Digital Transformation and Its Influence on the Customer Journey

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Without customers, businesses have no reason to exist. Therefore, delivering on customer expectations, speaking to their pain points and challenges, and standing out from the crowd of competitors is essential for businesses within all industries. Customer experience, or CX, has become one of the single most important metrics for businesses hoping to increase conversion and improve customer retention. While there are many moving parts involved in improving customer experience, digital transformation has a major role to play.

What Is CX All About?

Customer experience has become absolutely crucial. According to PwC, 32% of customers will leave a company if they have a single negative experience. However, on a positive note, Forbes points out that 86% of customers will happily pay a higher price for a better customer experience.

But what is CX all about, at its heart? Is it just delivering on expectations? Not so much. Many, many things play into the overall customer experience, and some of the most important factors include the following:

  • Customer service is the foundation of a positive customer experience, including face-to-face, but increasingly it means providing digital solutions that allow customers to ask questions, gain insight, educate themselves, or report problems, such as digital knowledgebases, automated chatbots, and online support services.
  • Making the customer happy is perhaps the core tenet here, although it can be hard to quantify for some companies. Creating content that delights, providing positive support at all touchpoints, and ensuring the brand is supportive to customer needs all tie in here.
  • Feeling valued and recognized are also huge parts of customer experience today. Consumers want to be recognized for their efforts and valued for their loyalty.

How does digital transformation tie into delivering the best possible customer experience, though?

The Customer-First Model

The immediate impact of the shift toward focusing on customer experience is that more and more companies are developing what can only be called a customer-first model of business. And, because consumers have high expectations for companies they patronize in terms of digital connectivity, that ties in with digital-first initiatives.

There’s something of a misunderstanding when it comes to “digital-first”, though. Too often, businesses focus on technology, but that is a secondary consideration. The first consideration is the strategy itself.

Only with a robust strategy can you accurately launch a digital transformation. And, your strategy must be based on measurable, actionable insights into what drives an improved customer experience. With an understanding of those digital trends, businesses can begin developing and executing their own digital-first approaches.

Understanding Digital Transformation Trends that Impact CX

You’ll find an incredibly wide range of digital transformation trends today, but only some of those have a positive impact on CX that you need to compete on even footing.

Recognized and Valued

Perhaps the most critical digital transformation trend, and one that applies to virtually all businesses in all industries, is the shift toward personalizing a customer’s experience. This applies to B2C businesses, certainly, but B2B organizations must also consider personalization and how it affects their ability to reach, engage, convert, and retain customers.

What does “personalization” really mean today, though? Is it just adding a customer’s name to an email message? Actually, it goes so much deeper than that, and it is powered by advanced digital technology.

Today, personalization means that more and more customers (B2B and B2C audiences) expect the businesses they patronize to remember them. That means more than just storing their name so it can be used in marketing. It means that they expect companies to remember the steps they’ve taken in their journey, the products they considered, the purchases they’ve made, and what occurred at each touchpoint along the way.

Let’s take customer service as an example. In the past, customers might have called a customer service phone number and then be required to provide their name and other personal information, as well as the nature of their problem, even if they were experiencing a repeat issue. Today, businesses are using digital technology to recognize customers as they contact the customer, allowing customer service representatives to call them by name, but also delve into past interactions. This allows them to understand the customer’s overall journey, their pain points and challenges, what previous customer service specialists might have done, and anticipate needs and solutions to deliver a better overall customer experience.

Automation Streamlines Processes

Automation is a buzzword today, but it’s so much more than yet another digital fad. Automation is here to stay, and not just because it helps businesses save time and money. It also helps improve the customer experience in critical ways.

More and more, consumers prefer digital touchpoints and they’re not picky about whether those interactions are with human beings or with robots. Witness the rise of chatbots as a prime example of this, whether we’re talking about within Facebook Messenger or on a business’s website.

Automated systems are available at any time of the day or night. They have no internal biases and engage with consumers faster than human service specialists. Automated systems bolster efficiency, improving the customer experience while simultaneously accelerating business success.

Seamless Interaction

From a customer perspective, each interaction with your company is an extension of the one before that. Therefore, the experience should be seamless. For instance, suppose the first touchpoint was on their lunch break through the Facebook app on their smartphone. The next touchpoint might be from a web browser on their laptop while in the office. The third could be through a browser on their PC at home that evening.

In all of these situations, the customer expects to resume their previous session with few or no hurdles. Delivering on those expectations is critical to overall CX, but it is only possible with digital technology.

Building a Futureproof Business

The future is a seamless blend of digital technology and analog life. By analyzing your customers’ expectations and developing a digital-first strategy, you can embark on a digital transformation that ensures you’re able to deliver the best possible customer experience and earn better conversion, retention, and loyalty.