The online customer experience is changing like never before. So brands must decide: adapt or die, writes Morgan Mitchell of BOSCO™.
The new customer experience economy should be make or break not just the newest brands, but the established ones as well. Since 2020, the online customer experience (CX) has evolved significantly. The need for a winning online CX is critical to success and is proving to be one of the most important and fundamental elements of marketing in today’s digital landscape.
With 81% of retailers increase their investment in customer experience over the past two years, what does this mean for brands, consumers and the long-term relationship between the two?
The BOSCO™ Index measures brands’ online footprint and assesses their effectiveness with their paid and organic media channels. Using third-party data, BOSCO™ generates a score between 0 and 1,000 to determine the success of brands in the digital space.
What is online customer experience and what does it include?
Online customer experience refers to your brand’s digital customer experience. It includes all stages of the consumer’s buying journey, including pre-purchase, purchase and post-purchase.
Online customer experience is an important part of brand perception because it encompasses every digital interaction a customer has with you. This can range from first searching your Instagram page to using your online chat feature to resolve an order issue. While it may seem overwhelming, online customer experience is simply about giving your brand personality and delivering it to all customer-facing elements of the business. And as you surely know, consistency is key.
Why is the online customer experience changing?
Not surprisingly, the online and digital space is changing. Major milestones were reached by the Covid-19 pandemic as the world moved online only due to international lockdowns. The need for online customer support has exploded, and brands that previously lacked a digital approach have scrambled to catch up.
Moreover, it becomes even more difficult for brands to retain consumers. 94% of sales and marketing professionals say their company is effective at nurturing new relationships during the “engage” and “awareness” stage of the buyer’s journey. But everything changes at the advocacy stage, where professionals estimate that they are only 77% effective. What this tells us is that it is more difficult to maintain long-term relationships with consumers. This is where online customer experience comes in.
So how are brands adapting and strategizing to adapt to this new customer experience economy? What can we learn from these insights and patterns of consumer behavior?
Instant messaging and online chat functions
When the pandemic hit in 2020, consumers moved their lives fully online in ways never before possible. We couldn’t walk into a store to view a product, make a return, or just talk to an employee. With phone lines blocked, consumers have turned to online messaging instead.
Since then, brands and retailers have beefed up their online messaging capabilities. Whether it’s a live chat feature on their site or through their social media, messaging has become the go-to way to interact with brands online. Indeed, between 2019 and 2020, social messaging has grown in popularity by 110% – it is enormous.
Implement an omnichannel CX approach
Companies fail to build meaningful and positive relationships with consumers when processes become difficult to navigate. For example, support tickets are passed from one department to another without proper follow-up.
Let’s put this in context. A consumer sends you a message on social media with a complaint. The social team takes this information to customer service, where the consumer again has to explain the problem. This is then forwarded to a complaints department and again the consumer has to explain the problem. This could go on and on as the consumer grows increasingly annoyed with the lack of communication within your business.
Instead, an integrated omnichannel CX system is seamless. Agents can easily transfer customer messages between apps and departments without having to start from the beginning each time. This creates an easy, hassle-free interaction that resolves issues quickly, efficiently, and most importantly, leaves the consumer with a positive experience.
It’s not just about solving problems either. Great online CX is more about being proactive rather than reactive. A prime example of omnichannel CX is Zara’s (BOSCO™ score: 731) use of “Store Mode” in its app. This allows users to only see products available at their local Zara store which they can then buy online and collect in this store the same day. This real-time shopping seamlessly combines online and offline channels using GPS and QR technology to its advantage.
Be open and responsive to feedback
When it comes to consumer feedback, there are usually only two options: incredibly positive or incredibly negative. No one bothers to leave comments or a review for an average experience, but they do have a lot to say when things went right or wrong.
Being open and receiving feedback is an important part of uncovering valuable information about your consumer base. While you may think your online CX is bulletproof, your consumers are the people who can really put it to the test. What they have to say is an important part of your brand’s digital evolution. Plus, this open communication helps you strengthen that relationship and mend the damaged ones. Often your next smart CX move will be the result of real-time feedback directly from consumers themselves.
Uber (BOSCO™ score: 738) is a great example of using customer insights to improve its online CX. The company makes around 22,000 adjustments to its app each month to personalize it in each city where it operates. To do this, it uses crash and reliability reports to adapt the operation of the application according to the location of its user. This quickly eliminates data issues and lets users know they are listening and adapting.
The key to digital transformation
Standing out in the digital space isn’t easy, and with rapidly changing consumer expectations for online customer experiences, brands need to decide their strategy quickly.
The first step is to keep abreast of changes and developments as they occur. Take note of other brands that scale their CX well online and see how you can implement something similar. With 58% of consumers expect more from services that before the pandemic, the need for an integrated omnichannel CX with the possibility of personalization is the key to digital transformation.
BOSCO™ is an AI-powered learning platform that integrates your cross-channel digital marketing data into a personalized dashboard. Data empowers marketers to make better digital marketing spend decisions using data-driven insights, forecasts, and mapping tools. Unlock your BOSCO™ score today.