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The Ins and Outs of Building an Ideal Digital Customer Experience

Your digital customer experience — the content and quality of all the digital interactions customers have with your business, taken together — is a relatively broad concept with major implications on your company's reputation and bottom line.

How your customers can virtually access, understand, and engage with your company covers several bases and touchpoints — and it's in your best interest to account for and refine your approach towards all of them.

Elements like payment methods, online customer service channels, and email outreach all play a role, and if you want to get the most of your digital CX, you need to incorporate certain best practices and be mindful of certain trends.

Here we'll go over some of the most important ones to consider when constructing your digital customer experience.

1. Ensure a high-quality experience at all your channels and touchpoints.

If you want to get the most out of your digital customer experience, you need to take an omnichannel approach — providing customers with a user-friendly, seamless experience that spans a variety of devices and potential touchpoints.

Modern prospects and customers can engage with you wherever, whenever, however — leaning into that kind of flexibility with helpful, thoughtfully constructed UX from every possible angle can only help your cause.

You can start by bolstering and refining your mobile experience — making sure your mobile site isn't just your desktop website condensed onto a smaller screen. Also, make sure prospects and customers can easily contact you, no matter their preferred communication method.

That means taking the time to hone how you communicate via phone, chat, SMS, email, or any other avenue customers can take to get in touch with you. Customers want an exceptional digital CX that functions at every turn — so be sure to cover every base you can think of.

2. Offer opportunities for your customers to provide feedback and be willing to apply it.

Letting your customers have a stake in your plans is a good policy for any kind of customer experience, and digital is no exception. So don't be reluctant to ask for their feedback online.

Let them air some praise and frustration via live chat. Include surveys to gauge how they feel about your experience immediately after engaging with it. Keep careful tabs on reviews and social media mentions.

One way or another, hear your customers and don't let what they have to say go to waste. If you're finding problems your company is consistently facing, don't just sit on them and keep doing what you're doing. See if you can remedy those issues, and show your customers you legitimately value them — not just their business.

3. Leverage chatbots and other virtual assistants.

A solid digital customer experience rests, in large part, on responsiveness. Prospects and customers are going to have needs, questions, and requests that come up on the fly.

If you want to make sure their experience is as seamless, engaging, and helpful as possible, you need to include resources to immediately address and allay some of those problems.

That's where chatbots and virtual assistants come in. They provide your customers with a forum to submit issues and concerns and (hopefully) be pointed in the right direction, straight off the bat.

These kinds of resources take some strain off your customers by reliably putting them in touch with the right information or people at the right time. Reducing that kind of friction is one of the better ways to make life easier for your customers and improve your digital experience as a result.

4. Emphasize self-service.

Modern customers tend to be self-sufficient. Many want to avoid directly corresponding with your service team whenever possible. That's why it serves you to give them some self-service options for remedying issues that don't necessarily warrant a full walkthrough from customer support.

Resources like knowledge bases and FAQ pages can be massive assets when trying to improve your digital customer experience. By making that kind of information both readily available and easily digestible, you can ease potential customer frustration, reduce friction in your digital CX, and even take some unnecessary strain off your service team.

Applying these best practices will undoubtedly help you improve your digital customer experience, but if you really want a leg up, you need to be mindful of some emerging trends in the digital CX construction process.

1. Chatbots and other virtual assistants will have a more

significant presence.

As I mentioned, incorporating chatbots and virtual assistants is a good policy for any company looking to bolster its digital customer experience. But nowadays, that "good policy" is turning into a bonafide necessity.

Chatbot and virtual assistant software are abundant and accessible. Businesses looking to leverage these kinds of resources have several options — of varying sophistication and affordability — at their disposal.

That kind of broad availability and tremendous utility make an investment in a chatbot and virtual assistant software perfectly sensible and well worth the price. The best digital customer experiences make life simpler for customers — these kinds of programs can only help that case.

2. Companies will prioritize more personalized

experiences.

It might go without saying, but customers are individuals — real people with their own interests, problems, and preferences — and they like to be treated as such. That's why most digital customer experiences are shifting to reflect that.

More businesses are creating detailed buyer personas to better understand the various bases they appeal to and acting on that insight to tailor experiences that suit them.

The days of one-size-fits-all CX are behind us — companies need to understand who they're reaching and hash out what kinds of experiences those customers will be most receptive to.

Going forward, you'll likely see companies leverage the data they have access to to improve the more immediately personal aspects of their digital customer experiences — particularly when it comes to elements like email outreach and other modes of communication.

3. You'll need to respect customer privacy more than ever.

Ideally, your consumer relationships are rooted in trust and transparency. Your customers are willing to share their data with you — typically on the condition that you use it responsibly and respectfully. That generally entails applying it to provide them with content, offers, and other suggestions that suit their preferences.

Nowadays, that "condition" is a bit more high-stakes. Undermining that trust and transparency can have real financial, reputational, and legal consequences — and you can't bank on that trend slowing anytime soon.

Regulatory measures like General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) are setting new standards for protecting consumer privacy, and the penalties for trying to skirt those laws are far from trivial.

Going forward, businesses will need to be mindful of and open about how they collect data from their customers. And that's important to bear in mind when constructing a digital customer experience. Make sure the CX infrastructure you put in place is in keeping with these regulations, and be prepared to adjust it should the goalposts move again.

4. Incorporating AR into your experience could be a big

help.

Businesses can gain a lot from creative applications of new technology — a principle that holds true when it comes to improving digital customer experiences.

Incorporating recent innovations is an often-effective way to shake up your CX and provide your customers with assistance in ways they might have never thought of.

One emerging tech that fits that bill is augmented reality (AR). It allows customers to overlay digital visualizations to their actual surroundings — a function that could prove particularly useful to businesses selling physical products, providing customers with a picture of how a product would fit into their lives.

For instance, IKEA started using AR to show customers how pieces of furniture will look in their homes in 2014.

Obviously, AR won't be a fit for every business, but it's still an excellent avenue for certain companies to add a fresh, dynamic element to their digital customer experiences. Expect to see more of it, from here on out.

The quality of your digital customer experience can make or break the effectiveness of your online presence. If there's any single principle that underscores every point in this article, it's this — make things easier for your customers. A good digital CX is seamless and simple.

You want to keep customers' virtual engagements with your business as straightforward as possible. Do everything you can to reduce friction and, in turn, ease frustration.

If you keep that in mind and consider as many angles and touchpoints as you can, you'll be in an excellent position to construct an appealing digital customer experience that delivers the results you're looking for.

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