Digital communication is key to good customer experience, here’s how to get it right
By Brent Haumann, Chief Experience Officer (CXO), Striata - Feb 19th, 08:19
Over the past few years, companies have started paying increasing amounts of attention to customer experience (CX). While the idea behind it (customers will keep coming back to a business if they have a good experience), is hardly new, it’s become more and more of a science.
In-depth analysis into what makes a good customer experience has shown that digital communication is a core part of it. Done properly, it can foster long-lasting and profitable relationships.
No organisation, however, can hit that sweet spot right away. It takes time, effort, and a commitment by the entire organisation to embrace digital maturity.
Digital communications and customer experience
When you think about it, the relationship between digital communication and customer experience is pretty obvious.
Your customers want to be able to interact with your business on the device and channel of their choice. In the digital realm, you might think that means your website and your app. But put yourselves in their shoes for a moment. How often do you visit the websites, or use the apps, of the businesses you most frequently buy products from?
More importantly, do you really feel like that business is building a relationship with you when you land on that website or app? Probably not. You can’t build a relationship in silence.
The real relationship-building comes in the shape of the ongoing messages, promotional and transactional, that you get from the organisation.
The latter, in particular, are important for building trust between a business and its customers. Think about it: how would you feel if you didn’t get emails with invoices and tracking numbers anytime you ordered something online?
It should hardly be surprising then that companies that embrace digital communication also see higher levels of engagement from their customers, who are six times more likely to try a new product or service from their preferred brand, four times more likely to have referred a brand to their friends, family and connections, and twice as likely to make a purchase with their preferred brand, even when a competitor has a better product or price.
Getting it right
Thing is, no organisation can just jump straight into having the kind of digital communication strategy that fosters great customer experiences.
While most organisations send out some form of digital communication, most still have some way to go when it comes to reaching full digital maturity. Some might be sending out once-off or annual messages while others may focus on spreading awareness.
Ideally, though, organisations should look to reach their customers across multiple touch points, and frequently enough to prevent opening a door to the competition.
In order for this to happen, the organisation has to speak with a single voice. That’s not always easy to get right, especially in large corporates, where different departments may have very different views on customer communication. Perhaps more importantly, however, those departments need to have a consolidated view of their customers. This goes a long way to ensuring that customers only receive messaging that’s contextual and relevant.
Some organisations try to achieve this by launching a new customer engagement department and handing over all responsibility for customer communications to it. The trouble with this approach is that people in the other departments still might not understand the importance of digital communication, leaving customer engagement fighting a losing battle.
Instead, organisations need to do the hard yards and ensure that everyone understands why digital communication is so pivotal to customer experience. While this may take time (3 to 5 years in some organisations), it promotes a measured roll-out that allows the organisation to build authentic relationships with its customers.
The sum of these interactions creates the kind of brand love that results in more engaged, loyal, customers and, ultimately, an improved bottom line.
Brent Haumann is the Chief Experience Officer (CXO) at Striata. He started with the company in 2005 as a Project Manager and went on to head up Platform Development for over 10 years. Prior to Striata, Haumann managed large software implementations for Educos and Deloittes.
His current position includes leading Striata’s South Africa and African regions.
Haumann is a member of Striata's global Executive Committee.
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