Digital Experience Platform
Acquia Named a Leader in the 2024 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Digital Experience Platforms
Customer Experience

The Importance of Digital Customer Experiences

April 20, 2023 9 minute read
It’s the difference between a one-star review and a five-star review

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Digital Experience Platform

I have a mantra: A bad customer experience is worse than no customer experience. Everyone can recall a bad customer experience. When we have one, we tell our friends and family about it and sometimes leave bad reviews to inform others before they engage with a brand. 

Good customer experiences, on the other hand, make brands stand out. Some brands have created experiences so delightful that we then tell others, maybe even blog about our experiences. And in today’s world, almost every customer experience intersects with a digital experience. Everything from scheduling an oil change to ordering a bagel sandwich and picking it up in the family-owned local bagel shop. Our experience as a customer permeates the whole process. 

In this increasingly digital-first world, it’s necessary to turn our attention to the digital experience and elevate it. For example, Google processes over 8.5 billion search queries daily, according to dropshipping company Oberlo. Many of us turn to an internet search and start an experience through a website. Your organization creates digital experiences to capture this demand. This part of the customer experience shouldn’t be forgotten; rather, it can be core to the experience as a whole. 

Indeed, organizations need to up their game if they intend to compete (and win) attention in the crowded marketplace of digital experiences. Just how crowded? There are around 2 billion websites out there with more popping up each day, and that doesn’t count the wide universe of DX possibilities: in-store payment apps, QR codes at restaurants, voice assistants that greet you in the morning, and so on. 

Fortunately, we know a thing or two about digital experience, why it’s important, and how to put your best foot forward when it comes to a digital presence.

What is digital customer experience?

As we alluded to earlier, digital customer experience (CX) is all the digital interactions someone has with your brand —  whether it’s a push notification, email newsletter, customer support chat, reading a digital sign, etc. If it’s digital — online or offline — and has to do with your brand, that’s a digital customer experience. 

Why are digital customer experiences important?

By serving excellent digital CX, organizations can strengthen their chances of earning new business, retaining existing business, and converting would-be buyers into lifetime customers. 

The aforementioned Oberlo study found that, on average, people around the world spend 401 minutes — nearly 7 hours — online every day. With many of us spending nearly a third of our day online, it’s safe to say that we want that time to be well-spent. In fact, we know this because of how grumpy people get when an app or website is even minimally glitchy, as evidenced by any number of rudely worded app-store user reviews

Graph showing how many minutes per day people spend online from 2020 to 2022
Source: Oberlo

Given the number of people and the amount of time they spend online daily, vying for their attention means ensuring digital customer experiences that rise above the rest. That’s a tall order. Making a difference might sound overwhelming given the billions of sites out there, but the truth is that your audience is a small sliver of the total world population, and you just have to make them feel special and attract more like them. 

Doing so is an ongoing process because the technological landscape is always changing, with peoples’ expectations changing with it. Staying apace with both ensures a handful of outcomes imperative to business success:

  • Attracting customers
  • Retaining customers
  • Relating to customer needs
  • Solving customer problems
  • Promoting brand consistency
  • Elevating customer lifetime value

Each is a solid reason to invest in a top-notch digital customer experience. When it’s a pleasure to use, your audience will see the care you put into your website, app, digital signage, and so on. The implication? You put the same thoughtful care into your products and services, as well as your customers. 

Examples of good digital customer experiences

You know good digital CX when you see it. You have good, bad, and unremarkable digital experiences every day. That’s why we have favorite apps and ones we loathe using.

Because the world could use more examples of good digital experiences, we’ve compiled a handful of ones we’re proud to have helped build. 

Birdi: An online pharmacy not overly confident in the digital CX it was serving, Birdi initiated changes that transformed their digital operations. Modern consumers expect the quality of digital healthcare to mirror in-person healthcare; it’s a worthy investment for healthcare companies. In the six months after launching its new website and mobile application, Birdi saw a 42% increase in online prescription orders, recorded 125,000+ website visits, and filled around 50,000 prescriptions. 

UKG: This global giant in human capital management is the result of a merger between Ultimate Software and Kronos. Unifying brands of such magnitude is no small feat, but UKG sought to put the “human” back in human resources as part of the merger. The company began by refreshing its digital presence and replacing three legacy websites with one that was unified. The change in digital experience spurred a 363% increase in sessions, a 132% increase in downloads, and a 284% increase in product tour submissions. 

Sun & Ski Sports: From slope to surf and seamless digital customer experience, Sun & Ski Sports wanted to mirror the joy of outdoor sports by making the shopping experience as smooth as possible. Better customer targeting was the answer. Harnessing customer data, the company reached customers with more relevant shopping options across every channel. As a result,  Sun & Ski Sports saw a 1,100% improvement in net profit per name in direct mail marketing and a 200% increase in paid social media clickthrough. 

How to improve digital customer experiences

Improving digital experiences is a journey that can be conducted in one fell swoop or incrementally. The first move, however, is the same: Step back and understand your current CX and the touchpoints along it. I always recommend starting with a customer journey exercise called experience mapping. This exercise outlines each stage of the customer experience, key actions, touchpoints, emotions, and the internal systems that connect the CX.  

Once you have the customer journey mapped, you can identify areas of small or large improvements. One typical outcome of this mapping is recognizing which technology systems are core to the experience — what’s hindering the experience or what’s not yet being leveraged fully. You’ll also recognize gaps in the experiences, and these are opportunities that can be improved with more insights and more data.

Paying close attention to the data and technology allows you to shift to being digital-first. You can identify areas to adopt and use technology to improve the customer experience by  monitoring customers, observing, and reporting on customer data. From there, you can segment your customers to orchestrate campaigns based on that data to deliver a tailored and personalized experience.

This may sound overwhelming, but we’ve got you covered. There’s a bundle of tools out there that does it all and then some — we’ll show you what to look for.

Selecting the right tools

Because digital customer experiences span an ever increasing number of channels, media, and devices, supporting those experiences calls for technology that’s up to the challenge. That’s exactly what a digital experience platform (DXP) is built to do. 

A DXP is a set of integrated technologies that allow you to create, manage, and deploy omnichannel experiences to your customers wherever they are. DXP must-haves that positively affect digital customer experience include: 

  • Integrated content and data. Data can show you how people interact with your digital content. This insight is the basis that should inform downstream content strategy.
  • 360° customer view. Properly organized customer data should give complete, individual snapshots of user behavior across all your digital channels.  
  • Personalization. A 360° customer view gives you the power to personalize content at an individual level, allowing you to build digital customer experiences that are made to measure.
  • Content creation and management. Of course, you’ve got to actually create, manage, and deploy the content that people will see. A central hub from which you can do so makes evolving digital experiences easier to adapt to and more seamless from a customer standpoint. 
  • Governance and compliance. Applied to content and data alike, governance and compliance are crucial to protecting user data, meeting certain industry and legal standards, and making sure the right people can access, change, and publish content across your organization.

A good DXP does all of this and a whole lot more. It gives you flexibility by being composable and integrating with your existing technology stack. The beauty of a DXP is that you can start with the piece that’s most important for your business goals and then expand and alter the composition as your needs grow. But starting with this list ensures you’ve laid the groundwork for developing digital CX that dazzles. 

The future of digital experience

DX is changing before our eyes. Adapting to those changes makes organizations progressively more competitive. You’ll find that investments in digital customer experiences directly correlates with the success of your business. 

Give yourself a firm DX foundation to stand on and pay attention to the people you serve and the digital channels you serve them on. Focused on the intersection of DX and human beings, you’ll have all the insights you need to give people what they want. 

The technology that lays the foundation that gets you there? A digital experience platform. Drop us a line, and we’ll introduce you to Acquia DXP, named a Leader — for five years straight — in the 2024 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for DXP. Read more about that here.

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