Customer Experience

A guide of the best digital CX practices

If I were to ask you, “are you able to confidently view the customer experience (CX) you deliver from the eyes of your customer”, what would you say?

Let me explain. Advances in technology and the significant volume of customer touchpoints that exist in today’s digital world mean CX has become even more complex than it was previously.

Alongside in-store experiences, we first had online and e-commerce. Then came social media and mobile. And now we have new channels like voice-activated and IoT enabled devices through to AI-powered applications and systems.

You might view each of these digital touchpoints in isolation. Each is managed by different teams and departments, which can slow communication and an ability to respond to customers in a timely and effective manner. The result - your customers get a bad experience.

Now think about it from your customers’ viewpoint. To customers the channel is irrelevant. They effortlessly jump from one digital channel to the next. In some instances, your customers research through mobile, purchase online, and then follow up for support through the call center. In other instances, their whole experience will be online, such as making a purchase after they’ve seen a digital advertisement.

To rise to the top in CX you need to deliver a great experience at each of these touchpoints and create personalized experiences that resonate with your customers. This is called an omni-channel approach to CX. Research shows brands with the strongest omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain an average of 89% of their customers, in comparison to 33% of companies with weak strategies1.

To break down the silos between groups and optimize your complete CX in the digital world - follow these steps:

Understand the how and why of CX

There is a massive opportunity for brands to transform their CX by acting on insights from experience data (X-data).

X-data - like CSAT and Ease of Use - enables you to understand the human factors that drive certain behaviors. When combined with operational data (O-data), telling you how your customer interacted with you, it becomes a powerful tool that helps you design and deliver personalized engagements boosting CX.

To give an example, X-data can tell you the reasons behind online cart abandonment or high bounce rates. Informed by these insights, you can implement a system of action that resolves the issue to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Bringing X-data and O-data together is a game-changer for digital CX, helping you improve the customer journey at every stage, and ultimately grow your bottom line.

Identify the key moments

Brands, like BMW and Fandango, that excel in digital CX delight customers at every touchpoint. This is achieved by capturing X-data at key moments in the customer journey - found using customer journey mapping - advising brands how they performed in these moments.

Critical stages to consider are during the buy and research phase, point of purchase, support, and post-purchase feedback.

A number of platforms help brands capture these insights, including digital intercepts (or site intercepts), personalized post-purchase email communications, and fast online-surveys.

Importantly, make sure the feedback you capture is from the right audience. Having insights from the group you are trying to reach allows you to deliver products and services tailored to their individual needs. Chobani is a great example of a brand reaping the rewards of engaging with its target audience, with its insights helping create new product lines and revenue streams.

Always improving

No respectable chef would send out a meal without having tasted it first. The same goes for your CX - you need to test the customer journey and platforms too.

By following a number of paths, which reflect the needs of different customers, you’ll identify common pain points and persistent areas of feedback. From here, you can implement meaningful systems of action that resolve issues throughout the customer journey to ensure a seamless and consistent experience.

Make sure to continue analyzing the performance of your digital CX even once it’s live. For example, A/B testing on different layouts will help you refine the experience, while post-transaction feedback and usability testing unlocks insights allowing you to continuously improve the experience you deliver.

Close the loop

Every interaction in the CX needs some type of resolution - even if it is just a simple thanks. But with so many digital touchpoints it can be difficult knowing where to close the loop.

To succeed with digital CX, create a framework for closing the loop with customers based on the frequency and type of engagement. For instance, high priority customers might warrant a personalized interaction. Alternatively, customers who want a solution to the problem they face could benefit from a get help function.

A key rule to follow is that whoever closes the loop has the power to fix the problem. Doing so delivers a speedy and thorough resolution, and communicates to the customer you value their relationship.

Customers become evangelists

Word of mouth is a critical tool for CX teams, especially in the age of social media. Social media and review sites are used by 95% of consumers to evaluate a product or service. Online reputation management is therefore key.

New technologies help you monitor what people are saying across digital channels and integrate the X-data into your existing systems to act on. For instance, comments on social media tell you what customers like, dislike, and want to see more of. Be sure to respond to negative reviews - not only does it work to resolve the problem, but research also shows it demonstrates you care about your customers.

Simultaneously, celebrate the positive reviews and feedback. Encourage your customers to share positive reviews by including sharing buttons in your existing programs - including in your mobile apps - and reward and profile those that do.

How to close experience gaps with digital CX

Digital is a key battleground in the experience economy, with significant opportunities for those that delight. The platforms and different ways to engage customers in the digital world will increase in the years ahead, making your CX digital transformation critical to your ongoing success.

Throughout the constant transformation, X-data and O-data are key. Analysis of these data sets will help you understand how and why customers choose to engage with you allowing you to personalize and resolve issues as they arise. And after all, personalization and speed are what great CX has and always will be about.

Learn how to design a world-class digital customer experience program


Juliana Holterhaus // Senior XM Consultant

Juliana joined the XM Scientist Team at Qualtrics in January of 2016. She has extensive experience in digital strategy and digital experience research. She has worked across solutions such as voice of the customer (VoC), brand health and communications (online reputation management), product and service innovation, healthcare, and retail strategy. In addition to her work at Qualtrics, Juliana currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Marketing Research International Institute (MRII) in a two-year, elected position. Before joining Qualtrics, Juliana was Head of Strategic Alliances for YouEye, a Silicon-Valley based start-up focused on quantifying video-based voice of the customer data. Juliana spent 5 years in the mobile tech space as General Manager of Lumi’s global market research business. In addition, Juliana spent two years as a part of the research team at Massachusetts General Hospital (DCRP) and one year in the marketing department at Harvard Business School. Juliana graduated with honors from Amherst College and received a Masters from Columbia University. Juliana went on to complete her PhD in Psychology and Decision Sciences at Columbia University. During her time in graduate school, Juliana researched environmental, financial, and medical decision making, as well as consumer preference construction. Her dissertation research focused on the motivational science of mobile technology use and engagement.

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