In the previous blog post, we talked about the importance of a viable customer experience strategy in a company’s overall digital makeover. Following up on that, in this post, we talk about how to engage in customer experience management through digital means.
Changing customer needs, interaction channels and technology lead to a paradigm shift in marketing and prompt companies to change their strategies. Customer needs are also becoming increasingly fragmented. This makes it increasingly costly for companies to deal effectively with the market. In addition, today the customer is often suspicious of classic marketing campaigns of companies and holds back information.
Furthermore, through the emergence of new digital communications channels and communities where customers interact, help each other, and write reviews about business and product performance, companies are increasingly losing control of their own brand image because they can no longer control the flow of information. Communication over these countless new digital channels significantly increases the complexity and cost structures for an enterprises. Market development (marketing, sales and service) of companies must therefore adapt to new circumstances and develop appropriate strategies.
On the other hand, the new digital technologies offer additional opportunities for interaction with the customer and thus the opportunity to increase customer loyalty by means of a unique customer experience.
Digital Intelligence reveals deep insights into customer behavior and needs as well as ‘channel performance’ with the aim of identifying additional optimization potentials. One of the greatest advantages of online marketing and distribution to the ‘offline world’ is that everything is measurable. The findings from the analysis of such variables can be used to further optimize the product and service portfolio and improve customer experience throughout the Customer Journey. There are three kinds of metrics on the web:
- Website / channel analysis (traffic, visitors, page views, etc.)
- Sales analysis (conversion rate, average order value, etc.)
- Marketing analysis (ROI for advertising, CTR for banner ads, newsletter, behavior)
Based on these metrics, new information about the customer is collected. It is important to find out which product mix offers the customer the greatest added value and promises the highest return for the company. On the basis of the new findings, corresponding marketing and sales campaigns are conceived. In the sense of the distribution efficiency, a high cross-selling (the selling of complementary products or services) and up-selling quota (offering higher value products at higher prices to already existing customers). This can be achieved, for example, through special offers following transactions, special offers for customer queries and complaints, or through the promotion of new products and services on product launches.
With the help of digital marketing, paying customers are to be identified and "guided" to the appropriate brands, products and services using digital communication and sales channels. Nowadays, customers often start their search for products and services while surfing the Internet. At this point, they may not yet be clear on what they want. This search behavior of potential customers begins with the need for information about specific products or services.
In this "search and finding phase", potential customers can be inspired by the targeted launch of information and marketing campaigns, which also directly influences their purchasing behavior. Digital marketing helps online profiling, marketing campaigns and lead generation. The aim of online profiling is to define the online target group and the media mix used to target them. This happens on the basis of knowledge gained about online behavior of potential customers. Further on a marketing & sales strategy derived from this, as customer profiles can be developed in order to identify typical customers. Subsequently, digital campaigns are designed. The aim is to inform potential customers about the brand, the product(s) and the service(s) offered and to convince them of their respective advantages.
All this is done by using different types of digital media. This includes online advertising, e-mail campaigns and social media campaigns. The content can vary: text, graphics, photo and video, and audio, the range of possibilities is broad. Lead generation is used to attract customers to the company's digital channels and to direct them to the relevant products and services. This can be supported, for example, by search engine marketing, content targeting and affiliate sites.
Digital distribution has the goal of converting visitors on the Internet into buying customers. The ease of finding the right product and service is the most important element in digital distribution. The ‘call-to-action’ is another key element for encouraging visitors to buy a product or service on the website. The number of steps required in the ordering process directly affects the conversion rate. If the process is too lengthy or complex, visitors often leave the ordering process and migrate to a competitor. Interested customers (leads) are looking for information on the services and products required on the digital channels. It is important that the navigation structure, the web store and the internal search engine on the website are optimized from the customer's point of view in order to assist the customer as best as possible in their search.
However, the website should be designed as such so that a customer not only peruses the catalog (window shopping), but also carries out a transaction as well (purchase / order). Therefore, it is important to offer the customer different payment options, while making the process as transparent as possible so that the customer knows at any time where they are in the process and what is next. The use of the right vocabulary, easy-to-understand structures and options as well as the ‘look and feel’ of the website help. The ordering process must be short, clear, and preferably done over secure channels. After completion of the transaction, rapid communication via e-mail (confirmation email including order details) is also important.
With the help of digital services, customer experience is optimized with the aim of continually increasing customer satisfaction as well as identifying cross-selling and up-selling opportunities. Existing customers often use online services and support in the context of product use. Digital services must be consistent with the customer experience along all channels and provide a significant contribution to customer satisfaction and hence result in brand loyalty.
A professional online support should provide existing customers with all the necessary information and services. This includes FAQs, general help, help with ordering, online self-service, and specific information (changes to reservations, track-and-trace options, transaction overview and payments). The online support can now be personalized thanks to the rapid technological developments and supplemented, for example, by interactive audio and video chat functions. Through a clever use of digital channels, a large part of the customer requests can be automated and cost-effectively processed.
In the context of customer experience management, online services can not only help save costs, but also help build loyal customers, for example through special offers to the most specific customer groups, review-sharing programs, set-up of personalized help and support functions, and honest and open complaints management.