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Future of CX

6 effective digital customer experience strategies for 2021

Jeremy DSouza
.
Jan 24
.
11-12 mins

Table of contents

Key takeawaysCollaboration platforms are essential to the new way of workingEmployees prefer engati over emailEmployees play a growing part in software purchasing decisionsThe future of work is collaborativeMethodology

In the past year, your organization has certainly made more attempts to engage and support your customers digitally. But are you doing it right?

Customers have become increasingly comfortable with digital purchases in 2020, and that level of comfort is expected to increase in 2021. 

It’s not enough to undergo a digital transformation just for the sake of it. It’s time to create digital customer experiences that keep your customers coming back consistently.


What is digital customer experience all about?

Digital customer experience includes all the digital interactions your customers have with your brand and organization.

The design of your website, the time it takes to load, how easy it is to use, your payment process, your social media accounts, your emails, your customer engagement systems; they all come under your digital customer experience.

Every single digital touchpoint that you have with your customers is a component of your digital customer experience. 

And you should strive to make sure that your entire digital customer experience is as smooth as possible.

Why is it so important in 2021?

The lockdowns triggered by the pandemic had essentially given all businesses an ultimatum: Go digital, or be forgotten.

Consumers across the globe became more comfortable with activities that they were previously uninterested in performing digitally.

Worldwide e-commerce sales crossed $4 trillion in 2020. eMarketer predicts that consumers will maintain these digital behaviors to a large extent in 2021, and forecasts that global e-commerce sales will come close to $5 trillion in 2021.

Even when it comes to B2B purchases, McKinsey studies have found that 70% of decision makers are now open to spending upwards of $50,000 on new, fully self-serve or remote purchases.

These reports also indicate that live chat has emerged as an extremely effective channel for B2B companies to do both - interact with their customers and even close sales.

Busting the world’s largest digital customer experience myth

There are quite a few myths surrounding digital customer experience. But one, in particular, is the most widespread and dangerous. 

This one myth is holding organizations around the world back from achieving customer experience excellence.

But not anymore.

Digital customer experience myths
The biggest DCX myth

Far too many businesses suffer from the misconception that they need to be digital natives to benefit from an improved digital customer experience. The mere fact that your offerings are tied to the physical world shouldn’t stop you from enhancing your digital experience.

The boundaries between digital and physical are rapidly becoming blurred. Even if you’re selling something like a vacuum cleaner, you know that people are looking for it online. 

Why, then, would you stop yourself from giving those customers a great digital experience?

Three companies integrating digital experiences within physical ones:

1

Nike

Nike allows consumers to customize and personalize their shoes via NIKEiD. They even launched Stylebot on Messenger, which pulled colour schemes from pictures uploaded by the users to customize a pair of Air Max 90s. 

Customers could now create a special sneaker that they would treasure forever by uploading a picture that has sentimental value to them or someone they care about.

2

Amazon

Consumers hate waiting in line. Families making a member wait in line with a cart while other continue looking for products is a familiar sight at most convenience stores. 

It’s quite a frustrating experience. 

Amazon is working on sparing customers the trouble of waiting in lines. 

Their Amazon Go store, equipped with their revolutionary ‘Just Walk Out’ technology allows consumers to pick up the items they want and simply exit the store. While exiting, their Amazon account is automatically charged and they get a receipt on their Amazon app.

3

Mall of the Emirates

Dubai’s Mall of the Emirates used Engati’s solutions to run a loyalty program.

Their customers upload receipts from the stores to the bot. The bot then uses OCR technology to process the receipts and allocate loyalty points to the customers in real-time.


The benefits of improving your digital customer experience

1

Increased customer retention

When you improve your digital customer experience, your customers are more likely to stick with you. By digitizing your customer experiences, you will be able to collect and analyze data in a more effective manner, making it easier for you to understand customer needs, identify problems, and personalize experiences.

You’ll even be able to engage your customers in a far more meaningful manner and build better relationships with them.

It can even help you run your loyalty programs more efficiently, like Mall of the Emirates does, making it more convenient for customers to earn and collect loyalty points.

2

Growth in revenue

A better digital customer experience makes it easier for your customers to do business with you. Smoother digital experiences reduce the chances of customers leaving your website or switching over to a competitor. 

When you streamline your digital journey and create personalized digital experiences for your customers, you’re making sure that they get exactly what they want, with minimal effort. 

Additionally, with the increase in customer loyalty caused by your enhanced digital customer experiences, you’ll notice an increase in your customer lifetime value.

3

Reduced support costs

Automation and live chat work together to allow you to scale up your customer support and engagements in a far more cost efficient way. 

With chatbots, you can answer about 80% of your customer queries immediately, without any delay.

And with live chat, your agents can handle multiple customer conversations, simultaneously. It permits you to speed up your customer service without having to hire more agents.

What should your digital customer experience strategy be in 2021?

2021 is all about understanding your customers. Not just demographic groups, not only segments, not merely personas. It’s going to be about understanding individual customers. Hyper-personalization and individualization are going to be driving forces this year.

So, what should you focus on in 2021?

digital experience strategy components
Components of a DCX strategy in 2021

1

Understanding your customers

Commit your team towards understanding your customers this year. What do they want to gain from your offerings? What issues are they facing? How busy are they?

Do they prefer quick, automated support or do they crave the human element that comes with live chat?

Not everyone wants the same thing. You need a solution that works for various types of customers. And that means you need to make the effort to get into their minds.

2

Diving into the customer journey

You need to make the effort to map and understand your customer journey thoroughly. The idea is to make the journey easier, effortless, and convenient.

Don’t go around adding digital components that won’t benefit the customer or smoothen the journey. Your intentions may be good, but you may end up complicating the customer journey and scaring your customers off.

Instead, look for points at which your patrons are facing trouble. Points at which they are absolutely frustrated. Can you fill these gaps with a digital solution?

Disneyland did a great job at this. They encouraged employees to look for ‘combustion points’. These are the parts of the journey in which customers experience negative emotions.

One such combustion point was the lines at the park. Everything had an enormous line - from getting tickets to eating at a restaurant, you had to wait in a line full of impatient kids.

So, what’d they do? 

Just like Nike and Mall of the Emirates, they blurred the lines between the physical and the digital experience. 

They introduced MagicBands, allowing guests to curate their experiences in advance, down to the time they wanted to get on a ride or eat at a restaurant. These wristbands are linked to the Disney app, the website, and the guest’s Disney account. 

They even have sensors within the park that use the bands to collect and track behavioral information that Disney uses to streamline and personalize their experiences.

But that’s not all, Disneyland guests could even use their MagicBands as room keys and make payments with them.

By adding a digital element to the physical experience, they managed to eliminate the need to wait in lines and improve the customer journey.

3

Listening to the Voice of the Customer

You can’t truly understand your customers without listening to their voices. And that’s why creating an effective Voice of the Customer program should definitely be part of your digital customer experience strategy for 2021.

A VoC program will help you give your customers what they truly want. After all, why try to figure out what your customers want when they’re ready to tell you themselves?

Such a program will help you find out which issues your customers are most concerned about and even identify pain points that you could never have imagined. 

It will also help you create solutions that they are actually looking for. And that’s going to keep them coming back.

4

Hyper-personalizing experiences

Show your customers that you’re looking out for them and creating experiences for them. Not just the demographic, segment, or persona that they fall under, but for them as an individual person.

Why are Netflix and Amazon thriving today? Because they curate their content and products for you. They show you what you want. 

They’re not just showing you what people in your age range or location are looking for. They’re understanding you and saying, ‘Hey, this is just for you. This is for your unique tastes and preferences’.

Consumers are ready to share data with you, but in return they expect you to hyper-personalize their experiences.

5

Simplifying the experience

The best experiences are all about making it as easy as possible for the customer to do business with you. 

Simplify all their experiences with your organization - both digital and physical. 

If you have a website that’s radically different from all other websites in your niche, that might make your visitors uncomfortable. This is because your mind gets shortcuts hardwired into it after going through similar experiences a certain number of times.

They know where to expect certain buttons on websites. If you so much as place those buttons in a non-conventional location, you’re going to be causing friction.

Your goal is to reduce customer friction and customer effort as far as possible.

That’s a major factor behind Apple’s phenomenal success. They’re all about reducing customer effort.

One of their core values is, ‘We believe in the simple, not the complex. This means that they’re ready to create complex systems that result in simplified customer experiences.

6

Creating a customer-centric culture

It all boils down to culture. You can’t create fantastic experiences, digital or otherwise if your organization is not focused on providing value to the customers and taking care of them.

Taking care of the customers isn’t just the Customer Success team’s responsibility. It’s everyone's.

Everything that everyone in the organization does impacts the customers in some way. The entire team needs to be aligned towards customer-centricity. 


DCX best practices

digital customer experience best practices
DCX best practices


1

Mobile optimization

Today, you can’t afford to think of mobile as a secondary experience. And if you think you can ignore it, you’re mistaken.

Your customers and prospects always have their mobile phones with them. Their phone is practically an extension of their body at this point.

Irrespective of whether you’re B2B or B2C, it’s much easier for your customers to whip out their mobile phones and search for solutions than to start their laptops up.

The odds are that the first impression most of your customers will have of your brand will be on mobile. 


82% of smartphone users turn to their devices to help them make a product decision. - Google
It's very likely that the first impression you make on your customers will be on a mobile device

Now, while optimizing your website for mobile is a good starting point, its certainly not good enough.

If you’re in a store, comparing products, it’s more than likely that you’re going to get your phone out and look for reviews. 

Why not make it easier for your customers to do that?

Sephora knows how important reviews are, and made it easier for their customers to find them. Customers can use the Sephora app to pull product reviews and ratings when they scan an item in store. 

This makes it much easier than scouring the entire internet for reviews.

Now, what if you could make it even easier? Instead of making them download your app, what if you used a chatbot to share product information and reviews?

2

Simplifying purchases

Streamlining the purchasing process not only improves your digital customer experience, it even reduces cart abandonment dramatically. 

$97.8B worth of sales are put at risk due to checkout friction - PYMNTS Checkout Conversion Index, FEB 2020
Make it easier for customers to buy from you


In fact, a year after Amazon came up with their patented 1-Click ordering in 1999, Apple paid them a million dollars to license this technology.

3

Reducing load time

How fast does your website load? Do you think 10 seconds sounds fair?

If you do, you’re in for a surprise. Studies show that a mere 10-second loading time can be annoying enough to make half of your customers switch to a competitor’s website.

Forrester has found that 40% of consumers will not wait more than 3 seconds for a page to load. And Microsoft research has shown that your customers will switch to a competitor if your website takes even 250 milliseconds more to load than theirs.

Google themselves have shown that as your page load time increases from 1 second to 10 seconds, the probability of visitors bouncing goes up by 123%.

reduce page loading speed
Probability of webpage loading time


4

Going multichannel

Meet your customers on the channels they prefer using. 

If a customer prefers Facebook, it would be easier to get them to consume your content, engage with you and even contact support over Facebook than on your website.

Don’t force your customers to reach you over channels that they either are not comfortable with or don’t even use. You need to develop a multichannel approach.

Give them a choice, engage and support them on their favorite channels. 

Sure, this can be tough, but it doesn’t need to be.

Does providing multichannel support mean that you will have to constantly flutter across 10 different inboxes? Does it mean you will get confused when the same customer converses with you over multiple engagement channels?

Not anymore!

With Engati, you can engage your customers on 14 different channels, without confusion. All the conversations flow into a single, one-view inbox.

WhatsApp, Messenger, Telegram, Kik, Viber,... whatever your customers prefer using, you can engage with them over it using Engati.


Multichannel customer support
Support your customers across all the channels they use

And to make it even better, you can stitch and merge all the conversations that an individual user has with you over multiple channels. Now your agents always have context and they never have to ask your customers to repeat themselves.


5

Self service

Just like we dislike waiting for webpages to load, we hate waiting to get our queries resolved. Nobody wants to wait 24 hours for an answer to their emails. 

Even waiting on hold for 5 minutes is enough for your customers to say, “These folks have zero respect for me or my time!”

You need to find a way for them to find information without having a conversation with one of your agents. A knowledge base is important. But, navigating through it can be a bit of a task.

With an AI chatbot, you can answer about 80% of your customer questions without the slightest delay.

Automating these repetitive, simple queries is of utmost importance. Firstly, the customers asking these questions don’t have to wait for a response. Secondly, since they take care of a major chunk of the inbound queries that you receive, your live agents now have more time to deal with the complicated queries.

You won’t need to force your agents to hurry your customers along, not knowing whether they fully resolved the issue. Your agents won’t need to provide temporary fixes. They’ll be able to dive deep and get to the root of the issue.

But that’s not the only advantage of using a chatbot. A major one is that you’ll be able to localize your customer engagements.

6

Engage your customers in their language with an intelligent bot

Engage your customers in their language with an intelligent bot

If you truly want to succeed in the global market, you need to have local relevance. You need to get communities all over the world to accept you as one of their own. And you can’t expect that to really happen if you don’t speak their language.

Does that mean you need teams of people proficient in every language spoken across all the regions in which you do business? 

No.

With an Engati chatbot, you can serve your customers in 50+ languages. This includes right-to-left (RTL) languages like Arabic, Persian, and Hebrew.


Create fantastic digital customer experiences with Engati

Make the most out of Engati’s powerful solutions and craft digital experiences that your customers will love. 

Use intelligent, NLP-driven automation in tandem with human agents to bring both, personalization and speed, to your customer engagements.

Want to learn more? Check this out!

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Jeremy DSouza

Jeremy is a marketer at Engati with an interest in marketing psychology and consumer neuroscience. Over the last year he has interviewed many of the world's brightest CX, AI, Marketing, and Tech thought leaders for Engati CX.

Andy is the Co-Founder and CIO of SwissCognitive - The Global AI Hub. He’s also the President of the Swiss IT Leadership Forum.

Andy is a digital enterprise leader and is transforming business strategies keeping the best interests of shareholders, customers, and employees in mind.

Follow him for your daily dose of AI news and thoughts on using AI to improve your business.

Catch our interview with Andy on AI in daily life

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