Recent years have seen rapid, dramatic changes in the way the vast majority of businesses operate. And these changes have been possible because of digitisation. Our world is becoming more and more digital, with innovative new ideas and cutting edge tech being introduced all the time.
Many of the opportunities that digitisation have provided have been hugely beneficial for businesses, particularly where improving the customer experience is concerned. Hundreds of time-consuming and tricky tasks can now be fully automated, and companies are now able to access incredible insights to inform their growth strategies. The rising expectations of consumers have also affected digitisation to a degree, with changing trends and desires inspiring tech giants in the creation of trailblazing new software, apps, and IoT devices.
There’s no denying the fact: digitisation has transformed the experiences of consumers. And it’s still doing so. Here are just a few ways in which tech has enhanced the customer experience.
1. Automated Assistance
Automated chatbots are big news in the world of customer experience right now, and they’re getting smarter by the day. With a market size predicted to grow to over 9 billion by 2024, it’s hard to ignore the possibilities this technology presents.
Created using huge amounts of highly detailed, personalized data, these chatbots are fully equipped to answer a whole host of common queries. And sometimes, customers won’t even know that they’re talking to a computer. Chatbots can answer queries rapidly, solving common issues far more efficiently than time-stretched customer service representatives. If a chatbot doesn’t have the answer at hand, it can seamlessly transfer the conversation to one of its human colleagues, who can assist the customer further.
The benefits of chatbots are clear to see. Not only do they help to improve customer experience by answering questions quickly and efficiently, they can also free up time for customer service teams, leaving team members free to focus on the queries that require a little more attention.
Businesses stand to save a lot of money in terms of staffing costs, and if the technology is used correctly, companies often see their customer service rating improve substantially as a result.
2. Information At The Hands Of Consumers
Today’s consumers have more information at their fingertips than ever before. And that’s great news for companies hoping to better their customer experience.
In the past, customers might have had to contact a company if they wished to place an order, reorder a product, or return an item. But not anymore. Now, customers can access their own account pages to complete plenty of different tasks, without ever having to contact a customer service representative. Online accounts provide customers with access to all kinds of information, from past orders and buying trends to returned items and other preferences.
The ‘reorder’ function is particularly beneficial to the customer experience, particularly when it’s used for products that consumers tend to order on a very regular basis. Consumers can access their account, see what they’ve ordered in the past and place the exact same order in just a few clicks. The ease of this is also advantageous in terms of customer retention, as consumers tend to be hesitant to try a new company when the ordering process is so quick and easy with their current brand.
3. Tailored, Targeted Marketing Opportunities
The more information a brand has about its customers, the more effective its marketing strategies are likely to be. Marketing campaigns that are inspired by customer’s likes, dislikes, and buying preferences hold enormous potential — particularly when compared with more traditional campaigns.
Personalised marketing strategies provide powerful opportunities to boost engagement and ultimately increase profitability. They also enable businesses to cut down on waste and improve the ROI of campaigns by only contacting the prospects who are most likely to make a purchase. In fact, a high-quality customer experience could potentially increase revenue by 5.7 times.
Modern digitisation has provided numerous opportunities for companies to personalise their marketing strategies, and create more customer-driven online stores. Just take a look at marketplace giants such as Amazon and Etsy and you’ll immediately see how digitisation has enabled a more personalised shopping experience.
Sites like these provide users with a homepage created with their interests in mind, showcasing recently purchased items, wish lists, and products which are similar to those a customer has already shown an interest in. The experience is improved further via targeted advertising and email marketing inspired by previous purchasing patterns.
4. Better Customer Journey Mapping
If a business is to improve its customer experience, it needs to understand the customer journey. The more information a company has on the steps that led its customers to a purchase, the better equipped it is to simplify that journey and improve it for both potential purchasers and loyal customers.
Digitisation has introduced a whole host of exciting new customer journey mapping opportunities, which many brands are now taking full advantage of. Companies at the forefront of this technology are using data insights and analytical software to map their customers’ journeys in more detail than ever before.
Toolkits such as the Adobe Marketing Cloud are giving brands unprecedented access to the data they need to map the customer journey and follow the consumer through every interaction. As technology evolves, platforms are also emerging which are making it even easier to pinpoint individual customer journeys and improve the customer experience accordingly. We are already seeing this with the real-time customer profile capabilities of the Adobe Experience Platform and are bound to see further developments as more and more brands realise the power of these tools.
Enhanced journey mapping enables brands to spot potential problems before they start to affect profits, and pinpoint any areas where potential purchasers might have been lost. It’s information like this that makes it possible for brands to really go above and beyond consumers’ expectations, introducing new interactions that make life easier for their customers, and keep them coming back time and time again.
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5. Improved Engagement And Micro-Interactions
In your face pop-ups that scream for attention whenever you open a webpage can be off putting, but micro-interactions are completely different. These miniature animations are having a huge impact on customer experiences across a wide range of industries, yet many customers don’t even notice them at all.
The subtlety of micro-interactions is what makes them so effective. The animations, which might allow users to favourite particular items, or share products with friends and colleagues in just a few clicks, are designed to improve the shopping experience. If they’re used to their full advantage, the customer will be left feeling happier and more positive about their experience, even if they don’t necessarily know why.
Retail giants such as ASOS use numerous forms of micro-interaction to guide consumers through the buying journey. As consumers browse products, they can choose to favourite items in a single click, and easily find products based on their preferences. The site even offers advice on the clothing and shoe sizes a user should opt for, based on their previous returns history.
6. Building Loyalty Through Enhanced Security
Brands now handle an incredible amount of data on their customers, and this data is of course beneficial in enhancing the customer experience. But consumers are growing wary of sharing their personal information, and many are hesitant to give too much away to brands that they don’t fully trust. Ultimately, customer loyalty and trust is inextricably linked to how secure they feel their data is. If you need an example of this in practice, look at the 3% drop in Facebook’s shares after its 2018 breach.
Companies now have a huge responsibility to keep their customers’ data safe, and with the advent of GDPR, the importance of this responsibility has been heightened. For brands that hold information on their customers, it is now imperative that security processes are robust enough to avoid the myriad dangers that data leaks and other hacks can pose. But this responsibility shouldn’t be seen in an entirely negative light. It’s also an opportunity to build trust and loyalty, using careful management of data and impregnable online security protocol.
Companies that are seen to be using customers’ data in a meaningful way, and avoiding damaging data leaks or any unnecessary sharing of information, will in time build strong reputations for their trustworthiness in handling personal information.
7. Addressing Customers’ Problems
Digitisation has created a whole world of new communication channels, connecting brands to their consumers in ways we’ve never seen before. For companies looking to improve the experience that they offer and pave the way for future growth, there are endless advantages to these new forms of interaction.
Companies are now able to access far more information on how their customers feel about products they’ve purchased, and their overall buying experience. This feedback is, of course, very helpful where improving customer service is concerned. It’s also highly valuable in terms of the insights it provides, which can help to guide future marketing strategies and inform new product development.
Analytical tools provide automated ways of monitoring opinions via social media channels, review sites, and blogs. These tools can quickly alert companies to potential issues or pain points, helping to guide brands on the problems that need their attention. Companies can then quickly rectify any problems consumers might be facing, improving the customer experience of future buyers.
The customer experience is evolving, with inspiring opportunities for improvements being introduced all the time. The beauty of many digital ideas lies in their unique abilities to connect us all. These better informed, more detailed connections have enabled many companies to provide a truly personal service that goes above and beyond customers’ expectations.
With every new idea comes the potential for innovation, and it’s this innovation which holds the key to growth for today’s top brands. So, keep an eye on the world of customer experience and make sure you’re in the know where digitisation is concerned. Because the chances are that the early adopters of today’s cutting edge tech could well be the most successful companies of tomorrow.