Image of a hand placing stars on a series of steps

The last few years have made DCX (Digital Customer Experience) more important than ever. Many have taken work, education, and socializing online, with consumers and companies alike discovering that things once done face-to-face can be completed far more simply and inexpensively through the web.  Looking forward, these new digital habits aren't going anywhere.

Rising demand and changing expectations

In 2020, online sales topped $791 billion, up 32% from $598 billion in 2019. Streaming entertainment is now so prevalent that movie studios are changing their film distribution channels to include at-home viewing. In the US, BOPIS (buy online, pickup in-store) has been almost entirely eclipsed by curbside pickup.

In short, consumers are clamoring for easier, more convenient, and more on-demand services in everything from online banking to customer support. Those rising to meet the demands of today's customer are creating seamless, personalized and fast experiences that are driving up sales while driving down costs.

Mobile, social, and IoT have changed the way people interact with the world. The digital revolution has put services, products and experiences at people's fingertips, and when brands fall short of expectations, consumers are more than willing to walk.

So what are companies doing to meet those expectations? Creating more ways to engage with customers, offering more self-service options and deploying AI to create more personalized journeys.

Customers are everywhere. You should be, too.

On average, customers use ten channels to engage with companies. Unfortunately, only 9% of marketers feel equipped to run campaigns across multiple channels. That leaves a lot of opportunities for missed communication.

Optimizing the digital customers experience can pay significant dividends. Users expect that the experience will be consistent and seamless, no matter how they are choosing to engage. But it is worth investing time in these efforts; for every additional channel a customer uses, they spend as much as 10% more, and have a higher LTV. Additionally, omnichannel companies see nearly 3x the customer retention rate compared to those without a strong omnichannel presence.

Self-service as the first choice

Customers are also increasingly looking to self-service options as the first place they turn for help. From scheduling appointments to checking out groceries, people are opting for DIY as a faster, more convenient way of doing basic things, and companies are responding in turn.

Offering your customers self-service options can yield significant long-term savings. Knowledge bases and FAQs covering the user's major pain points let the simplest and most common issues be resolved quickly and without human intervention.

Customer education or certification programs give your users the ability to solve their own problems. As Peter Balaji, Zoho's Director of Sales and Support, notes, "It's also a great way to build brand loyalty. Every time users visit your website to take courses, watch videos, or read whitepapers, you have the opportunity to foster deeper connections and get people more invested in your brand."

AI: 24/7 service without 24/7 staffing

24 hours used to be considered an acceptable response time for sales or support inquiries; the expectation now is to get answers within hours or minutes. AI is one way that companies are meeting this need, providing customers with quick and effective help while also saving billions of hours and trillions of dollars.

AI also offers a wealth of possibilities for agents: reps can generate incredibly specific customer profiles with data drawn from all over the web; it improves personalization in everything from hyper-targeted marketing campaigns to purchase recommendations; it can perform sentiment analysis so that agents know how their customers are feeling before they even enter a call. What it amounts to is a deeper, more context-rich picture of the customer, one that enables reps to make better connections.

Good DCX is, fundamentally, about reducing roadblocks and friction for your visitors. It's  about establishing processes and communication channels that meet people where they are, and empowering your employees with the information they need to do their best. Digital is improving every aspect of the customer experience; are you taking advantage of what it can do?

Zoho offers a suite of intelligent enterprise business software, including an award-winning CRM suite, the industry's only comprehensive analytics and BI platform, and a powerful low-code development ecosystem.