Developing a robust digital customer experience strategy is no longer an option in 2024; it’s mandatory. In the past, customer journeys were reasonably straightforward. You’d attract customers to a store or location with promotional materials, offer excellent service, and close deals.
Now, the customer journey occurs across various channels, many of which are “digital.” Customers start their search for products online, learn about solutions through digital articles, videos, and reviews, and even access services through digital channels.
Around 60% of consumers prefer communicating with brands via email, while another 48% often opt for live chat. As technology evolves, offering more “digitized” channels for the customer journey, from chatbots to extended reality, the demand for “digital CX” will increase.
Here’s how to build an effective digital customer experience strategy in 2024.
What is a Digital Customer Experience Strategy?
A digital customer experience strategy is a plan for how you’ll interact with consumers using “digital” channels throughout their purchasing journey. Usually, this refers to online solutions, such as live chat and chatbots, messaging, social media, websites, and so on.
A digital customer experience strategy can include digitally connected environments, like IoT devices. In simple terms, wherever your customers engage with your brand through an internet connection, they interact with a “digital” experience.
Understanding the digital touchpoints your consumers engage with throughout their customer journey and how they affect their relationship with your brand is crucial to success. Studies show that 65% of customers say their experience with a company’s website or app is very important when deciding whether to recommend a brand to someone else.
Additionally, 27% of customers say being unable to reach customer support and contact centers through their chosen channel creates a negative experience.
What makes creating a robust digital customer experience strategy complex in today’s world is the fact that there are so many “touchpoints” to consider. It’s not just your website, app, or online forms you need to consider anymore. It’s everything from your custom generative AI bot to your video conferencing services and even metaverse-style environments.
The Importance of Digital Customer Experience Strategies
In today’s world, if you’re not considering the digital touchpoints your customers use to interact with your brand, you’re missing a huge part of the average customer journey. Virtually every contact center solution available today prioritizes building an “omnichannel” customer experience.
You’ll rarely find a CCaaS solution that doesn’t at least support online messaging alongside voice and email-based communications. Many vendors are beginning to branch into new digital experiences with innovative self-service solutions, video conferencing, and more.
In this world, 74% of consumers expect companies to use technology to create better experiences for them throughout the customer journey. They expect to be able to access support and information on various channels. Plus, they want to move between channels seamlessly, accessing an “immersive” experience as they move from social media to chat to phone and beyond.
An excellent digital customer experience strategy can help you meet these evolving expectations. It ensures you can anticipate and map how customers move through different online channels, creating a cohesive, omnichannel experience.
The results can be phenomenal if you can deliver a truly “omnichannel” digital experience to customers. Studies show companies with the best omnichannel offerings see a 10% increase in average order value and year-over-year growth. Plus, they also benefit from 25% higher close rates.
How to Build a Digital Customer Experience Strategy in 2024
So, how do you design a digital customer experience strategy that works? Like any “CX Strategy,” no one-size-fits-all approach is guaranteed to drive results. The success of your strategy depends on your ability to understand your audience, address their needs, and leverage the right technology. Here are some crucial steps to get you started.
Step 1: Know Your Audience
The ideal digital customer experience strategy varies from one audience to the next. While many consumers still use search engines to learn about companies and their products, Gen Zers rely on social media for research and, often, customer support.
To ensure you’re effectively interacting with customers on all the proper channels, you must first map their journeys from the “awareness” stage to the “retention and advocacy” stage. The good news is various tools can help with this. Salesforce’s marketing cloud features extensive customer journey mapping solutions with in-built analytics.
Many contact center solutions also feature tools to help you understand the customer journey and assign customer service and sales resources to the proper channels. You can also build on what you know about your audience by collecting insights through surveys and online forms.
Or you can use the analytics tools in your CRM, contact center, and marketing tools to track how often customers interact with your business on different channels.
Step 2: Invest in Omnichannel
As mentioned above, demand for truly immersive omnichannel experiences is increasing. 76% of consumers expect consistent, context-driven experiences across all channels. However, while many contact centers and communication tools enable access to different channels, few are omnichannel.
One study in 2023 found that only around a third of contact centers offer truly aligned experiences across every digital channel. More often than not, as consumers switch from channels like interacting with a chatbot on your website to calling your team, they have to repeat themselves. This detracts from the simplicity and convenience of the digital experience.
To ensure you’re embracing an omnichannel approach rather than just a “multichannel” CX strategy, you need to ensure your teams and technologies can share data. This means using integrations to sync data between channels or transfer contextual information from one agent to another.
The good news is many contact center solutions are offering more advanced omnichannel capabilities in today’s world. There are even dedicated contact centers for solutions like Microsoft Teams, which can align your UCaaS, collaboration, CRM, and other tools in one ecosystem.
Step 3: Remember the Importance of Mobile Experience
Mobility isn’t just a significant trend in the workplace; it’s also crucial to an effective digital customer experience strategy. Over 90% of the global online population uses a mobile device to visit websites, interact with companies, and even purchase products.
Additionally, up to 75% of customers prefer texting contact centers and customer support agents rather than interacting via phone or social media. Even mobile-based marketing content delivers excellent results for business leaders, with SMS click-through rates ranging up to 36%.
If you’re building a digital customer experience strategy in 2024, it’s essential to ensure customers can easily use their mobile devices to interact with you. Everything from your website to your marketing campaigns and even your chatbots should be optimized for mobile use.
Plus, you’ll need to ensure customers can quickly choose their preferred communication method when using a smartphone or mobile device, with simple “click to call” buttons and messaging options.
Step 4: Double Down on Customer Experience Analytics
Collecting data isn’t just necessary for initially mapping your customer journeys. It’s also crucial to ensure you can evolve and optimize your digital experience strategy over time.
Fortunately, there are various ways to collect the correct information. You can use tools like Google Analytics to track interactions on your website and determine which pages customers use.
You’ll also be able to leverage your contact center and CRM tools to track essential metrics across different channels, such as customer satisfaction scores and NPS. Accessing direct customer feedback through surveys is another excellent strategy to learn more about your customers. It can help you understand what they like and dislike about brand interactions across multiple channels.
It’s worth taking advantage of the latest AI-powered tools for deeper insights. For instance, specific intelligent tools can offer insights into customer sentiment, intent, and other factors based on recordings, calls, and even message-based conversations.
Step 5: Stay Focused on the Future
One of the reasons developing a great digital customer experience strategy in 2024 is so complex is that customers’ preferences are constantly changing. In the last few years alone, analysts have seen a spike in customers interacting with generative AI, using social media for service, and even entering the metaverse.
Staying agile with your strategy is essential with the digital world changing at such a breakneck pace. Only a couple of years ago, we never knew how much of an impact generative AI would have on the self-service landscape. Now, virtually every leading contact center and CRM tool comes with its own generative AI capabilities.
Some solutions allow you to build your own branded generative AI bot. While you won’t necessarily need to embrace every new CX trend that emerges in the years to come, it’s worth keeping an open mind and being willing to transform as often as needed.
Re-assess your digital customer experience strategy, the channels you use to interact with customers, and how they feel about your business regularly. Explore new trends as they emerge, from hyper-personalization to proactive service and predictive analysis.
A Digital Customer Experience Strategy for the Future
No matter how large or which industry they serve, every company needs a digital customer experience strategy in 2024. It’s not enough today to simply have a website or mobile app or respond to customer emails. You must ensure you’re leveraging the full benefits of “digital transformation” for the CX landscape.
In the years ahead, this will mean integrating more digital CX channels into your omnichannel plan, from generative AI self-service to extended reality. It also means you’ll need to embrace more advanced technology, from predictive analytics for proactive service to robust analytics tools.
While implementing the best digital customer experience strategy can seem complex, it’s the only way to ensure you can compete in today’s digital-first world.