Digital Customer Characteristics
A customer is a customer, no matter if they are a digital customer or not. It is imperative to the success of a business to ensure a positive digital customer experience. Times have changed in which almost everyone expects some type of digital presence of all companies.
The customer who really uses digital channels a lot for all kinds of purposes.
"Just as the customer doesn’t really think about the digital customer experience, he doesn’t care whether he’s a digital customer or not. However, he sure cares about “digital” channels, tools and of course experiences. The availability of digital channels to interact with brands, seek customer service and so on has even become a key decision factor to do business with an organization. And that – for us – is probably the most essential reason to look at the digital customer experience and at the 'digital customer'."
Almost everyone has a smartphone, tablet, or computer. A growing number of consumers have and use all three of those kinds of devices. Digital customers are looking for convenience and immediacy. Businesses should strive to be at the fingertips of all of their customers, or risk losing a sizable portion of market share. However, often times it's now not enough to just have a simple website constitute the entirety of your online presence. A business needs to tailor-make their website and app to meet the needs of their customers. When developing an online presence, a company needs to remember that customers are human, not computers. It can be hard to maintain a balance when using digital devices and tools to develop a positive human customer experience.
Creating the Ultimate Digital Customer Experience
Just as a company should build a customer experience strategy, they should incorporate their digital customers into said strategy. The buying power in the United States and even the world is becoming more and more based in the digital realm. Harvard Business Review stated, "Online, consumers are far less patient. After all, clicking a mouse is much easier than driving across town to speak to a manager. A study found that a ten-second wait for a page to load can make 50% of consumers give up and leave." Someone who walks into a store to shop around and purchase a product is going to have very different expectations than someone who searches for a product or service online.
Teletech conducted a survey and found six specific areas of a digital customer experience from the perspective of the digital customer.
- Reachability - Does the consumer's preferred channel exist, is it reliable, and is the consumer aware of it?
- Service Convenience - Measures ease for consumers to be fully served digitally
- Purchase Convenience - Matches the service convenience metrics, along with how seamless the digital transaction process is
- Personalization - Based on recognition of customers as individuals
- Simplicity and Ease of Use - Assesses digital navigation and timeliness
- Channel Flexibility - Tracks how seamless it is for customers to switch channels
It is key to optimize user experience in all 6 of these areas to ensure repeat customers and growth of your company. A positive digital customer experience can help drive the growth and revenue of a company faster than ever before. According to LifeRay, "Customers have high expectations for quality of service, which makes it crucial for businesses to improve their ability to deliver great digital customer experiences. Inconsistency in this area frustrates users and erodes loyalty."
One step in the digital customer experience strategy should be consistency. This means having great software and reliable servers running your processes and services to ensure the least amount of downtime and confusion for your customers. It also means having incredible digital visual content. Another idea for creating a positive experience for your customers is to use survey tools to conduct questionnaires and understand your customers' experiences, opinions, and thoughts. Harvard Business Review stated, "Given how critical customers are in digital interactions, you’d expect more businesses to invest in highly polished digital experiences. However, a recent study we conducted found that over 90% of consumers have had one or more deal-breaker digital experiences when using a mobile device to search for customer service information." This is another reason why online reviews have become such a prevalent force in influencing purchases across most industries. People have instant access to the opinions of others, not just about the product/service itself, but also regarding the entire experience around it. This can include delivery, assembly, maintenance, warranty, customer service, and more. Remembering how crucial a digital customer experience can be for your business will guide you while creating your strategy.
Here are a couple examples of ways to use technology to improve customer experience. Please share your ideas in the comments below: