Posted by Ronald Rogowski on August 15, 2012
Firms are increasing their focus on and investment in digital touchpoints. Why? Because digital touchpoints are critical parts of the customer experience ecosystem that offer your customers access to your firm anytime, anywhere. But when these touchpoints aren't optimized to reflect the way customers want to interact, firms:
- Send customers to higher-cost channels. Seventy-five percent of consumers seeking customer service online turn to another channel when the firm's website doesn't provide the information they need. At scale, this can lead to tens of millions of dollars (or more) in avoidable service costs.
- Lose customers entirely. Seventeen percent of frustrated digital customers report walking away from a purchase, and 11% give up shopping entirely when they can't complete their online research. More alarmingly, when trying to purchase a product or service online, 17% of US consumers who fail to complete their goal take their business elsewhere. These missed opportunities can result in $30 million or more in direct revenues lost per year.
- Damage their brands. In today's world of empowered consumers, the stakes are higher than ever. Poor experiences can have a ripple effect that not only damages the brand in the eyes of a single customer but also can spread like wildfire through social media.
These consequences aren't a result of bad intentions but of unfocused, undisciplined practices. That's why companies need:
- A clear digital customer experience strategy. Customer experience is a top strategic priority for a majority of firms, and these firms expect digital channels to differentiate them from competitors. That's why companies need a clearly defined strategy that helps them focus their efforts on digital projects. How can they develop this strategy? By defining the business and brand strategy, developing a shared understanding of target users, and prioritizing the most important touchpoints.
- A road map for making digital customer experience improvements. Companies that don't know where they're going aren't likely to get anywhere. Firms need to evaluate the current state of their digital customer experiences to uncover the biggest gaps and prioritize the most important improvements for their customers, their businesses, and their brands.
- Processes that help them keep the customer at the center of their efforts. Firms need design discipline to deliver customer experience excellence within and across digital touchpoints. Following Scenario Design, firms focus on three main questions: 1) Who are your users; 2) what are their goals; and 3) how can you help them accomplish those goals? This tried and true approach helps design teams and executives alike focus on their customers' most important priorities.
- Research and design best practices. First, companies need to know what, specifically, they need to improve. They can do this by looking at usage data, conducting user experience evaluations, and talking to real customers. Next, focus on the design process. Finally, ensure that everything you do matches your business goals and delivers a unified experience across touchpoints.
- Clear measurement criteria. Customer experience is the perception customers have of their interactions with your company. In order to measure customer experience — and its impact on the bottom line — companies need to develop metrics for tracking customer experience quality.
To help you, we've put together a collection of research that will guide you through the process of improving your digital customer experience. We call it Forrester's Digital Customer Experience Improvement Playbook. It gives customer experience professionals the tools and advice they need to:
- Discover the business opportunity of improving their digital customer experience.
- Plan their strategy and road map for making digital customer experience improvements.
- Act on that plan to deliver digital customer experience excellence.
- Optimize digital experiences through measurement and ongoing improvement.
Update (8/16): View the recorded Digital Customer Experience Playbook Webinar.