Before we begin our discussion into digital customer experience and how it must be improved, we must first understand what it is to be digital.
In today’s world, the word digital has various meaning. While for some, digital is a new way of doing business, for others, it is an innovative way of catering to their audience, while still others believe that it is being connected to everyone at all times. Really, all these definitions are correct because digital encompasses a huge avenue of things.
According to Merriam-Webster, digital means “characterized by electronic and especially computerized technology.” So then, anything to do with the use of computers and the electronically communicated information is digital.
Computer technology, and the internet specifically, have been catalysts and enablers in redefining and revolutionizing the way businesses across the world function. The penetration of the internet across the length and breadth of the world is staggering.
According to the 2018 Global Digital suite of reports by We Are Social and Hootsuite, more than half the world’s population is online! And over 40 percent of the world’s population is active on social media. What a massive impact is the digital interface having on the world!
In such an age, where half the world is online and can access anything at the click of a button, customers have myriad choices to look into. Further, location is also not a constraint in the interconnected web. The price of products and services are also extremely competitive because of easy accessibility to products and services that were earlier out of reach due to geographical constraints. Also, various studies have corroborated that customers do not hesitate to pay extra to gain a good experience. So, what then could attract a potential customer into buying your product when neither location nor price is a constraint? What could be a differentiator for you today? There is only one answer – the customer experience!
In the digital era, we believe three mediums of communication are of utmost importance – the website, social media, and the mobile phone. Let’s understand more about these mediums.
Towards the end of the 20th century, website development was still in its nascent stage. Websites were, then, akin to catalogs that gave information about the company, the board members, and the products. They were cumbersome in terms of design, functionality, and the overall purpose. Have a look at the Apple website in 1997, and you would understand what I mean. The colors are jarring, the information is overloaded, and the many fonts are aesthetically not pleasing.
Today, however, websites are mediums of selling – a staggering 61% of B2B buyers said that they started their purchase journey with a general web search. In such a scenario, the website and the website content are major factors in decision-making for the customer.
The current Apple.com website is below. Minimalistic, nuanced, wieldy, and aesthetically pleasing.
The user experience on websites today has gained massive prominence, and rightly so.
How can you improve the experience of a user along with gaining benefits? Here are a few simple points to consider:
Social media today is a necessary evil – it is a double-edged sword. While positive reviews can massively enhance brand image, negative reviews also spread like wildfire, adversely impacting the brand. Customers are all over social media; they are on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. In just a decade, social media users have almost tripled! And that is huge!
Further, these users are on social media all the time.
In such a scenario, if your brand is not on social media, you are certainly missing out catering to your potential customers. To add to that, your competitors certainly are, so you know where your potential customers are going.
How can you make the user experience better for your customers on social media?
The mobile phone is ubiquitous. Over two-thirds of the world population has a mobile phone. And while the smartphone is not as common as a regular cellphone, its growth has been nothing short of meteoric.
The fact that most people check their phones within five minutes of waking up is a testimony of how much importance it holds for today’s generation. The average user spends over three hours each day on the mobile. Moreover, the usage of apps have also massively increased in recent times. While smartphones have revolutionized the way the world communicates, they have also changed the face of customer experience. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that in today’s world, mobile-first must be the anthem for all businesses. So, to not be left behind, businesses must optimize the mobile experience for users.
Here are a few ways in which mobile experience can be improved.
In sum, a digital experience can be defined as that sum total of all the experiences that a customer has with a brand using digital technologies such as the mobile phones and the computers. Going digital is the way forward for all brands. While it has made it easy for companies to interact with their customers, it has also made customers more demanding. Due to the proliferation of digital interfaces, brands must take the onus to improve the digital experience to provide more convenience to customers.
Ultimately, your brand’s experience is largely defined by its digital experience. It is an opportunity to businesses to grab – improve your customers’ digital experience and you have enhanced the overall customer experience by several notches!
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