It’s crazy to think that, just a few months prior, there were still companies out there who didn’t understand the value of taking their business online. Yes, back in 2019, and despite multiple news outlets claiming its end, the brick-and-mortar stores were still thriving and far, far from being extinct. So why would you even need an online presence?
But then everything changed when 2020 happened.
The Digital Revolution and the Evolution of Business
Now, physical stores are pretty much shuttered up for good, not just here but everywhere else around the world. Sure, some countries are trying their best to reopen businesses, but with a vaccine against one of the deadliest viruses the world has ever faced still years (perhaps even decades) away, the only hope for businesses to survive and thrive in the new normal is by going completely digital.
Here’s the good news: it’s not actually that hard! Technological advances over the past decade, not to mention rapidly changing customer behavior, have made shifting to a digital platform so much easier. But shifting to digital to survive is one thing; actually thriving in the digital space is a whole other ballgame. Thankfully, there are tons of high-quality digital marketing services available to businesses, but companies still need to understand why they need them.
With the digital revolution of the 2010s come an evolution in how customers and businesses interact with one another. In today’s world, ensuring positive customer experience is crucial to the survival of any business. If a customer isn’t happy, they won’t shop with you anymore, it’s that simple. But how does this translate to the digital world?
Every digital platform that your business occupies will have an effect on the customer experience as a whole, so you’re going to have to make sure that every single step your customer takes in their buyer’s journey is smooth, seamless, and subtle. Anything short of that, and you’ll be faced with high traffic but low conversions. Not good, but if you outsource web design and web development to a great third-party provider, you wouldn’t have to worry about it.
So, how can you make sure that your company’s website or digital platforms offer a positive customer experience? Let’s take a look.
But First, What is Customer Experience?
Now that we’ve tackled the why’s, let’s look at the ‘what’ before going into the ‘how’. What exactly is customer experience? Well, according to experts, customer experience is the interaction between a company and its customer as it is perceived from the customer’s point of view.
Sounds simple enough, but the consequences of it are far-reaching, especially in the digital business space. For the modern consumer, how they interact with a business –from how they feel about your branding and the way you present yourself online to the sustainability of your business model and your stance on ethical issues –is one of the most, if not the most, important considerations they think about before patronizing that business.
We cannot overstate the value and importance of a positive customer experience in the digital world, and whether they experience it on your website or on your social media platforms, there are certain steps you can take to improve customer experience. Here are some of them:
Increase Your Customer Interactions
One of the best ways to keep your customers within your digital sphere of influence is to create as many opportunities to interact with them as possible. This can be anything from chat bots and special offers to highly engaging blog posts and surveys.
Videos and images are great, but they need to be media that customers can like, share, and comment on. Remember: when it comes to the digital world, views and site visits are good, but unique user interactions are even better.
The ways and means you can leverage to have your audiences interacting with you are myriad, get as creative as possible. However, all of that will be for nothing if you don’t optimize your website first.
Beef Up Your Website’s Look and Security
Of all the things people value when they’re visiting a website, other than design, is privacy. In fact, 47% of people say that their privacy and security is of utmost importance. Aside from a seamless UI/UX (user interface/user experience), cyber security should be your digital presence’s prime goal.
Customers hate websites that give out their private information to third-party providers without their permission or knowledge. Be transparent about how your digital platforms handle their data, and more importantly, be responsible about it. Do those two things, and customer interaction with not just your website, but your business in general, increases immensely.
Make Sure Your Digital Platforms are Working
Of course, beautiful website designs and robust cyber security protocols won’t mean much if your website or social media platforms aren’t responding properly. Always monitor the performance of your digital presence and ensure that it is working 100% of the time, and it’s working the way you intend it to. Work closely with your web design and development team so that they’re always aware if a customer experiences any difficulty using your website.
Social media platforms should also be monitored closely: make sure that your social media managers are monitoring your platforms and that all your business collaterals are working as intended. Perform regular optimization tests on both your website and your social media, both for desktop and mobile users.
Speaking of the latter…
Optimize Your Digital Presence Across All Devices
87% of millennials and Gen Z (i.e., your business’ ideal market) access the internet via a mobile device, be it a smartphone or a tablet computer. Even when they’re shopping in a brick-and-mortar store, the kids rely on the internet to access information about products and services, so make sure that your online presence works seamlessly on mobile.
Unfortunately, many companies still overlook how their digital presence is presented when it’s accessed through mobile. Don’t make the same mistake and make your branding consistent whether they see it at home on their desktop or when they’re out and about with their smartphones.
Make Customer Data Consistent Across All Your Digital Platforms
The digital business space consists of your website and multiple social media platforms, and another thing customers hate is multiple logins. After all, in this age of instant information, adding another two or three steps just to access something online is a huge hassle.
Optimize your customer’s data, login information, and shopping behaviors across all channels, whether it’s your website, your Facebook page, your Instagram account, and other e-commerce platforms. Facilitate a seamless transition between these platforms and learn from the data that you collect to improve customer experience even more.
Last, But Not The Least, Be Social!
But perhaps the best way to increase customer interaction on your website and other digital platforms? Be social! In a recent study, a whopping 52% of customers using digital channels expect the business to reply within 30 minutes or less. And forget about auto-generated spiels: people want personalized interactions that make them feel like their questions are being handled directly.
At the end of the day, the customer experience is made better when they can access your company’s information seamlessly, across different digital channels, without extra steps, and if they’re made to feel like a human is taking care of their issues.
Lila Shearsmith is the Head of Business Development at Axadra. She has been in the BPO and KPO industry for almost 20 years, not to mention, has been an advocate of Inbound Marketing with hands-on experience in Inbound Driven Sales, development of strategic sales processes and digital marketing strategy projects for companies in Australia, the UK and the US. When she’s not working or seen speaking at conferences, she’s either underwater doing scuba, travelling, doing yoga or curled up with a good book (kindle of course).