Digital customer experience refers to the way customers interact with your company's products and services, digitally. It includes all aspects of their customer journey, from initial discovery and research to shopping for - and using - the product or service, evaluating its success or failure, and (hopefully) returning for more.
A customer-first approach
To achieve success, companies need to put customers first, and this means building a comprehensive strategy for every aspect of the customer journey - even the smallest of details can make a huge difference to the overall experience.
It means ensuring every touch-point involving your customer offers value and is a positive experience – from the initial click onto your website, through to point of sale, and after-sales customer service.
Every interaction a customer has with your brand will influence their opinions and feelings, and these emotions play a key role in the likelihood of a repeat sale and word-of-mouth recommendation.
Why is it so important to get the digital customer experience right?
We live in a world of choice - and that means customers have a variety of options when it comes to selecting the products and services they need or want.
Organisations need to be able to differentiate themselves to stand out from the competition. And one way to do this is by providing a superior digital customer experience.
In 2023, there were 2.64 billion online shoppers – a 3.1% year-on-year increase - and over a quarter of total retail sales in the UK in 2022 were online. It’s clear that customers today expect an easy, effective, and competitive online experience. Prioritising the customer experience - especially in the digital space - is more important than ever before.
Customers now expect more from brands and they’re not afraid to move on to another if their expectations aren’t met. It’s very easy for customers to find an alternative provider.
Businesses need to ensure they’re providing a superior digital customer experience if they want to keep customers happy and coming back. It takes just one negative experience for over half (54%) of customers to leave a brand they love and trust.
You really only get one chance to make a good impression. The benefits of providing a superior digital customer experience cannot be ignored.
Increase your connection to your customers
Taking the time to build a strong, positive digital customer experience helps you create a deeper connection with your customers - by providing them with a more personalised, tailored journey.
The brands that stand out often distinguish themselves from the competition by building trust. By being transparent in your business practices - including your use of data and customers’ privacy – and adapting to the changing needs of customers with a consistent, personalised, high-quality experience, you can gain people's trust and build a long-term connection.
Examples include: using social media channels to effectively engage with your audience and respond to messages and comments; interacting with customers to form authentic relationships and connections; and focusing on personalised campaigns through the collection and interpretation of data – for example, spending habits or shopping trends.
Improve efficiency and automation
Automation of processes can be a massive advantage when it comes to improving the customer experience, boosting efficiency, and creating a more personalised experience that improves customer satisfaction. Using automated tools such as chatbots or self-service portals to answer customer queries can help deliver a step-change in customer experience.
Not only does the introduction of automation reduce call centre waiting times - and therefore customer frustration - it can also ensure staff are free to handle more complicated tasks that cannot be resolved by automation.
Good use of automation can also help with personalisation, using data analysis or segmentation to gain real insights into your customers, and AI can help generate tailored messages and personalised content which is more likely to result in conversion.
Increase your revenue and profit
If you can provide an excellent digital customer experience, then you can expect to see an increase in revenue and profit. Customers who've had a positive experience with your brand are more likely to become repeat customers, as well as recommend you to their contacts, their peers, and their friends and family.
Improve your brand reputation
By focusing on providing a positive digital customer experience, you’ll be able to improve your reputation in the eyes of your customers. This is crucial in helping your brand to stand out, and will increase the chance of customers choosing your product or service over a competitor.
Have one space for all your data is invaluable
Valuable data on your customers' behaviours and preferences can be found within your digital and analytics platforms, your CDP (customer data platform), your CRM (customer relationship management) system, and maybe more. Having better access to all customer data - in one place - can be extremely beneficial in driving decisions.
For example, if you discover that one of your customers repeatedly purchases the same item on a regular basis from one of your stores, you can use this data to cross-sell related products to them via email and extract even more value from that loyal customer.
Key customer experience trends for 2024
Here are some of the main trends we think you should look out for in 2024, to help you transform your digital customer experience and do business, better.
1. Smart use of artificial intelligence
AI is already being used to support marketing and customer service teams, but in 2024, AI will become increasingly prevalent as organisations strive to provide a more efficient customer experience.
Around 1000 AI tools were released in March 2023 alone. This is a stark indication that AI is a trend that’s going nowhere and is becoming increasingly impossible for businesses to ignore.
To remain competitive - or even relevant - in 2024, businesses must focus on obtaining a deeper knowledge and understanding of AI, and its uses in improving the overall customer experience.
AI-driven chatbots and voice assistants can be used to answer customer queries quickly and accurately, as well as providing valuable insights into customer behaviour.
AI can be used to help businesses make the most of predictive modelling by taking historical purchase patterns and analysing them more quickly, efficiently, and accurately than humans can. This information can be very useful in crafting and implementing future plans to further boost the customer experience. For example, by determining key points of interest for certain products, or anticipating a major demand for certain items, you can ensure you have adequate stock levels and increased customer service assistance in advance.
2. A focus on providing a personalised service
Personalisation of customer experiences will continue to be a key trend in 2024. 66% of all customers now expect brands to understand their needs, and 52% expect businesses to offer a tailored service.
This means that organisations need to work harder to provide a more tailored, individualised service – a ‘one size fits all’ approach is no longer sufficient.
3. Increased use of mobile & voice assistants
The use of mobile devices is continuing to grow at a rapid rate, and businesses need to ensure their digital customer experience caters for mobile users.
This means ensuring your websites are optimised for mobile devices, as well as developing apps that provide additional features and benefits. In a world dominated by smartphone use, ensuring every interaction your customer has with your brand via mobile is seamless is vitally important in providing an exemplary customer experience.
The use of voice assistants is on the rise, with many organisations now incorporating them into their customer service offerings. 2023 saw around 4.2 billion active voice assistant devices available, and this number is set to rise to 8.4 billion in 2024 – a two-fold increase. By making use of AI-driven voice assistants, you can provide a more efficient and tailored customer experience, and reduce the amount of time spent dealing with customer queries.
4. A focus on the omni-channel experience
The omni-channel experience is set to remain a priority in 2024 - by providing a seamless customer journey across multiple channels, from web to mobile, and social media to in-store and offline.
Despite a huge rise in online shopping and services over the past few years, many customers still visit physical stores for an in-person experience - and this needs to be included in a comprehensive, consistent omni-channel strategy. There needs to be a focus on creating a seamless customer experience from the shop floor to the digital space, whether this be through QR codes allowing customers to see products online whilst in-store, check current stock levels, or easily purchase and order to their home, as desired.
Developing an effective omni-channel marketing strategy can be tricky - but here at DCX, we have the skills and experience to help you perfect your strategy and consider every customer touch-point for a truly unified customer experience.
5. Support for digital processes
It’s going to be important for organisations to offer support to customers and help them navigate new digital processes.
This could include providing help and advice on how to use digital services, as well as offering answers to frequently-asked questions.
By doing this, you can ensure customers feel supported throughout their journey and are more likely to return in the future. Nothing is more alienating for a customer than being faced with complex, confusing processes, especially online, and left with no guidance or support.
6. Looking for new ways to collect feedback
With the rise in digital technology, the ways that customers provide feedback has changed.
In the past, customer feedback was largely based on surveys, but now customers are more likely to leave reviews and provide feedback on social media.
It’s important for businesses to monitor these channels and respond appropriately - and in a timely fashion. All customer feedback - both good and bad should be collected, acknowledged, and acted upon, to ensure customers feel heard, valued, and receive the best experience possible.
7. Higher prices for greater value
2024 looks set to continue the shift in consumer mindset that we’ve seen over the last year or so in that customers are increasingly willing to pay a premium for services that offer more value.
Studies show that 58% of customers will pay more for a positive customer experience, meaning that businesses need to ensure they provide added value - whether this be through personalisation, convenience, or better support - to justify higher prices.
8. A commitment to sustainability
Conversations around sustainability and the environment are set to become even more important in 2024, and businesses need to ensure they are taking steps to reduce their environmental impact and communicating this clearly to customers.
By prioritising a sustainability agenda, organisations can show customers that they are committed to creating a better world - increasing their trust and loyalty in the process.
9. Creating an immersive digital customer experience
Organisations need to be conscious of the importance of creating an immersive digital customer experience.
This means providing customers with a wide range of engaging digital content - such as videos, interactive media, and virtual reality - which offers customers more information about products or services and gives them the details that they need to make an informed purchasing choice.
Providing the customer with greater knowledge and understanding will help to build trust and enhance engagement, as well as foster brand loyalty.
Focus on customer data management
2024 is also set to see an increased focus on customer data management.
Conversations around data privacy and protection continue to remain active, and organisations need to invest in methods of data collection and analysis which protect the privacy of their customers.
Using data and analytics tools can help to automate the data analysis process, extracting insights and making predictions. Having a robust customer data management strategy is no longer an option. It’s a must.
Helping organisations like yours enhance the digital customer experience.
We’ve worked with businesses from various sectors to transform their digital customer experience and the results speak for themselves.
How DCX can help you take your digital customer experience to the next level
A superior digital customer experience is an essential component in ensuring success – but knowing where to get started can be a challenge.
At the heart of the issue is the need to adopt a customer-centric approach, making good use of data, analysis, and AI, to gain a better understanding of your customer, and selecting the best ways to improve the customer journey.
At DCX, we understand the importance of a widespread, comprehensive digital customer experience strategy. As an experienced, digital transformation and marketing agency and consultancy, we have the skills and tools to help your business achieve your growth goals and will work with you to create and implement the ultimate plan to improve the digital customer experience.
Start a conversation with our experts today and let us help you make those all-important first steps.