In 2020, customer experience (CX) is increasingly driven by technology. Brands have already focused on serving personalized customer experiences based on the latest data across real-life and digital channels for the past years. With the ongoing social curbs in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19), the importance of digital experiences and digital customer experience tools has grown exponentially: Global online traffic has more than doubled year-on-year since the beginning of the crisis as consumers isolate at home to flatten the curve.
Now that customer journeys and purchasing behaviors increasingly shift to digital, it’s time for e-commerce companies to get strategic about delivering consistent digital CX across all touchpoints and consumer-facing channels. But that can be easier said than done.
According to recent research from Econsultancy and Adobe, delivering consistent CX is a major point for the majority of companies. Looking for root causes, ‘a fragmented approach to marketing and CX technology’ is the main problem quoted by almost 66% of respondents in the 2019 Digital Trends Report. As the report concludes:
“Those companies that are succeeding are delivering first-class, personalized customer experiences built on a foundation of integrated marketing and CX technology.”
The secret of these companies? Research found that CX leaders are four-and-a-half times more likely to have a highly integrated, cloud-based technology stack than other companies (32% vs. 7%). The benefits are enormous: In terms of revenues, CX leaders are almost three times more likely than their peers to exceed their annual business goal. To get there, this article points the way towards the right mix of customer experience software applications for the e-commerce tech stack.
As digital CX takes the center stage, companies need to come face to face with the level of experience they can deliver. But there remains work to do: In the Adobe survey, only 10% of respondents rated their customer experience maturity as very advanced, stating that their ‘strategy and technology are well aligned around CX to successful effect’. Meanwhile, 44% of companies rated their efforts as not very advanced, citing ‘no real CX strategy or tech capability’ as the reasons.
This is where customer experience software comes in. CX software enriches key touchpoints across the customer journey by combining tools for personalized consumer engagement with organizational tools on the backend. When it comes to optimizing technology infrastructure for e-commerce success, CX software offers the following benefits:
Building a tech stack to meet the highest customer experience principles and trends can open a world of opportunity. But it can also create headaches. In 2020, 87% of companies polled by CMS Wire admitted to struggling with customer experience tools, mostly because functionality fails to meet expectations.
With this in mind, leading e-commerce businesses are best advised to focus on a practice-proven combination of the ten following customer experience tools:
What it does: CRM platforms combine customer data capture with a broad range of marketing automation capabilities and analysis tools. Standard functionality includes contact management, interaction tracking and scheduling/reminders. Advanced features are AI-powered sales assistance as well as helpdesk integration, with a trend towards covering a wide number of functions within a single CRM platform.
What it does: Helps marketers produce data-driven customer journey maps, updated in real-time. Allows for creating journeys according to customer personas while tracking the performance of initiatives via impact maps and centralized reports.
What it does: Puts customer profile data to work by delivering personalized engagement across social media channels. In a single application, social media software helps brands to create, manage and publish content across a variety of channels. It encourages collaborative workflows while maximizing the impact of content by adapted re-use across channels. Also supports social media listening, measuring and customer data management based on social behavior.
What it does: Provide a centralized and automated environment for gauging customer feedback. Allows for creating, scheduling, and conducting customer surveys, polls, and questionnaires while compiling reports on survey results. Automatically extracts qualitative data from user comments, reviews, emails or chats and allows for identifying dissatisfaction and risk of churning. Advanced solutions automatically create helpdesk tickets (see 7.) upon detecting negative feedback.
What it does: Customer experience management platforms cover a variety of functionality under a single umbrella with the overarching goal of measuring the quality of overall customer experiences. To this end, platforms implement scoring systems to better understand specific moments as well as certain touchpoints in the customer journey, pointing out experiences that need improvement.
What it does: Taking a perspective beyond conversion and sales, customer engagement platforms manage interactions across the entire course of the customer lifecycle. They provide marketers from different teams with a single tool for managing all customer touchpoints, including CRM, calendars, social media, and email marketing. Again, the focus is wholistic and includes selling, retention, reactivation and expansion activities.
What it does: Provides a central repository for all customer support interactions in one accessible database. Integrated with CRM platforms, modern helpdesk solutions help to keep track of customer satisfaction on an individual level in real-time. These platforms automatically assign tickets to each interaction and monitor resolution with analytics and dashboards. Integration with call center software is common next to automated survey functionality at the end of each interaction.
What it does: Powered by marketing-specific and proprietary artificial intelligence and machine learning, personalization platforms convert rich customer profile data into individualized engagement. Based on past customer feedback or real-time behavior, they use AI and predictive modeling to create product recommendations and engage consumers on preferred channels at the preferred time.
What it does: The e-commerce experience does not end at the moment landing a sale. First of all, 45% of consumers want to receive an e-receipt after an online transaction. What’s more, 64% are open to receiving additional content and offers in their receipt messages. Post-purchase platforms maintain the conversation by enriching the journey with details such as delivery tracking or updates on shipments via email, push and text messages.
What it does: As a centralized content hub in the MarTech stack, frontend experience platforms such as Styla help to create and deliver personalized experiences across e-commerce channels. The platform puts an agile and performant frontend layer and a commerce CMS on top of online shop systems. As a result, the e-retailer can deliver a smoother, more engaging e-commerce experience with instant page loads and reduced time-to-market. That means more agility and control of shop websites with (headless) commerce, designed to let marketers and designers deploy immediate site changes. Always remember: Happy customers equal more conversions! The result is an inspirational and relevant e-commerce experience for customers.
The secret sauce behind delivering first-in-class digital CX? In one word: Integration. Companies with a highly unified technology stack are 131% more likely to have significantly outperformed their annual business goal.
Here are three considerations for choosing the right digital CX tools for your stack:
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Richard is heading the marketing here at Styla. He has extensive experience in eCommerce/all things digital for 20 years. His mission is to never stop learning.