Understanding the Digital Customer Experience

Almost every business in every market faces stiff competition. In order to be set apart from competitors, organizations turn to a number of possible solutions: multi-channel advertising, product innovation, and improved business processes.

However, when all is said and done, it’s just not enough. When it comes to reaching and keeping clients, the number-one differentiator has become customer experience.

According to the most recent Salesforce State of Sales report, customer experience makes up the top category of KPIs used by sales teams to define success. Likewise, the Salesforce 2017 State of Marketing report details that 68% of marketing leaders say their company is increasingly competing on the basis of customer experience. And while superior customer experience once may have meant little more than friendly cashiers and accessible store layouts, today’s buyers are just as likely to be found shopping remotely.

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Personalized mobile computing and ecommerce options are expanding the sales environment beyond brick-and-mortar, into the digital realm. As such, digital customer experience as a concept is becoming more relevant than ever before.

What is Digital Customer Experience?

Customer experience covers every interaction across multiple touchpoints that a client or prospective client may have with a business. This encompasses the location where the interaction takes place, the cost (including any promotions or discounts), the item or service being purchased, any associated processes, and the customer-facing business representatives that facilitate the purchase.

Digital customer experience takes this familiar idea and applies it to online interactions. As clients and leads connect with businesses across digital channels — such as via mobile smart devices, over social media, or through standard desktop computing — businesses that make an effort to optimize these interactions stand to gain a significant advantage over those that do not.

Satisfying digital customer experience is becoming more than a fringe benefit; it’s an expectation. 58% of consumers agree that technology has drastically changed their expectations of how companies should interact with them. Additionally, newer generations of consumers are becoming more and more dependant on mobile computing, with millennials nearly 3x as likely as baby boomers to agree that they “run their life from their mobile devices.”

Unfortunately, there are a number of obstacles modern businesses face when trying to meet digital-client expectations.

What Stands in the Way?

While there are many similarities between in-store and online clients, there are also some significant differences, ones that organizations often fail to take into account when devising a digital customer experience strategy.

For one thing, when compared to those who do business in person, digital customers are much more likely to expect instant or near-instant gratification. This means that any factors that may conceivably slow the digital purchasing process can end up driving away potential clients. For example, approximately 5% of organizations have had users leave their website after as little as a one-second delay, and the longer the delays, the higher percentage of clients that begin to look elsewhere.

At the same time, online customers have a much wider pool of sellers from which to choose. Unlike in-store customers who may be willing to settle for a mediocre experience rather than physically travel to a different location, online buyers can navigate to competitor sites in seconds, or even browse multiple site simultaneously. Research suggests that 70% of customers agree that technology has made it easier than ever to take their business elsewhere, meaning that any inconvenience or unmet expectation can easily lead to a lost sale.

The sheer number of digital channels available to customers can also create problems for businesses. In-store clients are generally isolated to a single channel of communication — face to face — and usually only have to interact with a handful of representatives over a relatively short period of time. Digital customers, on the other hand, may take advantage of a variety of channels, such as social media feeds, texting, live-chat options, and email.

How is this problematic? Simply put, no matter how many different channels they may use to connect with a company, clients expect the representatives who assist them to be fully up-to-date on details such as personal preferences, concerns, and purchase history, so that they don’t have to spend time explaining and re-explaining their situation with every new touchpoint. In fact, 68% of consumers say that it is important for customer service agents to be familiar with their service history, and 73% say they’re likely to switch brands if a company is unable to provide consistent levels of service across channels.

Finally, even when customers choose to do business online, they still tend to expect the kind of personalized, one-on-one customer journey that is more generally associated with in-store purchasing. No client wants to be thought of as a dollar amount, with 66% of consumers saying they are likely to switch brands if they are treated like a number instead of as an individual.

With so many barriers, how then can businesses accomplish the goal of providing a consistently satisfying digital customer experience? Salesforce is the answer.

Salesforce Makes Personalized, Consistent Digital Customer Experience a Reality.

Salesforce, widely recognized as the leader in business CRM, gives organizations the tools they need to connect with online clients and provide a seamless, fast, effective digital customer experience. This is made possible thanks to an extensive integrated collection of cloud-based solutions.

Salesforce offers a variety of tools designed to help retailers create the kind of unified, personal customer journeys their clients crave. With commerce solutions that bring together the benefits of in-store and online shopping, and integrated easily with reliable data science for accurate forecasting, Salesforce makes it possible to provide a consistent customer experience, no matter where or when customers may purchase.

Taking things a step further for commerce businesses, the Lightning Patform gives users of all coding-levels the ability to design custom applications for their business, using templates, drag-and-drop tools, and more. Businesses can likewise gain a more complete view of their customers with pre-built apps and components from the Salesforce AppExchange, an ever-expanding database of thousands of app solutions. Taken together, these options make it possible for business organizations of all sizes to offer fast, reliable, personal service, unified across every channel.

There’s no denying that the modern business world is a competitive place, and perhaps the most intense competition comes from businesses trying to provide a superior customer experience in the digital age. Salesforce takes the massive amounts of available customer data, and turns them into intelligent, actionable solutions, for a digital customer experience like no other. Sign up for the Salesforce free 30-day trial, and put your online customers on a one-to-one journey to client satisfaction.

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