It’s hard to believe that there was once a time that businesses operated solely in-person. Other than the occasional phone call to customer service, almost all interactions with a brand occurred in the store. Today, there are businesses that operate only online, and others have a mix of both in-person and digital experiences. In this blog, we will break down how a digital experience impacts a brand’s overall perception and performance, and where companies should focus their efforts moving forward.
What is a digital experience?
Just like it sounds, digital experience is the culmination of interactions that a customer has with a brand on digital channels. Any channel that is not used face-to-face can be considered a digital channel. Website, chat, social media, phone, email, and text messaging are all examples of digital channels.
The most important part of this definition is the word “cumulation”. It’s important to understand that the digital experience is the totality of every communication– and lack of communication– that a customer experiences.
For example, if a customer tries to contact your brand but has a long time on hold so they never get through, or maybe they send an email with no reply, that is included in their digital experience.
All digital experiences have the ability to make or break a customer’s perception. And while average experiences may not impact the overall perception much, above or below average experiences can stick out to customers. This can ultimately sway them to be loyal forever, or never return again.
So, when it comes to digital channels, it’s important to have a unified, cohesive, and consistent strategy across all possible touchpoints.
How do we ensure all these channels keep consistent and above average quality? See our three best practices here.
Implement technology with a holistic approach
Technology is never a strategy. But rather, technology is a tool to achieve a strategy. Before even thinking about technology, cross-departmental goals and objectives need to be set to steer the direction of the technology. Next, find a technology partner that can work with your brand in a solution-oriented approach to create a holistic integration. You may hear this referred to as omnichannel. All channels should be integrated into the same backend systems to ensure cohesion. In other words, customers can easily switch between channels without sacrificing customer service levels.
All too often, brands implement technology without a holistic approach. As a customer, you’ve probably experienced this. Think to a time when you were made to switch channels in order to get an answer from a brand. Maybe the phone system and the website chat gave different responses. This is an example of disjointed channels. Learn more about a holistic approach to technology here.
Zoom out to see root causes of problems
The best way to zoom out and see the whole customer experience is through customer journey mapping. Customer journey mapping can be used to identify where a problem is, or used to determine the best way to solve a problem. When it comes to the customer experience, which is quite elusive and non-linear, customer journey mapping can give you an overall view to see the root cause of issues and the best approach to solve them. Check out all of our resources on customer journey mapping here.
Measure, measure, measure
How do you know if your channels are cohesive? You’ve got to set up a way to measure! There are several ways to capture measurement of the customer journey: direct, indirect, and inferred. We recommend setting up a Voice of the Customer program in order to have a well-rounded method to capture customer feedback throughout the entire customer experience. Voice of the Customer programs gather data that can feed a customer journey mapping exercise, so that your business can act on insights and patterns that it finds.
How do we balance in person interactions?
Digital experiences will always be a part of our world. Therefore, there should be a heavy focus on digital channels in a brand’s strategy. However, this should not come at the expense of in-person experiences. Instead, strategize ways to merge the two together so that every experience with a brand– whether via digital channels or in person– has the same quality experience. You can learn more about the blending of digital and traditional channels here.