Customer experience is defined as the sum of all the touchpoints and interactions that a customer has with a brand, product, or service. A strong customer experience adds value to the company both in tangible and intangible forms. Further, it is of primary importance when the industry forces turn against the company. However, since a major proportion of the purchase is shifting online, providing a seamless digital customer experience should be the new priority.
How is digital experience different? You walk into a store, say Zara’s. There is an attendant greeting you, there are collections that you can physically touch and feel, and there are other fellow buyers. However, when you go to the website, the attendance takes the form of a login button. And the product assortments take the form of categories. Other instances of digital customer experiences include researching a product online, using a mobile app to find a store’s nearest location, and searching for tech support information on a smartphone.
Online and offline customers differ significantly in terms of buying behaviour. Going back to the example of the store, factors like the store’s ambience—its temperature, lighting, ambient noise, and music—and its physical location cannot be completely controlled by the brand. For example, there might be a problem with the wi-fi and customers might have to wait a little while longer at the billing counter. In offline store scenarios, customers are willing to set the bar low and forgive some of these incidents but that’s not the case online.
Goals to achieve
Consistency creates loyalty and relies on internal IT
A customer’s loyalty towards a particular brand is like a painting – every individual stroke of the brush combines to create a masterpiece and creates the consumer’s perception of the brand. You remove a few strokes, and the consistency is somewhere lost. For example, you do a web-check 48 hours prior to boarding a flight so that you get the coveted window seat. However, on the day of the journey, when you’re standing at the kiosk with a handful of luggage, the attendant tells you that your booking was not recorded on the portal. Such an incident leaves you confused about your perception. If repeated multiple times, such incidents might erode the brand image completely.
So, it’s quite evident that having a proper IT infrastructure is very important. However, according to this HBR article , more than 64% of companies do not have the appropriate IT infrastructure in place. For instance, there are companies that use Gmail to respond to individual customer complaints and store the data in a spreadsheet. The process is both time-consuming and can also lead to human errors like data inconsistency or missing out the details of a particular customer.
Products like Zendesk help to put all your customer support interactions in one place to promote seamless, personal, and efficient communication. This simply means more productive agents and satisfied customers. There are features that the SaaS product provides keeping in mind various factors like the multiple channels through which customers interact with you, integration with the popular apps, and knowledge base for your customers. Further, there is a separate section for managing tickets, ensuring that none of the grievances goes unaddressed. Another important part is not only storing customer complaints but deriving some meaningful insights out of it. Zendesk Explore, one of its sub-product, provides analytics for businesses to measure and improve the entire customer experience, thus not only providing results but also measuring efficiency. Hence, omnichannel support helps to create reliability by providing a consolidated digital experience.
The three C’s of customer experience – consistency, consistency, and consistency – need to be implemented, be it any product. The greatest example is perhaps that of Apple – coherent product design across all platforms. Adam Richardson, a design and customer experience professional, pointed out that Apple creates common visual and functional patterns across its many different devices, letting users easily migrate between them and keeping them loyal to the brand.
Meet a UI designer and he will tell you the importance of visual consistency, which can either facilitate a flawless communication with customers or make your website/product look all chaotic and confusing. There are various ways to streamline the visual experience of the web products, but let’s talk about the unconventional ones. We all know about Google Analytics, but with increasing user expectations, it’s becoming tough to survive the race using only one tool. Techniques, like using heat maps to understand user’s behaviour, utilizing white spaces, and using the right contrast for all elements of UI design, can be some ways to maintain a good virtual experience.
Here is how the landing page of Dropbox looks like and it’s one of the best examples how all the above have been integrated.
Digital initiatives should complement your existent business ways. Imagine going to the local restaurant to have a simple plain meal and then being asked by the manager to fill a survey about their service online. That for sure would be weird – you had no digital touchpoints with this space till now, and suddenly it makes no sense to take the interaction online. On the other hand, it’s almost every day that we provide recommendations of drivers on Uber. This makes sense because the entire journey was on digital media. Thus, ‘digital’ and ‘online’ are not necessarily words that complement or improve the customer experience.
A better way is to design an app that complements the experience of the customer. For example, the Tata CV commercial app, which is an official app from Tata Motors for the customers of Commercial Vehicles business. This allows users to connect with Tata Motors for their aftermarket needs. It can help book service sessions online post registrations and provide data such as maintenance, service history, booking, reminders, DEF locator, and diesel prices.
Thus, we can say that going digital shouldn’t be a response to an ongoing hype. Rather, it should be done after thoughtful consideration. Going digital and gathering data about customers is just one part of the whole picture – what you do with the data is what matters.