Digital customer experience (DCX) is the way of the modern world.
Since the offset of the COVID-19 crisis, digital communication is the primary way companies interact with their customers. Most businesses – startup to enterprise – have a DCX plan in place to ensure they’re listening to their customers and responding to their needs appropriately.
Even for businesses that weren’t always digital-first (i.e. brick-and-mortar stores or those with little to no online presence), implementing a digital customer experience strategy has always been a way to reach more customers from afar.
Over the past two months, it’s likely that your company has had immense process changes during the coronavirus, meaning you’ve had to pivot your customer-facing approaches. If not, you’re an anomaly – plain and simple.
Regardless, switching over to a fully-remote workforce while mitigating customer fears and uncertainty is something that most companies are currently in the midst of, while some are struggling with rapid priority shifts. So designing an overall customer experience that supports digital-first initiatives – especially during a global crisis – is absolutely crucial for your team to master, now more than ever.
How you can provide an unmatched digital customer experience
You likely know the basics of a strong digital customer experience strategy, but you might need help navigating a strategy shift that appeals to the current crisis and remains applicable for the long haul. Let’s explore how to create digital experiences that fulfill immediate customer needs, but can still last far beyond COVID-19.
Be transparent and show genuine care for your customers
Not everything can or should be a marketing ploy or a sales pitch. Not ever, and certainly not now. While you naturally want to make sales even when times are tough, cold calling and emailing or very obvious calls-to-action to try and pitch your products or services will not result in sales or new customers. What will, however, is giving customers a behind-the-scenes view into your company and employees – specifically how you all are functioning during times of crisis.
Pretending everything is ok, ignoring the current state of things, or bragging about your company’s success while many of your customers and clients’ businesses are struggling to stay above water isn’t going to win anybody over.
While you may want to express that your success means customers can have faith in your company, addressing tough topics, like a loss in sales (and what you’re doing to fix it) is something that your customers will be more open to hearing. This kind of transparency takes the rose-colored business glasses off and puts you on the same playing field as the customers you’re trying to target.
Tune in to your real customers to discover their pain points
While you should already understand how to map your existing customers’ journeys, you need to learn what their pain points are right now and how to leverage their journeys to your advantage. Instead of using generic composites based on hypothetical customer archetypes, look to your real customers to find what real people are looking for – and more importantly – how your brand can help.
It’s within the details where you find opportunities to turn their digital customer journey map up a notch. Using details like real customers’ roles within a company, issues they’re currently facing, and goals they want to achieve will better position you to show the value of your solution or offering.
For example, if you know of a startup looking to scale their digital marketing team, it’s likely that your company, a CMS provider, would be a valuable tool for them to invest in. But if you’re reaching out to someone from that company with a “solution” they don’t actually need, you’re shooting an arrow into the dark – wasting their time and your team’s efforts for nothing.
If you try wooing someone with a pitch about something they don’t want or don’t need, it will be extremely difficult for you to re-ingratiate yourself into their lives at a time when they may actually be on the hunt for a solution you offer. Don’t lose out on future opportunities by not researching your intended targets fully.
Find new ways to bring value to your customers
An easy method to provide true value to customers is giving them something tangible. While they may not be looking to purchase a product or offering in the immediate moment, reminding them you’re around for when they do need you is key. But instead of relying on tired digital strategies like an overabundance of “personalized” email outreach that are just common email templates, re-focus your efforts on creating a variety of blended content that acts as a multifaceted resource.
Many companies that do not have an existing content marketing strategy have trouble producing content that acts as a value-add for their customers. From the seller side, you might think that potential and existing customers want to read “wins” and case studies and eBooks about your awesome revenue growth or CEO’s latest trip to Antigua. In reality, the people who fit your targeted audience want content that can help provide them with insight into your company’s offerings and parallel information surrounding your niche.
For instance, if you’re an e-commerce platform, it makes sense to create content (articles, videos, podcasts, infographics) that speaks to your overall expertise in the field while covering subtopics within the overarching e-commerce sector. What’s more, during times like these, creating content about e-commerce during COVID-19 will be a time-bound (albeit useful) take-away asset that customers can turn to while making big business decisions for the good of their company.
Though this might not seem like the most straightforward way to enhance your digital customer experience strategy, the biggest thing you can do to keep existing customers engaged and tuned in to your company is providing them with consistent value-adds that lead to actionable benefits for their internal needs.
Redefinining DCX beyond times of crisis
You may be experiencing unforeseen pressure from customers and your internal team. What you need to acknowledge that your customers are feeling exactly the same way. They have goals to hit, deals to close, and content to produce – but you need to be there for them to ensure that they aren’t feeling neglected by your team.
Being transparent about your struggles, understanding customers’ immediate concerns, and providing valuable assets for them to use in their own business efforts is the best way to provide them with an unmatched digital customer experience that rivals your competition. Showing customers care is a foolproof way to ensure they don’t look for a different solution to supplement their needs.
When things return to normal, your customers will look back on how you approached engagement with them during COVID-19. Make sure that any interactions with your company remain a positive, memorable user experience for them.
Rebecca Reynoso is the Content Editor on the marketing team at G2. She often writes about artificial intelligence, chatbots, and other high tech and content marketing.