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Why a Great Digital Customer Experience is Now Essential

By: Ernest Sampera on April 28, 2020

Customer experience has long been recognized as a growing differentiator in an increasingly competitive global marketplace. With so many options available to them, customers are understandably drawn to companies that offer the most streamlined and user-friendly experience. The growing digital transformation of many industries also means that the traditional customer experience is now transitioning into a digital customer experience.

What is the Digital Customer Experience?

Although eCommerce grew nearly 15 percent in 2019 and now makes up about 16 percent of the total retail economy, the digital customer experience goes far beyond simply buying products online. Digital technology has become just as important to physical stores and to the companies that deliver services. The broad category of digital customer experience is used to refer to any digital interfaces people use to interact with a company, which can include the front-end services they utilize directly as well as the back-end infrastructure that supports those interactions.

Customer experience is often viewed in strictly retail terms, but there are other industries where it is just as important to achieving long-term success. Here are just a few examples of how digital customer experiences impact non-retail industries:

  • Banking: Mobile banking tools help people to better manage their funds and access the financial services they need with minimal delay or friction.
  • Education: Colleges have invested in digital tools that allow students to access textbooks, lectures, and other learning materials more easily. Students can also use tools to collaborate with their peers and meet with their instructors.
  • Government: Applications for government services are increasingly going digital, allowing citizens to access the programs they need quickly and conveniently. The same tools also make it much easier to file requests for local government services, such as repairing streets or water lines.
  • Healthcare: The push for increased interoperability is making it easier for healthcare practices to share information more quickly. Various digital devices also allow people to monitor their health on a regular basis, providing valuable data to healthcare providers who can then use it to deliver better care.

Understanding the Importance of Digital Customer Experience

Perhaps the most critical thing to understand about digital customer experiences is that customers don’t actually put a lot of thought into them. No one particularly cares about how much money a company has invested in its new online portal or how long they tested their latest mobile app. Customers simply want to access products and services as conveniently as possible. The digital customer experience must be designed for their benefit and to meet their needs, which may not be the same as what the company would like.

Most industries are quite competitive, making it very easy for customers to switch from one company to another with minimal hassle. Increasingly digital customer experiences make these transitions even easier. If an easier alternative is only a few clicks away, there is little incentive for customers to put up with any inconvenience. Frustrating digital platforms and mediocre customer service can easily drag down all but the most established and recognizable brands.

4 Ways to Improve Your Digital Customer Experience

Fortunately, there are a few strategies companies can utilize to ensure they’re delivering a quality digital customer experience.

1. Take a Holistic Approach

While digital customer experiences are important, they won’t amount to much if they’re not supported by a similarly outstanding non-digital experience. For instance, having a great mobile retail app may help win over customers initially, but it will be difficult to retain them if the company has a terrible shipping and return policy or ineffective customer support. The digital aspect of customer experience is part of a greater whole and must be optimized to integrate seamlessly with the non-digital aspects to ensure a smooth customer journey.

2. Continuously Iterate

One of the great benefits of digital customer experiences is the fact that they can be easily changed to suit the varied needs of consumers. With today’s widespread use of cloud computing to host digital services, very few platforms ever reach what could be a “finished” state. Think, for example, about how much mobile banking apps have changed since their introduction. There is a very good chance that the apps customers are using today look radically different than they did just a year or two ago. Since digital customer experiences are always gathering data on how they’re being used, innovative companies have been quick to make changes that better suit the way that customers actually want to use their platforms.

3. Be Customer-Centric

As companies invest in various forms of digital transformation, it’s easy for them to get wrapped up in their needs and goals. They develop platforms that deliver products and services in ways that are ideal for their own infrastructure and capabilities. Unfortunately, the user experience they would like to provide and the one customers are actually looking for may not have much in common. Organizations routinely misjudge what their customers actually want.

The banking industry again provides a helpful example. When the first mobile banking apps rolled out, they offered services and options that made plenty of sense to the financial experts working for the banks. Most customers, however, didn’t particularly care about the wide range of services their local bank could offer. They just wanted to be able to manage their money easily. That’s why research is so critical to building good digital customer experiences. Companies must always be working to find out what their customers want most from products and services.

4. Focus on Stability

The best digital customer experience in the world will quickly turn into the worst if the platform experiences frequent downtime. System reliability is absolutely critical to building trust among customers and encouraging them to keep using a particular service. Building the backbone of digital customer experiences on shoddy or unreliable infrastructure is a recipe for disaster. That’s why many organizations have turned to colocation data centers to provide a stable and versatile environment that allows them to build reliable, scalable digital customer experiences.

Transform Your Digital Customer Experience with vXchnge

With data centers located in key emerging markets throughout the US, vXchnge colocation services can help you build a reliable, low-latency digital customer experience that wins over customers and keeps them coming back. Engineered for perfection and backed by 100% uptime SLAs, our data centers provide a solid foundation for your network services. Thanks to our award-winning in\site intelligent monitoring platform, you’ll also get unprecedented transparency into your colocation deployment to ensure high levels of performance and efficiency.

To learn more about our innovative colocation services and how they can support the next generation of your digital customer experience, talk to one of our colo experts today.

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