What to learn from the era of make-or-break digital experiences
The early part of 2020 has presented an interesting challenge for brands delivering in-person experiences. This is because, other than a few industries, the in-person experience has almost entirely ceased. But there is good news for businesses who want to make the most of this extremely digital time. By improving the make-or-break digital experiences that will remain part of your brand long after the end of COVID-19, you can shape the in-person experience as well. Despite the lack of people in many stores, in-person experience isn’t lost but it will look different going forward. Not only will brands have more developed digital programs to fall back on, but customer expectations will have changed as well. Brands cannot afford to forget their in-person experiences, but to stay solvent in the present they must focus on the digital.
Getting Digital Experience Right Builds The Foundation for Future Orchestration
Every brand from small to large has faced business challenges during the COVID-19 crisis. Even essential businesses like grocery stores have had to adapt. From local bubble tea shops to some of the largest technology retailers in the world, new digital ways of doing business have become the norm. Eventually, the crisis will end and customers will return to the stores in some way, but until then, many brands must rely on digital methods to reach their customers. How can brands set themselves up for success with their digital programs in a way that doesn’t compete with or take away from the in-person experience when customers return? Journey orchestration and real-time interaction management.
To get the most out of your digital programs, they must be real-time and responsive to customer needs and concerns. Especially in times of crisis, being hyper-responsive to customers can help them feel heard. Because most customers can only interact with your website, mobile app, and digital content, understanding the digital journey is crucial. Starting with a foundation of connected data, brands should focus on breaking down data-silos. From there, they need to explore and audit their current journeys. To do this, they will need to use journey discovery and customer journey mapping to see how customers flow from experience to experience. Once that is done, brands need to orchestrate against the ideal paths they’ve found, helping customers find what they need and continue to purchase goods and services online. Getting these experiences right will matter long after customers return to the stores.
In-Person Experiences Benefit from Digital Enhancements
Traditional in-person experiences have a data problem. Even if you have a customer’s entire purchase history, online behavior, and communication preferences, when they step into the store you may not know who they are until they swipe their card to make a purchase. So how can improving your digital experiences make in-person interactions better? By bringing the digital in-store and putting the customer in control.
Right now, customers are providing a wealth of information through their digital interactions. Crisis always amplifies your existing challenges, so tackling them will help you perform better long after the crisis is over. If customers are experiencing frustration with over-messaging while getting service resolution, there is no better time to build smart suppression systems into your customer journey. Similarly, if customers are confused by your website and leaving too quickly, your business will feel this pain more now, but that challenge won’t go away on its own. By building out a customer journey program that addresses the pain points of your customers, you can make every digital experience more positive.
The challenge is to bring the improvements from your digital experience into the offline space after people return to stores. To solve this, you must bring new technology to your employees and on-site locations that let you leverage digital data in person. This might mean doing a real-time customer lookup to offer a PoS discount to thank a customer for being loyal during the crisis.
No Better Time To Invest In Journey Maturity
Brands need to build a solid journey foundation to stay competitive in the complex world of digital and in-person experiences. With an ongoing crisis, customers are more conscious of experiences, both good and bad. To set yourself on the right track to building better experiences, we recommend you check out our guide to the Fundamentals of Journey Management. It’s designed to help you get the most out of your digital and in-person programs and to help you optimize your customer journey. Whether you’re a seasoned journey expert or a new journey manager trying to identify the highest priority for your business, the Fundamentals of Journey Management is a great place to start.