What is Digital Customer Experience? 2022 Trends & Strategies
Jun 25, 2021|Read time: 11 min.
- Digital customer experience (DCX) encompasses every interaction a customer has with your brand in a digital medium.
- 91% of customers are more likely to buy from brands repeatedly after they have a positive experience
- Emotionally-connected customers have a 306% higher lifetime value.
The pandemic disrupted consumer behavior and accelerated the number of digital interactions with companies. As a result, brands have fewer in-person opportunities to connect with shoppers which creates a more fragmented brand experience across the customer journey. Remember, most shoppers don’t see the digital customer experience as separate from the in-store experience.
For example, a shopper may have an outstanding experience in the physical store. However, when they visit your website, they encounter new barriers and frustrations. On the other hand, potential customers could fall into the digital cracks of an unmapped online journey. They may discover your brand early on, but miss valuable touchpoints in the middle of the funnel.
This inconsistency creates unnecessary risk given the volume and variety of online brand interactions.
Consider all the digital touchpoints consumers have online. They can research your products and services, share their feelings, compare you to your competitors, or chat with your employees. In other words, these digital customer experiences can create lifelong customers, or fervent detractors.
To overcome these challenges and remain competitive, marketers must create an exceptional digital customer experience. Read on to learn what that means, why it matters, and how to do it.
What is digital customer experience (DCX)?
Digital Customer Experience
Digital customer experience (DCX) encompasses every interaction a customer has with your brand in a digital medium.
In addition to your website, this may also include:
- Social media
- Live chat
- Mobile apps
- Third-party review sites
- Online communities
Any place a customer interacts with your brand digitally is part of the DCX. And digital customer experience is part of the broader experience, which also includes offline interactions, such as shopping in physical locations or talking with a rep on the phone.
However, most consumers don’t think about the customer journey in terms of digital vs. non-digital experiences. To provide people with an outstanding overall customer experience, it’s essential that both online and offline interactions be equally customer-centric, high-quality, and satisfying.
Importance of digital customer experience
It’s not enough to provide a superior product or service, although that is certainly critical. You must also create great experiences at every step of the buyer’s journey.
To meet customers’ high expectations, don’t think of them as numbers going through a funnel. Instead, treat them as real people in a 360-degree experiential journey. If you create positive experiences for them, then they’ll be more loyal.
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Consider these digital customer experience statistics
91% of customers are more likely to buy again after a positive experienceSalesforce
Emotionally-connected customers have a 306% higher lifetime valueMotista
Customers are 4X more likely to try a competitor after a service problemBain & Company
- 91% of customers are more likely to make a repeat purchase after a positive experience.
- Customers that feel emotionally connected to brands have a 306% higher lifetime value than customers that don’t.
- When customers experience a service problem (versus product or price), they’re 4X more likely to go to a competitor.
If you need a tangible example, look no further than Google versus Yahoo. At one point, the two companies were competitors. But as Yahoo kept adding features unrelated to internet search (news, stock tracker, trends, weather, horoscopes, ads, entertainment, fantasy sports, etc.), Google focused relentlessly on meeting customer expectations and giving them the best experience when singularly seeking information on the internet.
As a result, Google now owns the vast majority of the internet search market and Yahoo is mostly an internet relic in the vein of MySpace.
The bottom line? If your brand doesn’t provide an outstanding digital customer experience, then many of your customers will take their business elsewhere.
11 Digital customer experience strategies & trends
Let’s look at some digital customer experience trends and strategies you can leverage right now.
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1. Create a personalized experience
Customers don’t want to feel like a cog in a machine. Instead, they want a personalized experience from start to finish.
This goes beyond simply making recommendations based on a person’s purchase history. It also includes things like chatbots powered by artificial intelligence (AI), ecommerce content marketing experiences customized to audience segments, contextual CTAs based on online behavior, individualized offers informed by customer data, real-time social media interactions, and a support team that’s easy to get in touch with and who actually cares about resolving your issue.
The more personalized the experience, the more valued a customer will feel. As a result, your retention rates are likely to improve.
2. Implement digital touchpoints throughout the customer journey
In addition to physical touchpoints, like in-store purchases or face-to-face consultations, your customer journey should include numerous digital touchpoints. The customer touchpoints you identify will vary depending where they fall in the customer journey, but they can include the following:
- Blog posts
- Research and reports
- PPC ads
- Social media posts
It’s critical that your digital touchpoints be of the same quality and feel as your physical ones. They shape the perception of your brand just as much as any physical touchpoints. So, for example, if you want to be known as a thought leader and expert in your industry but your blog posts are short and generic, you’re hurting your brand.
Learn more about what customer touch points are, and how to optimize them.
3. Align with user intent
Considering Google’s evolution, it’s critical to align your content with user search intent. In other words, give people exactly what they’re searching for.
It’s not enough to simply know the keywords your customers use in Google. You must also know their goals and objectives, as well as the user experience they expect.
For example, if someone searches “best gaming laptops”, they most likely want a comparison and review of the best gaming laptops. But, what if they search for “alienware gaming laptops” instead? Chances are, they learned about this brand through previous research, and now they want to purchase a specific laptop from Alienware. And, if they search for “alienware x17 gaming laptop”, they want a web page that speaks to them about the x17 laptop specifically.
If the content on your pages doesn’t align with search intent, your Google organic rankings will decline. Google is focused on delivering relevant results that align with the searcher’s intent. Even if you somehow do show up in the Google results, any website visitors who click through will hit the back button causing your bounce rate to spike.
Intent matters. A lot.
4. Provide high quality content
Content is no longer king. There is so much content being pumped out every day that only high quality content really stands out. If you want to create a superior digital customer experience, then it’s essential to provide high quality content across multiple digital channels.
What constitutes high quality content will vary depending on your audience and industry, but as a general rule, it can educate (solve a problem or help them achieve an objective) or entertain them, or both.
If you’re a shampoo brand, for example, this could look like tutorial videos of how to create the perfect updo. Or a photo-filled slide show of the 50 hottest updo hairstyles. Alternatively, interviews with famous hairstylists with little-known updo secrets. Or, you could run a competition with your community for the best updo hairstyles they’re currently rockin’.
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5. Deploy mobile device optimization
For certain brands, the majority of digital interactions a person will have with your brand will be on a mobile device. For others, this may be your audience in the future.
Regardless, it’s a good idea to optimize your content and digital touchpoints for mobile devices.
The first step is to utilize a responsive website design, but don’t stop there. Considering the direction of m-commerce trends, you need to optimize every aspect of the digital experience for mobile:
- Optimize images and videos for fast loading
- Enable login processes that are easy on mobile devices
- Share content on social media
- Implement thumb-friendly CTA buttons
- Improve page load time
- Make it easy to add to (and edit) shopping carts on mobile
- Deploy rapid checkout processes
It’s crucial to optimize for mobile now that Google uses a mobile-first indexing model. It’s also easy to check your performance with Google Search Console or Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool.
6. Create a content hub with topic clusters
If you want to create an amazing digital customer experience that enthralls your audience, then build a content hub.
A content hub is an online destination packed with curated content about a specific topic. If you’re in the beauty industry, that could be a library of beauty product ingredients. On the other hand, a financial services brand might create an in-depth guide to build financial literacy that’s loaded with calculators and tools.
Regardless of the format you use, the benefits remain the same.
First, content hubs allow you to pull prospects further into your funnel. Or at least deeper into your ecosystem. As people consume your content, they’ll have new questions. If you anticipate their questions, then you can intuitively link to pages and resources within your hub at precisely the right moment. This, in turn, keeps your audience on your site longer, which builds trust and ultimately leads to more conversions.
When you organize your content around related themes like this, you also amplify your websites topical relevance. Google will see you as a subject matter expert, and reward you with better rankings.
Finally, by adding internal links, you’ll funnel your site’s backlink authority more efficiently throughout your domain.
7. Utilize automation
Automation allows you to improve customer interactions at scale. As your customer base grows, it can be harder to maintain a personal touch. Automation enables you to maintain a personal connection with customers (to a degree) while also growing your brand. Tasks you can automate include:
- Email nurturing sequences
- Customer onboarding
- Customer satisfaction surveys
- Check-in emails to reignite interest
- Routing support requests based on priority
- Delivering educational content via email
- Helping customers find answers to questions
- Retargeting after an abandoned cart
If you aren’t careful with automation, then you might frustrate customers. For example, if a person can’t get the answer they need from an AI-driven chatbot, the chatbot should help the person take the appropriate next step, whether that’s searching a knowledge base or connecting them to a customer support rep.
8. Double down on customer support
People tend to be vocal when they’re frustrated or angry. So your digital customer experience management strategy should focus on strong customer support.
Seek out customer support tools, CRMs, and digital experience platforms so you can provide multichannel customer support. Consider how each customer segment prefers to interact with support teams. Some may want to use digital technology with self-service functionality, while others might want to speak to a representative on the phone.
Within your customer base, there are a variety of preferences regarding how they want to experience customer support. Satisfying those preferences will strengthen your relationships with your customers and reduce the amount of frustration they feel when they encounter a problem. And it will ultimately lead to greater customer loyalty.
9. Measure customer engagement
Customer engagement metrics can indicate a positive digital customer experience, or a negative one. They help you determine whether various digital touchpoints are effective, as well as the steps you can take to improve them. Customer engagement looks different depending on the touchpoint.
For example, with email you might measure engagement by:
- Open rate
- Click-through rate
- Response rate
Or, with a blog post, you might measure things such as:
- Scroll depth
- Bounce rate
- CTA click-through rate
- Time on page
- Social shares
- Friction (via behavioral analytics software)
When measuring customer engagement, your goal is to optimize each touch point to improve the customer experience.
10. Collect Voice of the Customer (VoC)
Collecting Voice of the Customer feedback is critical for improving the digital experience of your customers. Even more than customer engagement, it tells you exactly how your customers are feeling, as well as highlighting the specific issues that they tend to encounter.
At a higher level, customer feedback gives you a sense of where you’re strong and where you’re weak.
In addition to collecting feedback directly through things like Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys and customer service interactions, it’s also important to pay attention to feedback that’s not given directly to you, such as on third-party review sites like Google, Yelp, Trust Pilot, etc. Responding to indirect feedback shows that you’re committed to serving your customers and care about addressing any problems that may arise.
11. Integrate digital marketing channels
As your customers move through the conversion funnel, they’ll hop between multiple digital channels. They might watch a video on YouTube, read a blog post on your site, and then check out a third-party review site. Next, they may return to YouTube or explore TikTok. Finally, they might revisit your website again in a few weeks and make a purchase.
To make the digital customer journey as seamless as possible, it’s important to integrate your marketing channels so customers have the same high-quality experience across the board.
Whether interacting with a customer support rep, viewing a webinar, or making a purchase, you want the overall feel and experience to be consistent.
The more you integrate everything you do, the more you’ll bring about a powerful digital transformation that will strengthen your brand in many ways.
Great digital customer experience examples
Let’s look at several examples of what a great digital customer experience actually looks like.
For any product-related questions, Lululemon has live chat support available 24/hrs a day and within seconds your question gets answered by their team. They also offer free video consultations, email support, and a FAQ section on their website.
The Starbucks app provides a seamless omnichannel experience. With a few quick taps, customers can place an order, then pick it up at a nearby store. All their information is updated in real-time across multiple channels to ensure the customer has a frictionless experience. Customers can also load money to their accounts from the app and then pay with the app at a store.
It’s been reported that customers tie up between $1.5 – $2 billion in the mobile app account and pre-paid cards at any given time. That’s a lot of trust placed in the brand, all for the sake of faster, more seamless experiences.
The software company Intercom, also excels at giving its customers an outstanding digital experience. In addition to their incredibly robust and detailed knowledge base, they have a community forum, app store, online learning academy, in-depth video courses, automated product tours, online chat, and a slew of webinars. They have also released books and whitepapers.
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Digital customer experience drives organic growth
It’s no secret that offering a great digital customer experience drives organic growth. When someone has a great experience with your brand, they’re more likely to purchase from you again, and more likely to refer others to you.
The result is a higher customer lifetime value (CLV) and lower customer acquisition costs (CAC). Ultimately, you end up with a stronger brand with a highly dedicated group of customers. And that’s a recipe for stronger business growth.