graffitti unhappy face
PHOTO: Jan Prokes

It’s no secret that a strong customer experience produces the kind of results your business is looking for: more customers, more loyal customers, more sales and an overall more positive sentiment across interactions. In a recent Econsultancy report on digital marketing trends, 20% of marketers surveyed said customer experience (CX) is the single most exciting opportunity for their organization in the upcoming year. 

That being said, many marketers struggle to help their companies create and deliver an effective digital customer experience. According to a 2018 Statista survey, the list of CX challenges is quite long and only 13% of the organizations surveyed said there were no challenges being faced in terms of CX.

cx challenges graph
PHOTO: Statista

While every company is different and faces unique challenges or barriers to the execution of an effective digital customer experience, it is revealing that 22% of people cite legacy systems as the biggest challenge.

Let me be the first to tell you: it is not your technology’s fault you are unable to create and deliver effective digital customer experiences. Don’t get me wrong, legacy systems can contribute to headaches, but the lack of appropriate planning and creative thinking on how to use budgets (both small and large) is often the number one offender for organizations looking to deliver a top-notch CX. No technology, no matter how smart or advanced, can replace the strategies you need to develop prior to execution.

And with the digital customer experience continuing to evolve rapidly, the question is not just how do companies create an optimal digital experience but how can companies create and maintain positive interactions in an omnichannel world. Smart CX strategies focus on not just implementing new features and functionality to keep up with the Joneses, but to deliver a quality experience that improves how customers interact. Here are five tips for how to create and deliver an effective digital customer experience not just once, but over time.

Related Article: Customer Journey Mapping: Navigating a Course to Better Customer Relations

Have a Vision

Creating a clear statement or set of statements that articulate what your customer experience will deliver will ensure your team is on-board and help you operationalize your customer experience strategy. Think about what you want your customers to know or experience with your company, think about what your users need. Take JetBlue for example. Its CX vision is to be “personal, simple, helpful,” and you can see it aims for these principles across both its website and app. To start creating your vision statement, draw a venn diagram with a circle for your business goals and a circle for your customer’s needs — where those two items overlap is the sweet spot of what you need to deliver for an effective digital customer experience.

Use Your Data

While there is no one-size-fits-all to measuring customer experience, data is (and always should be) your lens into how well you are meeting your customer’s expectations. Looking at both active and passive data will help you analyze your customer’s journeys, identify where there is friction within the existing experience and help you pinpoint areas on how to make CX better. Plus, if you have CX haters within your company, data is that extra proof that tends to get people on board for CX enhancements.

Related Article: Measure Twice, Act Infinitely – As if Your Customer Experience Depends on It

Do Your Homework

Whether you budget is big or small (or non-existent), you cannot overlook the importance of user research or soliciting feedback from your customers. Your customer experience — and all digital initiatives for that matter — should complement the customer journey. In order to do that you need to know about your customers’ journey. Don’t cut corners. Don’t make assumptions. Do your homework to pin down your demographics, create personas to capture the various and complex facets of your audience types. Talk directly to your customer base to confirm your research. Now you have the foundation for a powerful customer experience.

Don't Be Scared to Get it Wrong

Perfection cannot be the standard. It is OK to put together a customer experience that you think is best and learn you missed the mark. On a recent B2B project, our CX delivered a navigation that allowed users to browse by industry only to realize people's navigation preferences were more solution based. Luckily, using that data, we were able to update the experience quickly to better align with user behaviors. That is why data is so important because it tells if your approach — your content, new modules, campaign strategy — are working in a way that is positive for your customers and beneficial to your bottom line.

Related Article: Where Testing Fits in Your Omnichannel Experiences

Focus on Consistency

Consistency contributes directly to loyalty. Your customer’s perception of your brand and company is formed from multiple touch points, put together like a stained glass window. When you provide an inconsistent digital customer experience it can leave your customer (or prospect) feeling confused because of the friction. Inconsistencies that add up over time can erode loyalty, so prioritizing consistency in CX is critical to an effective digital CX strategy.

Remember … We’re All Human

There are probably a million ways to slice and dice the creation of CX strategies, so make sure to take the right approach for you and your company. That being said, at the end of the day you are crafting interactions with your audience who are humans, not just data points. Put yourself in their shoes, remember that we as humans are emotional, and in the ever-changing world of technology and rising expectations, having and maintaining an effective digital customer experience is an ongoing process.

Related Article: Use Design Thinking to Put Yourself in Your Customers' Shoes