Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
The discrepancy between the quality of digital experiences customers report and what businesses believe they are delivering online is proving to be more significant than previously thought.
Only 10% of global customers agree that brands provide a good digital experience, while 82% of marketers believe they are meeting customer experience (CX) expectations. This abysmal statistic serves as a call to action for businesses everywhere — they must prioritize and optimize their online customer experience to meet customer expectations or risk revenue losses and a damaged reputation.
Anticipating what customers want out of their digital experience through rigorous analysis can have a significant impact on a brand’s success. By adopting best practices, strategies and tooling, businesses across industries can close the gap between what they think they are delivering and what customers report experiencing.
Related: What Customers Expect Out of Their Digital Experience
Digital experience makes or breaks a brand
The digital experience is essential to a company’s profitability and longevity, yet customers feel as though their expectations are not being met on digital platforms. A total of 54% of U.S. customers say the user experience (UX) of brand websites needs improvement. Brands must listen to customers and understand all issues within digital experiences, taking swift steps to address points of friction.
Responding to problems as they arise is crucial, but it is just as important to be proactive when developing digital experiences. Brands must work to anticipate customer needs and design platforms with evolving customer preferences in mind.
Eliminating company blindspots through CX enhancements
Every company has blind spots — business leaders do not understand customers’ wants and needs, so they invest in the wrong areas. Knowing exactly where customers are experiencing pain points instead of guessing is key to delivering a better CX. Executives must take steps to investigate and close this “digital experience gap.”
Using tools to surface hidden problem areas provides an opportunity to rectify them — giving customers a reason to come back and stay loyal to one’s brand and website. A recent Emplfi study broke down several key areas where customers experience the biggest pain points:
- Nearly 20% of customers will abandon a website after just one bad experience.
- Having a previous positive experience with a brand influences where they make a new purchase.
- Half of customers will abandon a brand they have been loyal to for over a year due to poor CX.
- Poor CX and low-quality products are equally harmful to a brand.
- The main contributors to a negative CX are slow response times and a lack of 24/7 customer service. Customers expect a response within an hour.
- Customers across the board want access to self-service options to resolve issues independently.
All it takes is one wrong move for a customer to abandon goodwill toward a brand. Companies are increasingly relying on modern digital tools to help identify sources of customer frustrations and mitigate site abandonment.
Related: 5 Ways to Show Your Customers You Understand Them in a Digital-First World
Proven strategies to tackle problem CX areas
A total of 86% of customers say that they are ready to pay more for a better customer experience, making digital experience improvements a revenue-driving opportunity. Implementing technology that can help businesses anticipate customer needs and respond to user issues in real time can lead to increased conversions and enhanced efficiency. Proven strategies include:
- Leverage AI: Implementing an AI-driven digital experience analytics platform enables businesses to proactively identify and resolve problems surfaced through customer feedback and interactions data.
- Prioritize a self-service model: Customers expect immediate answers to any issues they may encounter without having to deal with customer service representatives. Incorporating a chatbot, dynamic FAQs and semantic search engines help customers find their answers with ease.
- Individualization: An individualized digital experience for each customer is essential, as nearly three-quarters of customers expect personalized interactions. Furthermore, 76% are frustrated when personal interactions aren’t delivered.
The power of data and analytics
Businesses cannot close the digital experience gap and meet their customers’ expectations if they do not have a thorough understanding of how customers are navigating their digital platforms. To achieve that understanding, they can integrate analytics solutions such as a Digital Experience Intelligence (DXI) platform to capture and analyze 100% of customer interactions across channels.
As a DXI platform serves as a single source of truth, the analyses can be used by various teams, helping businesses prioritize and quickly make data-driven decisions about customer experience improvements. Teams are immediately alerted to technical issues on a brand’s website or mobile app so they can be solved before significantly impacting revenue or the customer experience, ensuring a frictionless journey.
Related: 3 Tips for Using Consumer Data to Create More Personalized Experiences
Improve digital experiences now for the future
It has never been more important to close the digital experience gap. The customer journey is invaluable; maintaining an exceptional digital experience requires teams to work diligently behind the scenes to tackle any possible issues before they escalate.
Implementing strategies that prioritize anticipating and meeting customer needs ensures long-term brand success. Through best practices, businesses across industries will soon deliver the quality experience customers say has been missing from their digital journeys.