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Digital Customer Management: What It Is and Why You Should Care

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The goal of every industry is to create a “great customer experience”. But what exactly do we mean by the term “customer experience,” and how do we manage it?

At Glassbox, we use this simple explanation:
Customer experience management is translating collected data, analytics, and session recordings into improvements of the overall customer experience. Whether it’s redirection from a certain link or making a webpage easier to find, managing the customer experience is all about improving the user experience.

So what is Digital Customer Management?

We describe digital customer management as the use of Internet communications channels and technologies to enhance the online customer experience. Specifically, that means managing, creating, designing, and reacting to online customer interactions in order to increase customer satisfaction and customer loyalty.

This is key today as management of digital customers and their digital experience has an impact on every department in an organization, including Marketing, IT, Customer Service, Risk, Compliance, and Accounts and Distribution.

The mobile explosion

We are living in a world of “mobile everything”.  According to Adobe Digital Insights*, Black Friday 2016 was the first day ever to generate over a billion dollars in sales carried out on mobile devices, a 33% increase over 2015. And a recent Salesforce State of the Connected Customer Report, indicated that predominance of the all-knowing mobile customer will only increase over time. Over a third of Millennials have researched a product online via a mobile device while in a store (38%), and nearly one-fourth have even purchased a product online from a mobile device while in a store (23%).

*Source – http://www.forbes.com/sites/blakemorgan/2016/12/05/five-trends-shaping-the-future-of-customer-experience-in-2017/2/#76dbc23f754e

However, the mobile explosion has also brought with it a new set of digital customer management problems. Your enterprise’s website is now viewed on a vast array of desktops, laptops, tablets and mobile phones. Each device, and even each brand, has a different size and quality of display screen. Combined with the design variations of a standard website, a mobile website, or an app, it means that every customer has a unique online customer experience.

Why do you need to manage the online customer experience?

Even before the digital impact hit businesses, customer experience had always been at the forefront of marketing efforts. However, in today’s marketplace, management of the digital customer experience is also the major differentiator between the major players in traditional industries. A study by Gartner* showed that “89% of marketers expect customer experience to be their primary differentiator”. Creating, designing and reacting to online customer interactions is the key to increasing customer satisfaction and customer loyalty.

*Source – https://www.gartner.com/marketing/customer-experience/

Take the traditional retail banking industry. In consumers’ eyes, they all offer very similar products, yet the online banking experience is completely different for each bank brand.  The majority of consumers would always be willing to pay more for a better experience. A recent study by *Forrester of 13 different industries showed a connection between improving the quality of the customer experience and a growth in revenue.

*Source – https://www.forrester.com/report/Drive+Revenue+With+Great+Customer+Experience+2017/-/E-RES125807

In many sectors where products have become commodities – product, price and, even service-based differentiation have become less important.  The mobile and social experience is at the forefront of consumer choices. Digital businesses such as Uber, PayPal and Amazon have emerged to challenge the old models of travel, finance, and retail. Many business and IT leaders see the online customer experience as a sustainable source of competitive differentiation.

How can you measure online customer experience?

In order to build a better online customer experience, you need a 360-degree view of the online customer. Quantitative consumer analytics on its own won’t give you the whole picture; it just helps you improve traffic acquisition and tells you if a visit resulted in a conversion.

Qualitative consumer analytics where you can experience exactly what the online consumer experienced will add the fourth dimension. By visualizing your online customers in real time, you can see exactly what your customers are doing online, and gain an insight into their online customer experience and the reasons why they are behaving the way they do. You can understand the way people engage with your digital channels.

These are some of the customer experience analytics tools currently in use:

  1. Automated Customer Journey Mapping
    This allows you to get a map of your customer’s digital experience. You can follow your customer from the moment they do their first Google search or click on an ad, right through to navigating your website and abandoning the shopping cart.
  2. Visitors’ session recordings
    This is the facility to capture and record all online customer sessions. It allows for tamper-proof website session replay of the customer’s digital session in real time showing:

    • The screen as seen by the customer
    • The type of mobile device
    • The type of operating system
    • The user’s geographic location
    • Mouse movements, finger swipes and taps
    • Keyboard inputs
    • Customer demographics
    • Traffic sources
    • The amount of time spent on each page/field
    • Interaction with elements on the page
    • And more…
  3. Conversion funnels & Customer journey reviews
    Conversion funnels can be created to drill down traffic from a specific referring source, to a landing page, then narrow it down to interaction on the page and behavior at the shopping cart. Customer journeys can usually be reviewed by a report-based system based on best practices or a filter you can instantly create with free text to examine in-page behavior.
  4. Clickmaps
    A clickmap can show you if an individual session is atypical or representative of proportion of customers. You can examine how customers interact with each element of the page for a given time range. For example, you can see how often a link, button or banner is being clicked on, and how much time is spent on that element.

Let’s look at how Glassbox used customer experience analytics to improve the customer digital experience at a major bank in Israel:
The Problem:
The bank was experiencing an above average number of calls to its call center as customers weren’t able to complete a particular type of business transaction online. This had resulted in long average handling time by a call center agent, and low first time resolution of the problem.
The Glassbox methodology:
Glassbox recorded every mouse movement, every click and all the text typed in by online customers in order to see what was happening in the online journey. They were able to replay and analyze customers’ online journeys to see what was causing the problem.
The Results:
The bank was able to pinpoint the error and fix it, without IT having to reproduce the error.
Benefits to the Bank:
The bank experienced an 11% increase in their digital sales conversion rate as customers now found it easier to interact and complete transactions online. In addition, the average handling time for customer support calls related to technical issues went down by 70% (from five minutes down to just one and a half minutes).

The future of customer experience management

Data is hugely important today as enterprises need to adapt and transform their business at very short notice to the ever-changing digital needs. The winning businesses will be the ones that make best use of their digital data.

Machine learning can access and analyze big data to detect anomalies, give instant insights and predictive analysis of how customers might behave online.

It’s not about robots taking over the world. Artificial intelligence (AI) is about improving the customer experiences by tailoring content to an individual’s needs, and providing a more powerful and responsive customer support system. The question for management today is how to use their digital knowledge and digital tools to improve and optimize the customer experience.

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