In today’s digital age, there’s a consensus that delivering superior customer experience is critical to increasing profitability and brand loyalty. Despite this, many companies fall into the trap of thinking of customer experience as a front-end interaction, such as the pop of a great website or the pizzazz of a new responsive app.

I’m here to tell you that this is only half the story. A good digital customer experience goes beyond the user interface to deliver personalised marketing, accurate fulfillment and exceptional customer service. And a great customer experience will do this at every step of the customer journey.

It sounds simple enough. Despite this, many organisations are struggling to get the basic principles of customer experience right, never mind excelling in the field. This is because too many organisations are unable to define what digital customer experience means or articulate what they require to perform it.

Explaining digital customer service to your board

For customer experience leaders, the days of reactive service are long gone. Instead, today’s world is digital and proactive – customers expect frictionless service on whatever device is closest to them. As such, Gartner predicts that by 2022, the majority (70%) of all customer interactions will involve digital channels such as messaging, live chat and chatbots.

Digital customer experience is therefore the sum of digital exchanges between a customer and an organisation, plus the resulting impression that is left with them. It’s the subsequent impression that’s crucial here; this is the key to increasing referrals, reducing churn and extending lifetime customer value.

Without the right technology solutions and processes on the back-end, an effective and positive digital customer experience is not possible. Making a good first impression is easy with a feature-rich application. However, it’s the right back-end functionality that ensures orders are correct, timely and complemented by excellent customer service for the duration of the customer life cycle. This often flies under the radar since the customer doesn’t see how it’s all orchestrated, but it’s no less important.

Taking actionable steps towards transformation

For customer experience leaders, the race to digital customer experiences starts with a balanced, customer-centric strategy to differentiate from competitors and ultimately retain clients. Organisations need to be careful not to get sucked into a dark hole of terminology and promises, ensuring the most important thing is always front of mind – the customer. When approaching the customer experience strategy, many organisations seek out the best tools to help with the job at hand, such as a single customer view, consumer data platform, machine learning and AI-driven marketing, and so on.

This is where digital process automation comes into play with case management handling the workflow and AI making the right decisions for the customer. Everything that front-end staff promise to the customer is delivered on the back end quickly and efficiently. To achieve this, business leaders must ensure continuity between front-facing innovation and back-end processes for an omni-channel experience. This provides fluidity across all platforms and a superior customer experience overall.

Reflecting customers in digital customer strategies

The best digital customer strategies start with accurately understanding the user to increase customer satisfaction and engagement. We’re all customers at some point in the day; it’s imperative to learn from and channel this experience across every industry for the best results.

Here’s where to start:

  1. Users want to be guided throughout their entire journey on either assisted or self-service channels, and they want options to call, text, email or chat whenever they need. They want to be comfortable; so it’s up to brands to have conversations on their customer’s channel of choice that are simple, productive and consistent.
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  3. Empower customer service agents with contextual knowledge to provide an accurate, personalised and consistent service that enables fast issues resolution. After all, there’s nothing worse than explaining the same issue multiple times to different service agents.
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  5. Strive to use context as the means to make real-time recommendations to customers, providing them with the next best action, for example, relevant deals or offers.
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  7. Ensure all these activities are orchestrated on a centralised digital process automation platform to guarantee proper management across all engagement channels.
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Technology is critical to developing a successful digital customer experience strategy but can still prove ineffective if it’s not supported by the right company culture and organisational structure. Automation, for example, can speed up workflows to ensure the right teams are addressing customer issues in a timely manner, leaving staff free to resolve customer queries; but this can only be true if the business’s structure enables them to do so. Business leaders seeking to deliver a better digital customer experience must act now by better understanding their customers and investing in the right technologies for the long-term.