What Makes a Great Digital Customer Experience?

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Brand-customer interaction is increasingly happening online. According to a Forrester report, 54% of consumers contacted brands via email for customer support in 2018, making it the most preferred channel over voice for that year.  

As more and more customers turn to digital platforms, they expect brands to follow them across multiple channels while providing a frictionless experience.

For example, 83% of customers say they want to be able to move between channels when interacting with a brand. But, they also expect these interactions to be smooth, fast and delightful. 

According to a Harvard Business Review article, online consumers are impatient. They expect websites to load within 3 seconds; in fact, a 10-second delay can see 50% of consumers give up on visiting the site.

This integrated, omnichannel, and seamless digital experience presents exciting opportunities for brands to differentiate. 

However, as data has shown, it appears, brands are finding it challenging to dial in on their digital customer experience strategy. And in cases where there’s a digital experience roadmap, brands and consumers differ on what a great digital customer experience entails.

Craig Borowski writing for HBR reported that they found in one of their studies that “90% of consumers have had one or more deal-breaker digital experience when using a mobile device to search for customer service information.”

A more recent survey from XM Institute showed that 60% of companies think they have great mobile experiences, but only 20% of customers agree.

Given the strategic role great digital customer experience plays in ensuring customer satisfaction and brand loyalty, differentiation from competing companies and growing revenue, it becomes vital that businesses understand consumer expectations, in terms of DCX, and map out a proven plan on how to implement delightful digital experience for their customers.

To this end, we explored how brands can provide great digital customer experience and provide examples of companies currently crushing it online.

But first, 

What is great digital customer experience?

Digital customer experience is the sum of all the experiences consumers have when they interact with a brand across digital channels.

A ‘great’ digital customer experience implies providing a fast, responsive and frictionless experience for consumers as they switch between channels in their journey towards becoming clients.

Brands with great DCX provide a cohesive and consistent online experience that delights their customers. Regardless of which channel the customer is engaging the brand on, the experience is the same.

5 Tips for great digital customer experience

1. Deliver Excellent Digital User Interactions Across All Devices

Customers are brutally unforgiving of brands that provide a bad digital experience. To them, there’s no excuse for not making their online experience frictionless.

Researchers at Microsoft found that a 250 milliseconds delay in site load time could cause 50% of the traffic to drop off.

Throw in that 88% of consumers who have had a bad experience with a website are less likely to return it begins to become clear how much importance brands should attach to creating excellent digital user interactions across the board.

Uber is a clear example of a brand providing an excellent digital experience for users. 

With an intuitive interface, users, whether on the website or using the app, can easily and quickly find whatever they are searching for.

Every element on their site is clearly labeled, and concise descriptions tacked below to allow users, even first-timers, know without thinking what each is for.

When thinking about building seamless digital experience, the first step is to understand customer behaviours and to map their journey.

You will want to focus on identifying key moments in their journey where brand perceptions and loyalty are formed and then, optimise those critical moments for the best possible experience.

To do this, however, these two vital questions must be asked:

  • How usable and accessible are your brand digital assets? Can users navigate through the website or use the app without overthinking? Does the site or app solve the problems it sets out to solve efficiently?

  • Are the brand digital assets mobile-friendly? Does the site render-well on other devices?

Accessibility and usability are the twin pivot of excellent user experience. Customers must have the ability to access the brand’s digital assets without difficulties, and of course, the asset must do what it promises to do.

Also, consumers must be able to interact with the brand from different devices without hassles.

2. Provide a Consistent User Experience Across Channels

Today’s customers are talking to brands from different channels – from large screen to mobile phone, back to a large screen or to a brick-and-mortar shop.

And they expect companies to update their information as they move between channels. For example, 89% of customers get frustrated when they have to repeat their answers to multiple customer agents.

Lack of consistent experience can erode customer loyalty over time. However, when done right, providing consistent user experience can build trust and improve brand reputation.

As such, brands must develop an omnichannel approach that enables them to provide seamless and consistent experiences to their users across several channels.

Starbucks does a pretty good job of harnessing the power of consistent omnichannel experience to build authority and trust.

The Starbucks app allows users to order and pay for their coffee before going to the shop to pick it. While on the surface, it looks like any other company app, it’s real power lies in the integrated strategy behind it.

For example, users can cut the usual in-store wait time when they order on the app or online. They only have to walk into the Starbucks store and get their order. Customer information is updated in real-time and across multiple channels, thereby making the experience as frictionless as possible. 

When thinking about implementing an omnichannel strategy, here are a couple of things to consider:

  • How do you track customers and identify the stage they are in the buyer journey? Consider deploying customer relationship management systems to help you segment and tag different customer categories and be able to manage customer relationships more effectively.

  • How do you provide a consistent experience across channels? Be sure to optimise each customer-brand interaction based on the track the user is using.

3. Make it Convenient & Easy for Users 

Self-service options, Live chat features and Chatbot-powered support are becoming increasingly popular for a reason – customers want to solve their issues or find answers with little to no human interactions.

In fact, 64% of customers say they are happy to get service from a bot as long as there’s an option to talk to a human when needed. While 92% of customers say, they are satisfied using Live chat support

A great digital customer experience strategy focuses on simplicity and ease of use. Design interfaces with lots of whitespaces and neatly place elements where users can quickly see and navigate to them.

When a user visits the Airbnb website, they are immediately drawn into the inviting, well-laid-out interface. 

Airbnb does an excellent job of creating a digital experience that is both easy to navigate and enjoyable. Users can quickly use the prominent search tool at the top of the page to navigate to any part of the site, thereby saving them time.

4. Personalised Messaging and Services

Customers want to feel that brands care about them and not just after their wallets. 79% of U.S-based consumers say they only consider brands they feel care about them.

An Accenture report showed that customers feel digital experiences are falling below expectations. However, 91% of consumers say they are likely to shop with brands that recognise, remember, and provide them with relevant offers and recommendations.

Thankfully, with technology, companies can now acquire the capability to create a 360-degree view of their customers and consequently provide personalised experiences for each consumer.

A casestudy from myToys shows successfully how personalised messaging affects conversion rate by using in-session trigger emails for longer sessions and frequent page views. 

For example, if a customer searches for a doll several times but breaks off the purchase, he later receives an email with this and similar offers.

In-session triggers are precisely tailored to the current phase of the customer’s journey in order to achieve better customer loyalty and create an effective purchase incentive.

With personalised newsletters myToys achieves a conversion rate that is almost 3 times compared to the standard newsletter.

5. Make The Experience Never Ending

An excellent digital customer experience strategy takes into consideration what happens after users become customers. And, of course, ensures even after the sale, that customers continue to enjoy a memorable experience with the brand.

While post-sale customer experience may not come naturally to most brands, it is, in reality, a key strategy to build brand loyalty and to extend the customer lifetime value.

As data have shown, a 5% increase in retention could help companies increase profits by anything from 25% to 95%.

By implementing a never-ending digital customer experience strategy, not only would brands build their reputation, they are more likely to retain existing customers and ultimately impact their bottom line.

Amazon is a leading example of a company with never-ending customer experience.

From the moment an order is confirmed, Amazon sends an email notification that has all the details about the purchase to the customer. They also send the order tracking number so the customer can track their purchase.

And then, there’s the phone call follow-up to shoppers, all of which contribute to the favourable brand perception Amazon enjoys.

Here are a couple of things you can do to implement a never-ending customer experience:

  • Send branded email confirmations after a purchase

  • Conduct a post-purchase survey

  • Send product care tips that teach them the best ways to care for their products.

  • How-to guides helping customers to get the most out of their product.

Today’s customers are savvier, demanding and have more options than ever before. Brands that win are those that go the extra length to ensure excellent digital customer experience at every touchpoint of their interactions.

Creating a consistent, frictionless digital experience, designing websites and apps that are easy to use, leveraging personalisation and ensuring a never-ending customer experience are some of the ways to build great digital customer experience.

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