Digital Customer Experience: 2022 and beyond

A great digital customer experience ensures that your customers feel valued and understood, irrespective of the platform or channel they reach out on, along their customer journey. Each customer interaction needs to be smooth, convenient, and hassle-free. Needless to say, a customer-centric strategy is imperative for both physical and digital customer experiences. However, with Forbes reporting that eCommerce penetration hit 21.3 percent in 2020, up from 15.8 percent in 2019, the need for a seamless digital customer experience is more important than ever.1

Digital transformation accelerated in 2021 and we found that customers have responded positively towards digital-first businesses. How are these companies delivering personalized experiences for their customers? How are they enabling their employees to exceed customer expectations as they continue to support remote work? How are they leveraging automated workflows to improve customer engagement across digital channels? Let’s dive in.

What is Digital Customer Experience?

Digital customer experience is the online journey your customers go through while interacting with your brand. This may include activities such as an online search for your product to understand its features, browsing through the online marketplace for reviews, enquiring about customer support or self-service portals for assistance around the service, or interaction on your mobile app. Many companies still have a hard time defining what a good customer experience should look like. That doesn’t have to be the case for you and your business.

Here are a few resources that you can leverage to differentiate your digital customer experience strategy:

  1. The Ultimate Customer Experience Design Toolkit
  2. Retail Customer Experience done right in a Digital-First Era
  3. The Complete Guide to Customer Experience (CX)

As per the latest reports by Digital Commerce 360, 64% of surveyed shoppers opted for mobile and contactless pickup options, with 79% highlighting the absolute need for contactless store pickup. This implies that your approach to digital customer experience needs to be different but equally valued in your customer experience journey.

digital customer experience

For example, an offline retail customer experience can be affected by a number of factors, like weather conditions, store lighting, product display, or even the behavior of fellow customers. Offline business operations have to be customized to cater to external factors for delivering a consistent experience. It’s easier to navigate through customer queries face to face, helping you to delight them with more information about the products and services of their choice to the extent that customer satisfaction is guaranteed.

However, an online-first business requires an equally intuitive digital experience to manage customer interactions across various digital channels. A Digital Experience Platform leverages customer data and equips the businesses with customer insights that improve digital interaction across interfaces and help promote customer retention. Now measure customer experience like a pro with Opinyin’s native Freshdesk integration.

Why is Digital Customer Experience important?

Industry leaders have realized the importance of investing in CX initiatives. They expect an exponential increase in business revenue owing to the seamless experience promised and provided to the users, and it’s easy to see why – 

A recent PWC report found that a great digital customer experience guarantees a higher share of wallet. 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience.2 This means that the more expensive an item is, the more is the willingness to pay. The PWC report also shares that the customers are willing to pay a price premium of up to 13% (and as high as 18%) for luxury and indulgence services, simply by receiving a great customer experience. The pandemic observed an increase in impulse buyers across the globe and customer-centric efforts by brands further added on to the revenue. In fact, companies that valued customer service saw additional revenue growth of 4% to 8%.3

Another reason why you need to personalize customer journeys is that if customers cannot find what they need within a few clicks or scrolls, they’ll leave your page. The probability of a bounce increases by 32% if a customer has to wait just one to three seconds for your page to load.4 Data also suggests that 50% of people are likely to abandon your website if it doesn’t load in less than three seconds.5 The slower your load time, the lower your conversion rates will be. Researchers at Microsoft found that a website starts losing traffic to competitors if it takes just 250 milliseconds longer to load.

The moral of the story? When online shoppers are not satisfied with the user experience, they lose interest in your brand. That’s why you need to diligently monitor and optimize your company’s digital customer experience.

How can Digital Customer Experience be improved?

#1 Website optimization

We just discussed the ramifications of slow loading time. It degrades your customer experience and costs you business revenue. That is why it’s probably one of the first challenges you should overcome while crafting your digital customer journey.

A recent study showed that AutoAnything reduced their load time by 50% which resulted in a 13% increase in sales and a 9% increase in conversion rate. The same study also found that reduced their load time by seven seconds and witnessed a 17% increase in page views and a 3% increase in ad revenue.6

You can also take your digital customer experience to the next level, here’s what we recommend:

  • Reduce redirects
  • Reduce image size
  • Minify and combine files
  • Choose a more powerful web host
  • Cut back on the number of plugins you have installed on your website

These quick and easy steps will get you started but it’s just the beginning of an improved digital interface that offers seamless digital services.

#2 Tools and Technology upgrades

Making inroads in digital customer experience is not possible without a motivated and highly equipped customer-facing workforce. For an agile and well-connected work environment, it is imperative to adopt the right tools and technological advancements. Don’t forget that cloud technology and SaaS tools are now an integral part of digital customer experience and support processes.

Customer touch-point tools and technologies are a great value-add to digital customer experience and customer service practitioners. These tools enable increased productivity, simplified processes, and seamless cross-team collaboration. As a result, your agents feel empowered to make informed decisions and delight your customers.

Here’s a recommended list of tools that can ramp up your Digital Customer Experience strategy:

  • Live chat: You can add the Live chat feature to your website by deploying Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, or any messaging platform. Since the conversations are asynchronous, people find chat to be a no-frills medium to reach out for support.
  • Chatbots: A chatbot is a live chat plug-in that can automate answers to basic queries and facilitate agent hand-off when the situation demands. You can leverage the AI (artificial intelligence) enabled customer support to automate resolutions, reduce handle time and improve CSAT scores.
  • Self-service: Self-service in customer support refers to the presence of a knowledge base, FAQ Page, solution articles, and community forums that empower customers to find answers by themselves, without the need to reach out to agents for help. Remember: Self-service portals are an extension of your help desk that enhances the digital customer experience.
  • Help desk: A help desk is essentially a customer service software that enables businesses to organize and manage their customer interactions. The interactions are aimed at building trust by providing personalized support, resolving issues quickly, and being proactive and empathetic towards customer expectations.

#3 Omnichannel Support

Yet another way to create a great digital customer experience is to offer omnichannel support. Recent research by NICE inContact shows that 72% of consumers expect the companies to know their purchase history regardless of the customer service channel or type of issue reported. The same study also found that customers expect to continue talking to the same support agent even after switching channels. This just helps them to avoid sharing details and issues yet again if another agent comes to their rescue. Regardless of the support channel that a customer uses to initially reach out to you, they want their experience to be seamless.

For this reason, businesses should consider turning their digital customer support into omnichannel experiences. That way, if a customer begins a conversation with your brand by asking a chatbot some questions on your site, their queries can easily be handed over to a live agent in case it’s not resolved in time. An omnichannel setting enables a support agent with access to customer metrics across communication channels. Irrespective of the platform your customer chooses to interact via, the support team can seamlessly converse with the customers without asking for the information.

For instance here’s a screenshot of Freshdesk’s omnichannel dashboard, where you can find all customer queries and digital touchpoints in one central location–so your agents can serve customers with clarity.

digital customer experience - omnichannel

With an omnichannel help desk, agents can also refer to past queries across all channels at once, like phone, chat, email, social, website portals, and e-commerce support.

3 Digital Customer Experience trends

#1 Get ready for Hyper-personalized chat interactions

Since chat has been identified as a high-touch channel for quick communication, it is the best place to delight customers with hyper-personalized interactions. Consumer metrics can be analyzed and leveraged to trigger customized chatbot conversations to suit customer needs.

chatbots in digital customer expeience

#2 Video customer service to win over customers

Self-service was originally touted to be a ticket deflection center to improve agent productivity. However, customers have acknowledged their love for self-service, especially with quick and efficient knowledge base solutions to their rescue without going through the hassle of reaching out to an agent for that resource.

Similarly, video customer service has become a personal favorite for customers who choose to interact with all brands from the comfort of their house. Remote customer service has paved the golden route to please customers via video interactions. From Video KYC to how-to manuals, product reviews, and feature upgrades, customers expect an interactive medium to understand better about the services they pay for. Video customer service is here to stay and help customers get a first-hand perspective of the reported issues and workarounds.

video customer support - digital customer experience

#3 Employee experience: The priority for all

According to Gallup, companies with engaged workforces outperform their peers by 147% in earnings per share. This suggests that a highly engaged workforce can translate to a superior digital customer experience. Employee experience is gradually warming up to get its due recognition as it’s a cornerstone to creative collaboration and meaningful discussions. 

Workplace by Facebook is a classic example of apps that improve employee experience, as it encourages product-based and uses case-specific conversations–with the potential to churn out great business ideas right from frontline support to C-level executives. Collaboration between employees within the customer service tools and technologies can also improve the digital customer experience at scale.

Digital Customer Experience: A Business Differential

Bazaarvoice states that 62% of consumers shop online more than they did before the pandemic. Thanks to social media, the verdict is out. Your customers expect to click a mouse or tap a screen and get what they need in seconds. According to Social Stamina, 64% of customers expect a reply within an hour of posting on Twitter, and 85% of customers expect a company to respond within six hours. The longer it takes for their questions to be answered, the sooner they switch to your competitor. You may leverage customer data to craft personalized experiences to ‘wow’ your customers but you need curated reports for quick insights and custom reports that improve shareability for better collaboration. Here’s how Freshdesk Analytics has you covered.

We have also identified some resources to help you differentiate your business from the rest:

  1. Deliver AI-enabled customer experience
  2. Reach customers on their favorite apps
  3. Digitally Transform your enterprise
  4. First-timers navigate Digital Transformation Customer Service
  5. The price of enabling Digital Customer Experience

Remember, customers need to feel good about their interactions with businesses, or they won’t stick around to make a purchase. This is especially true for digital-first businesses, where customers judge your brand based on ease-of-access, website experience, consistency in messaging, and support across channels. Here’s where a digital customer experience strategy can showcase your unique value to potential customers, earn their trust, boost conversions, and nurture long-lasting relationships with customers.