For companies, providing a truly exceptional customer experience can mean the difference between engaged customers and lost business.

 

Interestingly, few companies seem to realize their digital experience potential. In one study, Forrester assessed 61 companies based on the quality of their customer experiences and operational excellence. As you can see in the below chart, most companies (48 of the 61) fell into the “Digital Dinosaur” quadrant. In fact, only three scored in the upper-right section as “Digital Masters.” In short, few companies achieve a truly dynamic digital customer experience.

Forrester digital experience chart
So how does one become a Digital Master? The path to enlightenment starts with 5 strategies you should adopt today:

 

Engage directly

 

Engage Directly—Reach out to your customers to understand their experiences

 

Most digital businesses know a lot about site traffic by virtue of analytics vendors such as Adobe and Google. In addition, website optimization companies such as Optimizely and Monetate are invaluable tools to A/B test website features to ensure the best experience is available to the customer. However, these solutions rarely tell you the “why’” behind customer decisions. For that information, there is no substitute for simply asking customers directly.

 

The best sites engage visitors with surveys and other feedback mechanisms that get to the heart of site behavior. Engaging prospective and existing customers directly allows you to ask key questions about their experiences, their preferred products and services, and how you can help them find what they are looking for (so you can sell more effectively.)

 

Measure holistically

 

Measure Holistically—Examine the digital customer experience at each stage of the site journey

 

Customers drop from your site at various stages, so it’s important to engage them and capture feedback at each critical juncture. Having a basic feedback link and/or comment card is important, but should be only one part of a true customer experience strategy. In short, sites owners should engage visitors before they drop, which in some cases means launching short surveys when visitors begin to idle on a page or demonstrate behavior that suggests they may need help.

 

Advanced sites will engage visitors with targeted promotions and unique experiences based on predetermined behavioral criteria. Building a best-in-class digital experience means dynamically connecting site visitors with the targeted experiences that will lead to conversion and overall satisfaction above and beyond their (and your) expectations.

 

Target intelligently

 

Target Intelligently—Cater to the specific needs of each of your customer segments

 

Traditional forms of collecting website experience feedback have included static comment cards that are presented at the same time to every visitor with the same set of required form questions. While still useful, this approach focuses on only one segment of the visitor population (those who are still on the site at the time the survey launches and willing to finish the whole survey.) Furthermore, these survey forms ask each site visitor the same questions, whether they are relevant to them or not.

 

In contrast, behavioral- and profile-based targeting allows you to engage prospective customers exactly when it is best to engage that particular segment with the questions & experiences that are most relevant. For example, you may want to engage millennials on mobile devices with targeted questions about a particular product category, whereas other buyer types may receive a different set of questions. In addition, you may want to intercept any visitor who is idle on a page for more than 30 seconds and ask if they need help finding a product or service. This level of flexibility is essential for site owners to capture segment-specific insights and meet the needs of each customer segment.

 

Use insights

 

Use Insights—React to feedback in real time to change site behavior

 

According to a study by Temken, only 1 in 3 companies believe their VOC program drives actual consumer behavior. Customer insights are worthless unless they are actionable, and the best vendors provide immediate ways for insights to translate to changes in buyer behavior. Collecting feedback through comment forms or feedback cards is simply not enough.

 

Best-in-class survey flows provide paths that are responsive. For example, if a high-volume customer indicates that they chose to not purchase a product due to high shipping costs or some other fixable reason, a dynamic survey might offer a targeted discount and link directly back to the cart page. As a second example, if a survey finds that a customer is having trouble finding a particular product, the survey logic might immediately provide an option to speak with a representative.

 

Move fast

 

Move Fast—Choose solutions that keep you in the driver seat

 

In today’s business environment, website owners cannot afford to run customer experience solutions that require IT (or software vendor) approval to make adjustments. Traditional outsource models, while beneficial in some respects, take the control out of the hands of the site owner, who needs to be able to dynamically respond to research findings. The best software vendors empower digital marketers and customer success managers to move quickly to both capture and respond to critical insights.

 

For additional strategies that help you capture targeted feedback, drive site conversion, and increase loyalty, download our ebook below.

 

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