Providing an excellent customer experience (CX) is crucial to businesses who seek to outperform their competition in the digital age. Notably, 73% of consumers say CX is the top factor in their purchasing decisions. As consumers continue to move to online shopping, the digital customer journey will increasingly define the customer experience.
Simply put, CX is the entirety of a consumer’s experience with a business across all touchpoints. It begins during the consumer’s initial research and brand exposure and extends beyond the final purchase. With eCommerce booming and more businesses marketing their products and services online, the digital customer journey has taken on outsized importance. So, businesses that use online channels to attract and retain customers should pay close attention to the digital elements of the customer journey.
Consumers have high CX expectations, particularly regarding customer service, website navigation, and mobile shopping experiences. In this guide, we’ll explore five ways you can put customers at the center of these crucial elements of the eCommerce landscape.
1. Start Your Digital Journey Mapping
Improving online consumer experiences with your business or brand begins with digital customer journey mapping. This practical research activity helps businesses identify both the strengths and weaknesses of their existing user experience (UX) models. It involves detailed visualizations that track consumer experiences across the entire digital customer journey.
Specific elements of a customer journey map vary by the nature of the business and the consumers it serves. But in general, they incorporate four core elements:
- Customer personas. Customer personas are demographics-based representations of a company’s current or desired customer base. They help businesses understand the objectives, expectations, motivations, and behaviors of specific customer types.
- Consumer touchpoints. Touchpoints describe all points of interaction between prospects or customers and a business. This is across all stages of the customer journey, on both online and offline channels. For instance, brand exposure, visits to the company website, phone or email communications, and in-person interactions.
- Pain and pleasure points. Pain points are areas where consumers typically encounter difficulty, obstacles, or frustrations in meeting their objectives. Pleasure points are the opposite: these elements of the digital customer journey inspire positive feelings.
- Channel mapping. Channel maps track and visualize the various ways businesses and consumers might interact. Examples include desktop and mobile websites, social media, email, live chat, and telephone calls.
Survey data plays a critical role in effective digital customer journey mapping. It helps businesses better understand customer needs, objectives, and the pain and pleasure points they experience during interactions. Accuracy and detail are key; without them, your journey map won’t be specific enough to use.
2. Personalize the Digital Customer Journey
Businesses that personalize their CX models to the unique needs and preferences of individual customers tend to see better results. From a strategic viewpoint, businesses should try to deliver a highly customized experience that’s consistent across both platforms and devices.
Marketers can leverage tools and technologies such as user data and personalization engines to individualize user experiences. These techniques help businesses connect with the right consumers in the right ways at the right times along the digital customer journey.
Specifically, effective approaches to personalization seek to address pain points, maximize pleasure points, and build empathy with the consumer. They also provide useful, individually tailored product or service recommendations. So, if a customer buys a sweater, you might suggest pants, shoes, and other accessories to complete the look.
3. Build An Omnichannel Customer Experience
One highly effective way to improve the digital customer experience is to integrate the various consumer touchpoints and interaction channels into a unified, cohesive service model. This empowers businesses to deliver a consistent cross-channel experience regardless of how a consumer interacts with the business.
Businesses can use several strategies to craft and refine omnichannel approaches to CX. For instance, surveys with open-ended questions give customers a chance to share individual feedback. Trends often emerge from survey data that show areas and opportunities to change approaches or improve consistency.
You might also focus on a compact number of interaction channels along the digital customer journey. This is particularly useful for smaller enterprises with limited resources. While it’s helpful for businesses to build presences across every available channel, many provide better service when they target a smaller number of high-volume touchpoints. This approach makes it easier for businesses to achieve and maintain consistency in their customer service.
4. Data-Driven Decisions Through Customer Feedback
Authentic customer feedback helps businesses base their decision-making on both quantitative and qualitative data. This improves results, as it helps businesses identify and address specific pain points while maximizing the impact and reach of its pleasure points in the digital customer journey.
In addition to surveys, businesses can collect customer feedback from:
- Customer interviews
- Focus groups
- Online forums, support requests, and email campaigns
- Website analytics
What’s more, businesses can use automated tools to extract keywords and identify trends in their customer-generated data. Customized tools have the most accuracy, but they’re time-consuming and costly to build. Instead, consider third-party tools or outsourcing your data analysis to a specialist firm like UpTop.
5. Offer Consistent Touch Points Within the Digital Customer Journey
Inconsistency can have profoundly negative impacts on the digital customer journey. It tends to lower customer satisfaction and endanger customer retention efforts. So, in addition to omnichannel CX strategies, businesses must also ensure that the service provided within each channel and touchpoint is both seamless and continuous. To achieve this:
- Unify visual branding across logos, font and lettering choices, imagery, and colors.
- Maintain the same tone and voice across all written communications.
- Use the company’s mission and brand values to guide interactions with customers.
Internal collaboration and communication are critical to achieve and maintain consistency across the multiple stages of a customer journey. Management-level personnel must work together on user journey mapping to avoid the silos that adversely affect CX.
For example, if different teams are responsible for specific elements of the digital customer journey, they should collaborate during the journey-mapping stage. Results of user journey mapping exercises should then remain visible and accessible to each individual team. This ensures that all team members are on the same page at all times.
Organizations also need clear chains of command to ensure accountability. They can then quickly resolve any inconsistencies, shortcomings, errors, and oversights that negatively impact the customer experience.
Use Expert Insights To Build a Superior Digital Customer Experience
User journey mapping, personalization, omnichannel modeling, and consistency all interconnect to create a superior digital customer journey and augment the total customer experience. When used correctly, these elements can dramatically improve consumers’ perception of companies and brands, boosting business and improving long-term loyalty.
To sustain success in an increasingly hypercompetitive digital commerce environment, businesses need to understand evolving customer expectations and how to meet them. We have extensive, proven experience helping both emerging and established businesses improve the digital customer journey and deliver a stellar CX.
Contact us today to start building a better digital experience for your customers.