How to measure and improve the digital customer experience
By: Greg Dowling
Aug 29, 2021 | Digital experience
Digital customer experience has never been more important to businesses. Consumers today are inundated with choice as to where—and how—they access products and services. If they are left feeling frustrated or unsatisfied with their experience, they will have little hesitation taking their business elsewhere.
According to the 2020 Harvey Nash – KPMG CIO Survey, customer engagement ranks alongside operational efficiency at the top of the list of priorities, as was the case in 2019.
At the same time as the importance of CX has been increasing, the definition of CX has also been changing. In particular, CX made a transformational leap in 2020 when the switch to digital was accelerated. With consumers reliant on online platforms to access products and services, organizations were forced to develop new channels to market, create more touchpoints with customers and seek to provide frictionless digital experiences.
Against this new disruptive and highly competitive landscape, the digital customer experience has become the metric against which companies are measured.
Digital experience encompasses all the online interactions a customer has with your brand. It most often includes your company website, but also includes customer engagement with mobile apps, chat bots, social media and any other channels where the touchpoint is virtual.
In some digitally-mature organizations there will be a dedicated leader for it: chief experience officer, chief customer officer, head of marketing or even the CIO.
Elsewhere, ownership is often shared by multiple departments, with the head of each customer-facing department responsible for a piece of the experience. This is because DX has an impact on every department in an organization, including marketing, IT, customer service, risk, compliance, finance and distribution.
This can sometimes lead to a siloed approach, with no central point of truth for the customer journey. This makes it difficult to reach the point where data can be effectively harnessed to identify areas for improvement and elevate the digital journey for customers.
Almost seven out of ten shoppers will abandon their shopping cart before completing their online purchase. This could be because their desired product was unavailable, the website pages were taking too long to load, they were subjected to too many cross-sells or any other type of friction that causes them to abandon their plans to purchase. Each digital journey is characterized by thousands of variables that can lead either to a sale or to cart abandonment.
This is where digital experience analytics comes in. Put simply, a digital experience analytics platform enables organizations to deliver better customer experiences on web and mobile app. Importantly, it includes sourcing and analyzing data, which can be turned into actionable insights to help enhance the customer experience.
The most effective approach to the digital experience is to have full visibility into the customer’s engagement via digital touchpoints – every click, tap, zoom, scroll, swipe and page visited in real time. The ability to track customer preferences and behaviors at a granular level, and react quickly to any points of friction, significantly improves the experience for the customer.
Artificial intelligence (AI), for example, can be used to quickly sort large volumes of data to flag trends and patterns. These solutions enable rapid drill-down into pages and screens with high struggle rates so organizations can quickly understand exactly what’s causing user struggles.
Web analytics and product analytics both play an important role here. However, digital experience analytics tools go beyond identifying any technical issues and understanding the number of page views, unique visits and conversion rates. Digital experience analytics tools not only report what the customer did but reveals why they did it. They can help meet the demand for context around digital customer interactions.
Once organizations have these actionable insights, they can use them to help inform and elevate their decision making to create a better experience for the customer.
Modern platforms can map the customer journey automatically, without tagging. This makes continuous analysis easy, as updates and changes on websites and mobile apps are automatically incorporated—no additional work to tag events is needed.
Analytics-based data visualizations can deliver information to all relevant stakeholders across the business, so they easily understand what is happening at any given moment. This aggregated view also helps to overcome the problems associated with a siloed approach, both within teams and data.
Intuitive dashboards generate a bird’s eye view of journeys and the pages on which customers are experiencing struggles in real time. Having an in-the-moment view of a customer’s purchasing journey is a powerful tool. It means that organizations can identify any opportunities—or challenges such as cart abandonment—and act there and then to enhance the experience.
Moreover, these data visualizations can illustrate the best next steps and advise stakeholders on how to optimize and elevate every journey.
Gartner says business leaders should evaluate digital experience analytics tools as part of an overall digital analytics strategy for tracking, measuring and improving the customer experience across the entire customer journey, across devices and across interactions with brands.
“The growth of digital strategies and need for strengthened digital commerce sites increases the need for an optimized digital customer experience,” it notes.
Indeed, according to McKinsey, more than 85% of companies that report a more mature customer analytics function claim they achieve a significant value contribution, compared with around 20% for those with a low usage of analytics.
The rapid acceleration of so many organizations’ digital strategies means competition has never been greater, and the pressure to deliver an outstanding DX is now paramount. By placing DX front and center, organizations will be better placed to stand out in an increasingly digital—and competitive—world.