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Over the past few years, companies have started to pay an increasing amount of attention to their customer experience (CX) strategies. While the idea of businesses improving customer loyalty through a good customer experience is hardly new, it’s becoming more and more of a science. In fact, in-depth analysis has shown that digital communication is a core element of such a strategy. Done properly, it can foster long-lasting and profitable relationships. However, no organization can hit that sweet spot right away. It takes time, effort, and a commitment by the entire organization to embrace digital maturity.
Digital Communications and Customer ExperienceWhen 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 or your app, but do consumers really feel that you're building a relationship with them by simply visiting your site or launching an app? Probably not. It's important to remember 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 organization. The latter, in particular, are important for building trust between a business and their customers. Therefore, it should hardly be surprising that companies who embrace digital communication also see higher levels of engagement from their customers, according to Publicis Sapient's customer engagement agency Rosetta Consulting. These highly engaged consumers are six times more likely to try a new product or service from their preferred brand, four times more likely to refer 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 RightThe thing is, no organization can jump straight into having the kind of digital communication strategy that fosters great customer experiences. While many companies send out some form of digital communication, most of them still have a ways to go when it comes to reaching full digital maturity.
Ideally, organizations should try 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 business must speak with a single voice. That’s not always easy to get right, especially in large corporations where different departments may have very different views on customer communication. However, perhaps more importantly, 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 organizations try to achieve this by launching a new customer engagement department, handing over all responsibility for customer communications to this newly formed group. The trouble with this approach is that other departments in the enterprise still might lack an understanding of the importance of digital communication, leaving customer engagement to fight a losing battle.
Instead, enterprises need to put in the hard yards and ensure that everyone understands why digital communication is so pivotal to customer experience. While this may take time—three to five years in some organizations—it promotes a measured rollout that allows the business 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 is a member of Striata's global Executive Committee. Prior to Striata, Brent managed large software implementations for Educos and Deloitte. Follow him on Twitter @BrentHaumann or visit www.striata.com.