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Digital Customer Experience – how to win customers

It is very easy to change a company from which you buy a product or service. Competition is one click away - so overall customer experience is vital.

We live in customer-oriented time!

The era when product and service suppliers were at the stronger end of the rope pulling is over. Today’s supply is enormous and products are often functionally very similar; they become commodities, where the only distinction is the price. Customers can not only easily compare and choose, but it is also very easy to simply quickly replace the service provider in case they are not happy.

The parameters and the price of the service are often not decisive to choose and evaluate how happy customers are. Broader context and a long-term relationship, or what has commonly been referred to as "customer experience” have become the game changer.

“CX (Customer experience) is the product of an interaction between an organization and a customer over the duration of their relationship. This interaction is made up of three parts: the customer journey, the brand touchpoints the customer interacts with, and the environments the customer experiences (including digital environment).“
Source: paraphrased from Wikipedia.

Customer experience is often difficult to quantify and is heavily based on emotions (e.g. Czech AirBank has been its marketing and market positioning on strong emotions since their very beginning). The winner is whoever delivers to customers the best CX!

Note: Czech market uses the English terms and abbreviations when talking of ‘Customer Experience (CX)’ and ‘User Experience (UX)’. Czech would not translate the word ‘experience’ as a full equivalent.

And the customer lives in digital era!

Be that as it may, this series primarily looks at how we and our behaviour affect the digital age and how companies react to it. So how is this environment and modern technology changing our Customer Experience?

In many areas it is rather fundamental. Let‘s have another look at the example of banking, which had been the same for decades. Most of the experience was made up of contact with agents at (usually rather costly) branches. The branch would be impressive and creating an impression of safety and trust. Yet, nowadays, internet and mobile banking are already considered a regular standard. There are banks that have no branches at all; and operate all business only through the display of a mobile phone, including opening new accounts along with singing contracts. Often mentioned example of such a company is the German N26.com, you could see a video from their mobile onboarding process already the last part of the series.

The generation of so called "Digital Natives "does not say they go "online ", because they are online at all times. Neither they talk of a "mobile bank", but simply of a bank. Thus, digital is becoming the norm, obvious, and invisible!

“Experts predict, by 2025 the Internet will become ‘like electricity’ — less visible, yet more deeply embedded in people’s lives for good and ill.“
Source: www.pewresearch.org

So what is "Digital Customer eXperience" (DCX)?

Digital customer experience is the part of customer experience that is made up of customer interaction with the company and services through digital channels in digital environment (i.e. enabled by digital technologies). It is not just about user interface applications, but also about optimization and automation of internal processes (such as improved personalization of services based on the analysis of large customer data etc.).

The very places of digital customer interaction with a company called "touchpoints" (websites, mobile applications, self-service kiosks), are in some segments starting to be the vast majority of all customer interaction, and thus are crucial for overall satisfaction. We are approaching a situation where CX equals DCX! This is why many companies focus on digitization and its impact on the customer.

At this point, it is worthwhile mentioning a few common, yet incorrect assumptions about DCX:

  • Customers interested in digital solutions want to be online - in fact it is not their motivation to do things digitally, they just look for the easiest and most comfortable way to work things out, regardless of the channel and method.
  • The solution is technology - technology enables a lot of things, but a modern company has to set up a customer-focused culture, and thus adapt it their processes and products. Technology is just a means.
  • DCX is primarily a discipline of marketing and sales - of course this is where it starts, but the key is to think about it through the entire life cycle of the customer relationship.
  • The issue relates primarily or solely to online companies and companies with digital products - in fact, it relates to almost every company today, as well as it concerns its internal support processes.

Digital Experience (DX) and its growing share in total customer experience (CX):

Digital Experience vs Customer Experience

A good example of a situation where the customer gets a whole new experience from shopping thanks to digital technologies is the concept of Amazon GO . The customer wants to do completely regular thing like buying groceries. Besides the code entry on the mobile phone he/she no longer needs to use any other application. He/she does not need either a shopping basket or to queue and then pay with a card. He/she simply takes what he/she needs and can go home - everything else is done in the background thanks to technology.

Check out the VIDEO how we will shop in the future:

And what companies say about it?

Companies, naturally, respond to this urge for ideal experience and try to invest in this area. They feel that interacting with end customer is essential. No one wants to become a mere commodity supplier with small margins. Hotels do not want to end up being suppliers of accommodation for AirBnb.com, and established taxi services do not want to end up driving for Uber!

Activates associated with CX and its digital parts usually work when they are across the entire company and aligned with so-called "omnichannel" approach. Putting customer as the centre of all the processes can often undermine the established organizational structure in companies, as well as the local reign of individual channels (retail, wholesale) and individual products. Shift in this area requires strong support in the management of the company. Today’s banks often have digital directors in their management (three years ago his/her card would usually say director of "alternative distribution channels"). Some companies abroad are already starting to have executive roles with the acronym of CXO - Chief Experience Officer. Of course, CXO is not only responsible for the digital part of customer experience, and it’s not by chance the topic of "X" words came to the centre of attention with the arrival of digital time and the penetration of online services.

Digital Experience tools
Digital Experience, source: www.smartinsights.com

If we look a level lower, companies need to have a team of people helping with matters related to CX measuring, researching and designing.. Good design, customer service design and experience are difficult to create without knowing the current status and without knowing your customer's views. Therefore, methods of User and Customer research are often engaged, as well as we have been making use of the increasingly more accessible big data and their analytics. We can often see an output called Customer Journey Map - a comprehensive overview on the topic of how a particular kind of customer reacts during their shopping decisions, and what touchpoints they interact with and what impact they have on the experience and the current "mood".

Once we get to talk the proposal of new online services, application, or anything that involves a screen and a user, we engage the role of a User Experience Designer (UXD či v česku dnes běžně „UXák“). (or a UXD). This is the person who takes into account output roles, see above (business requirements, customer survey, maps, data) and can come up with and design features and user interface so that everything is right, clear, usable, and a bit "sexy" too (we have already mentioned that emotions are important, right?).

This role usually has experience with online and IT, because it designs (typically using wire models) something that IT has to produce and deliver. However, the right UX designer never resigns to not constantly verifying designs against real users, from whom he/she gets feedback already in during the proposal stage, and performs user and usability testing. This brings us to the end, where you can be already excited about the next time’s read on how today's customer-oriented applications and software with user experience are designed.

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