What makes a quality digital customer experience — and why it’s essential for your brand

What makes a quality digital experience — and why it’s essential for your brand

As the numbers of digital devices and channels escalate, so does your need to understand how to deliver a digital customer experience that will attract and retain customers. But many companies struggle with digital-specific challenges, including data stuck in organizational silos and disconnects across online touchpoints.

Before you plunge into improving the digital experience you offer, let’s revisit how a quality digital customer experience contributes to customers’ impression of your brand and fulfills their highest expectations.

What is digital customer experience?
Digital customer experience vs. customer experience
Why does digital customer experience matter?
Managing for stellar digital customer experience

What is digital customer experience?

Digital customer experience refers to every digital interaction customers and prospects have with your brand during their customer journey. The relationship you build with them across touchpoints determines how they feel about your business — and whether they become or remain a loyal customer.

The path to purchase often begins with a digital introduction to your products and services. After that, your customers’ journeys may wind through multiple touchpoints — from mobile apps and YouTube videos to social media and product pages to live chat, blogs, and email.

Every interaction can make or break the digital customer experience. When customers first connect with your business, their expectations run high. By providing useful information and rewarding experiences across every touchpoint, you raise their impression of your brand. But fail to deliver even once — a link that goes nowhere, an order form they can’t decipher, an email without a response — and they may be gone forever.

Your aim is for customers and prospects to slide from one touchpoint to the next as trust in your brand and loyalty to your business grow. Use your digital presence to show customers you care about them — and ensure they leave with an even better opinion, not just of your products and services but the entire experience your brand offers.

Digital customer experience vs. customer experience

The interactions that customers have with your business in the virtual world are only one part of their journey, of course. In the physical world, they interact in person using traditional channels like stores and phone calls. The combination of online and offline falls under the broader umbrella of customer experience. Although it may often seem easier to connect with your customers in person, digital interactions must mirror this connection effectively online as well.

In truth, customers don’t really care where an interaction takes place. There are no physical and virtual worlds for them — the two overlap in a single universe where brands should be obsessed with meeting customer expectations. People want helpful and hassle-free interactions across their buying journey and a fluid transition between digital and physical interactions.

To deliver a seamless journey, you must bring together data from non-digital sources like in-store purchases and merge that with online touches to get a complete picture of your customers’ activity. By weaving the data together, you can create consistent experiences with one channel picking up instantly where another leaves off. You’ll see your customers crisscross from virtual to physical and back again in one unbroken buyer’s journey.

Customers will get what they need in the most convenient and enjoyable way possible, no matter which device, channel, or venue makes sense in the moment. It all comes together in an extraordinary journey that keeps them coming back time after time and year after year.

Customer experience journey showing nonlinear progression and blurred lines between digital and physical touchpoints.

A quality digital customer experience contributes to a more satisfying overall experience, a better brand impression, and higher long-term revenues.

Why does digital customer experience matter?

Digital customer experience — and really all customer experience — underlies your customers’ feelings about how your business treats them. Delivering memorable experiences, even more than prices or products, catapults your brand above and beyond the rest. The experiences that leave your customers feeling happy, excited, involved, or understood create emotional connections with your brand — and they’re willing to invest more to keep feeling that way.

86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience.

Source: SuperOffice.

These engaged customers will continue to do business with you over the long term and recommend you to their friends, families, and colleagues. Every interaction with them builds on the one before, strengthening your relationship and multiplying their lifetime value to your business. The majority (70%) of consumers with high emotional engagement spend up to two times or more on brands they’re loyal to versus those who are less engaged, Capgemini reported.

On the flip side, one in three customers will leave a brand they love after just one bad experience. If their problem with digital customer experience is related to your service — waiting too long on hold, clicking through form after form to complete a purchase, or receiving no response to their feedback — customers are likely to turn to a competitor. And since they’re already online, the nearest competitor is just a click away.

Digital customer experience plays an essential role in the growth and success of your business. Your team needs to become skilled at using these interactions to satisfy customers and prospects — and it starts with how you manage your digital customer experience.

Managing for stellar digital customer experience

In-person and online consumers have different needs and expectations, requiring you to fine-tune your digital interactions and integrate them carefully with in-person activities. The steps below will help you monitor and manage your digital customer experience.

Know your customers

Before you can deliver an exceptional online experience, you have to understand various customer types. Your company likely has numerous audiences, so ask yourself the questions below for each segment:

The core of your customer experience depends on who you’re targeting. Identify key personas in your audience and the emotions you can use to create connections.

Ask for customer feedback

You won’t know if your digital customer experience is effective or how you can improve it unless you ask. Far too many companies never do. Yet 77% of customers say they prefer brands that request and accept customer feedback, according to FreshLime. Use a survey or simple rating box to determine overall satisfaction. If a customer contacts you to ask a question or discuss an issue, check to make sure your answer or solution was useful to them. And always respond to emails about customer service.

Collect data

To create the best possible experience, you need to know when and where customers interact with your brand. Extracting data can help you understand them better. Either ask them directly for information or use analytics tools to see how their journey is progressing. If a touchpoint is actually a sticking point, show empathy and fix it to improve the digital customer experience.

Personalize your interactions

Customers love to feel that they’re unique and your brand caters to them directly. Use relevant customer data to personalize the digital customer experience everywhere you can. These 25 examples offer inspiration for personalized customer experience no matter what industry you’re in. Customers will give you data if they trust you’ll use it to create the best possible experiences for them. But you must show you’re aware of their preferences by offering relevant products, services, and recommendations to them at just the right moment. Adobe helps companies personalize experiences at scale to make every customer touch matter.

Optimize continually

You should always strive to improve both your customer experience and your digital customer experience. Keep experimenting and improving by using customer feedback and data trends. Iterate continually and track the results. You’ll gain insight to elevate experiences and spark the emotions you want customers to feel and the actions you’d like them to take.

Deliver standout digital customer experience

To create emotional experiences in real time, you need a digital customer experience platform with the right tools. The platform should collect and connect data across interaction points in a single source of truth. It should also provide machine learning and artificial intelligence to help you recognize and understand patterns. As you expand into more digital channels and devices, your digital customer experience platform must unite creative and technical journeys to build an ever-closer relationship between your customers and brand.

Adobe Experience Platform can make that happen. It’s an open system that stitches together customer data from every interaction through every channel in real time. The result is true, comprehensive customer profiles that drive amazing experiences.

Ready to up your digital customer experience? Watch our platform story.