There has been so much hype over the past few months and years about digital and all of the adjacent concepts like digital customer experience; digital disruption and so on. But don’t worry – this isn’t something that you are missing out on or failing to embrace, just because your business isn’t set up like Uber or operating from a shipping container somewhere in Shoreditch.

Digital customer experience

The truth is that of course your customers have digital interactions with your business through the apps they use or the internet and social channels that they might use to engage. Of course technology is having an ever increasing role in the lives of your customers and the way in which you do business with them and a range of other organisations. It would be wrong not to keep pace with such changes or even pre-empt their anticipated future technology requirements.

But before you get carried away with investing in lots of new technology, just take a step back and consider it from your customer’s perspective. Regardless of the channels they use or the devices they use the customer is still a customer. There is no such thing as a digital customer or a digital customer experience that will service them. Rather digital and non-digital touchpoints merge and interact. A customer might visit one of your retail stores for information; call your contact centre for purchase advice and then ultimately make a purchase from you online before needing follow up support through your social channels.

Making digital happen

Digital provides you with tools to help to interact with your customer along their journey, whatever form that takes. You might have developed an app that gives you another sales or loyalty channel. You might have considered chatbots that provide more dynamic out of hours support. You might have the best social media team in the world answering customer comments. Ultimately your customer doesn’t really care about digital customer experience. They care about the customer experience! If digital tools help to reduce the friction or get it done in a faster, easier way in the channel(s) of the customer’s choosing then all the better!

Often customers simply want to find what they need fast and in a way that they want it. They don’t care about the digital elements per se so long as they work well and deliver the experience they need. You need to make sure that all of the interactions that a customer has with your organisation and its services deliver your desired experience across all possible digital touchpoints and moments of course. But you also need to do the same for your non-digital touchpoints and of course the interaction points between digital and non-digital.

What you can do

If you want to make use of digital tools to further improve your end to end customer experience there are things you can do. Typically we find that customers focusing on digital are actually looking to provide their customers with experiences that are:

Flexible and accessible – Allowing the customer to engage with the organisation in the channel and method of their choice

Reachable – Ensuring your customers can use their preferred channels at a time of their chosing

Personalised – Channel engagement matches the needs, wants, interests and data regarding the customer

Easy to use – Allowing for simple, well designed navigation through digital channels

Consistent – Integrated technology and business process that work across your organisational and data siloes

Businesses who are focusing on the above should start to deliver real value to their customers. But truly delivering on these values is hard and takes time.

You can’t just buy a new suite of digital tools and expect to fix it overnight. Implementing frictionless multi-channel digital experiences needs your business to work seamlessly in all areas. Sure, the digital tools might be great but if you still put barriers up between your finance, marketing, sales, support and technology teams then the true customer experience isn’t going to be realised. Resist the temptation to focus on the digital front end (the look and feel; the design; the app) and forget the back end ways in which your business delivers and transacts. Don’t forget the sustained change management and transformation effort you will need to ensure your business adopts the changes.