirical study based on this paper found that a focus on customer retention over 12-18 months boosted revenue by 80%.
Customers will even opt for a premium-priced product if it delivers a better experience than the lower-priced competition. According to research by PWC, customers are willing to pay up to 16% more for a product that delivers a great experience. They’re also 63% more willing to give up their personal data (such as contact details) to a company that offers a positive experience.
It creates brand advocacy
Your brand’s advocacy and digital experience both go hand in hand. If customers have an exceptional experience with your business, they’ll be more likely to spread the word and tell their friends about it.
After all, who’s better to promote the quality of your product or service than your own customers? With the power of social proof (referrals, case studies, testimonials, etc.), you can welcome exponential deals.
How to set up your digital experience strategy in 15 steps
So what does a compelling digital experience strategy look like? All experiences are not created equal. Returning to the PWC research mentioned above, customers value some experiences over others. Customers reported that they were more likely to pay more for efficiency, convenience, and knowledgeable service over brands offering charitability, automation, and global presence.
Here are the steps to ensure that you’re delivering the digital experience that increases brand loyalty and drives revenue for your brand:
Prepare your strategy prerequisites
There are a couple of things you must prepare first before you can launch your digital experience campaign. These strategy prerequisites include:
1. Define or revisit your company’s core purpose and business goals
Your core purpose and business goals will be your starting line to set your digital experience campaign on the right foot. By revisiting both of these aspects, you’ll better understand which direction to take for your strategy.
Your core purpose is the statement that reveals why your company does what it does. A famous example of a core purpose is Nike, whose brand statement is: “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.”
When it comes to your business goals, think about what you’re trying to achieve this month, quarter, or year. For example, you may be trying to boost awareness around one of your new products. Or your current goal may be to get more customers to upgrade their memberships.
Your digital experience strategy will be founded on your purpose and how you’re currently striving to achieve it.
2. Refine your digital brand positioning
Brand positioning identifies how your brand is different from others and the image you want to project. It will help the messaging of your digital experience strategy and how you’ll communicate your products’ value to ideal prospects.
A big part of this will be researching your competitors and the market. You’ll need to have a solid understanding of their digital marketing strategy, what customers are saying about their products, and how your product or service holds up against them.
From there, you’ll be able to identify weaknesses and showcase the value of your product to target customers through differentiation in your messaging.
3. Have a clear discovery strategy
A discovery strategy allows you to identify product-market fit and plan out your budget. It ensures that even before you launch your digital experience strategy, there’s a need in the market for your product or service.
Understand customer behavior online
You must get a clear idea of your customer’s needs to create a digital experience that matches their expectations. That way, you can create a more relevant, personalized digital strategy that will engage and retain the most customers as possible. Here’s how you can achieve this:
4. Create a buyer persona through a digital lens
To identify your ideal customer, create a list of their attributes such as age, job role, gender, goals, and the challenges they’re facing. It puts you in their shoes and helps you identify ways that your product can help them and achieve what they want.
Make sure to also capture information that dives into how they behave online, how they seek information, where they spend their time, and so on. By understanding customer behavior, for example, you can identify which channels you should focus on to reach out to them.
5. Collect data on your customers
Along with creating buyer personas, start collecting data around your customers. Here are some of the different ways that you can learn more about your audience:
- User surveys. You can target your audience with surveys they can fill out to understand customer needs and expectations. To drive more customer engagement, consider offering customers perks for filling out the survey, such as providing access to exclusive gated content.
- Conduct customer interviews. Collecting data on your customers can be as simple as talking to them directly. You can enable a team to reach out to your customers and start a conversation about their current experience and what they would like to see in the future.
- Monitor social media. Social media platforms can be goldmines when it comes to collecting customer data. Monitor your social pages regularly to get a sense of your customer’s opinions on your brand.
- Analyze website traffic. Your website traffic provides solid clues on your audience. It gives you insight into where your customers are coming from and which user segments spend the most time on your website.
By combining all of these different tactics together, you’ll gain a clear picture of who your ideal customer is and how your product fits their needs.
6. Encourage customers to drop feedback
Understanding the customer’s needs is as simple as asking them to drop their feedback on what they expect from the digital experience. On top of collecting their thoughts, it shows customers that you value them and want the best for them.
To do this, reach out to them via email or use your social media platforms to collect their thoughts. There are also various tools you can use (which we’ll dive into later) that automate the process of asking customers for their feedback.
7. Create a map of your customer journey
Based on the data you collected on your target audience, create a customer journey map consisting of all the typical customer’s digital touchpoints. You can then identify ways to optimize each stage by outlining each touchpoint as the customer goes through the funnel.
For example, let’s say that your target customer’s first touchpoint is through a google search on their mobile phones. To optimize for this stage, you’ll have to make sure that all of your pages are mobile responsive, so they look good on all devices.
Optimize the funnel
Once you understand your target customer, it’s time to get to action. Here’s how you can get the most out of your funnel and convert the most customers:
8. Adopt an omnichannel strategy
According to a study, 73% of customers use multiple channels during their journey. To maximize your reach, make sure to target customers on all the channels they’re using to discover solutions to their problems. It ensures that you can reach customers wherever they are and regardless of the device they’re using.
9. Optimize your website for conversion
One of your digital experience strategy goals should be to drive conversions, such as lead generation, purchases, click-throughs, etc. Once you have settled your focus on a specific conversion, you can make adjustments to your webpages to optimize for this behavior. For example, if you’re trying to gain as many leads as possible, you can add forms to high traffic pages, include CTAs and gate high-value content (like ebooks).
You should also make sure that the speed of your website is fast because the first five seconds of page-load time has the most significant impact on conversions. If your page is slow to load, you may be missing conversions before they’ve even seen your content.
10. Adopt clear storytelling
Leveraging storytelling in the customer experience allows you to build an emotional connection with your prospect and boost engagement. According to research by Capgemini, 70% of customers that feel emotionally attached to a brand spend twice or more money than less attached customers.
Your brand’s storytelling can come in many forms, such as social media campaigns telling your brand story, videos showing how customers overcame their hurdles with your products, and clever website design and copywriting.
11. Deliver quality content marketing campaigns
Ensure you deliver content that speaks to the needs of your target audience and that you’re promoting it effectively. On top of ranking higher in search results, it helps build the trust of your target users, generate more qualified leads, and boost conversions.
12. Create personalized offers
Customers are more likely to purchase when you include personalization as part of the digital experience strategy. It does so by adapting to your customer’s specific needs so you can reach out with the most relevant offers and optimize your digital experience strategy for conversion.
For example, let’s say a customer already purchased one of your products in the past. One way to optimize the digital experience and boost conversions is to retarget them with complementary products to their previous purchase.
Provide the customer with quality support (and identify support gaps)
If a potential customer has any issues or challenges during the digital experience, you must provide them with the support they need to push through the funnel. It reduces friction and ensures that they eventually convert into a paying customer.
Here’s how to do that:
14. Provide self-service solutions
Including self-service solutions, such as a knowledge base, allows users to answer their questions without reaching out for support. Forrester found in their research that 53% of online adults in the US may abandon their online purchase if they can’t quickly find a solution to their question. They also found that phone calls are best left to one of the later stages in the evolution of problem escalation.
15. Integrate chat for optimum customer service
A chat feature on your website allows you to respond to user requests 24/7. Preloading a chatbot with FAQs can get your customers a solution while live reps are offline. It can also direct inquiries that require human intervention to agents when they return.
Using automated chat and live chat ensures that customer experience includes minimal disruptions.
How to determine the success of your digital experience strategy
You’ll want to measure the results of your digital transformation strategy to ensure it’s effective. Here are some common metrics to measure to understand if your digital experience strategy meets your customers’ needs.
Net Promoter Score (NPS)
Your Net Promoter Score (NPS) measures how likely customers are to recommend your brand to others based on a score from 0–10. It’s a very straightforward metric that determines how well your product or service is good at generating brand advocacy.
Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)
Your Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) is a percentage metric that measures how happy customers are with your product or service. When analyzed along with your NPS, it can give you a reliable picture of your brand loyalty.
When your CSAT is high, it means that you’re developing a healthy customer relationship with your prospects. However, if your CSAT is low, it could mean that there are issues about your product or service that you should look into and fix.
Customer Effort Score (CES)
The Customer Effector Score (CES) measures the level of customers’ efforts to resolve their issues. It helps you understand various essential things about your customer support.
First of all, it measures whether things are working correctly and identifies sticking points in your strategy. That way, you can enhance the experience by filling in any gaps.
Also, it allows you to understand how your customers are engaging at each touchpoint of their buying journey. You’ll see why specific strategies lead to more conversions and whether or not you’re targeting the right segment of customers.
Your churn rate is the percentage of customers that you’re losing across a timeline. It’s a vital metric to understand the health of your brand.
While losing customers is part and parcel of running a business, a churn rate that’s too high is a sign that something is wrong with your user experience. For example, it could be due to not targeting the right customer, poor onboarding, or not providing customers with the support they need.
Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
Your Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) is the amount of revenue that you bring in with each customer relationship. The better you’re able to manage the relationship between your brand and your customers, the more money you can bring.
The biggest benefit of measuring CLV is that it helps you identify which segment of your customers are the most valuable to your company. You can then use this data to improve your future digital experience campaigns and attract more qualified customers.
With these numbers, you can measure if your strategy is working as intended or what is broken. You’ll also be able to determine whether your digital experience is helping you work toward those business goals we spoke about earlier, so you’ll know if your business is growing forward.
The best tools you can use for your digital experience
Technology can make managing the digital experience much easier and efficient. Here are some of the best tools we recommend to optimize your digital experience while saving yourself time and money from manual work.
User onboarding is essential to the digital experience because it creates the customer’s first impression of your brand. It’s your job during this stage to educate them on the value of your product so they don’t churn in the early stages of using your product. Some possible tools you can use for onboarding include:
Customer service software centralizes all of your tickets in one place. As a result, it allows you to better manage and track each customer request in the digital experience while saving plenty of time for your support agents. We recommend:
While collecting customer feedback is vital to learn more about your audience, doing it manually will cost a lot of time. So instead, it’s better to use tools that do all the hard work of getting data from customers thanks to automation functionality. Here are the tools we recommend:
Website analytics tools provide you with solid insights into each aspect of your website’s performance. With these platforms, you’ll get access to data such as who’s viewing your website, how long the average visitor spends on pages, and your conversion rate. We recommend:
Launching the right digital experience strategy requires a lot of testing to identify what tactics work the best with your audience. The following tools help you test different aspects of your digital experience strategy in real-time, such as your website design and product, to analyze the reaction of your customers. We recommend:
Predicting your customer’s behavior helps you identify which steps to take to push down the funnel in advance. These tools can help you better understand the customer journey to deliver more personalized offers thanks to artificial intelligence and machine learning. We recommend:
With all we’ve just shared, digital adoption is about so much more than subscribing to an impressive tech stack. It’s about leveraging these tools alongside an effective digital experience strategy, so you can maximize their use and achieve specific goals.
Whether you’re a SaaS provider, ecommerce brand, or a mobile app owner, there are a lot of components that go into building a successful digital experience strategy.
First, you need to research your audience and the various touchpoints they go through in their journey. With this information, you can start identifying ways to optimize each stage of the customer funnel with personalization and omnichannel experience tactics.
Then, you’ll have to measure your success. It includes considering metrics such as your NPS, CSAT, churn rate, and average customer lifetime value.
Lastly, don’t neglect the power of technology. There are various tools you can use that help reduce your manual work to focus more on strategy.
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