Having digital options for customer shopping, support, and communication is fast becoming non-negotiable. Digital progress has dramatically shifted customer expectations about what it means to interact with your business, redrawing the customer experience parameters.
With consumers now expecting more and better digital options - and willing to pay for them - companies need to prioritize delivering an exceptional digital experience across their touchpoints.
However, implementing the right digital alternatives is always challenging, more so that digital transformation is not moving fast enough to meet new consumer expectations.
Case in point: many new customer-facing innovations emerged as a response to the pandemic, which pushed an unprecedented number of consumers to digital options for shopping, banking, and just about every other aspect of daily life. Since that initial adaptation, however, momentum has slowed because of two salient, interrelated factors: consumer expectations refuse to stand still, which makes it difficult for companies to change processes and technology end-to-end from within.
Exceptional digital CX is now the key competitive differentiator and benchmark for success. For companies to deliver this, we’ll need to look at how today’s consumers feel about digital customer experiences and the major roadblocks holding most companies back from a digital transformation that can deliver them.
Changing expectations in the digital age
The pandemic clearly changed how consumers interact with companies, with 48% reporting that it permanently altered their shopping habits towards the digital, borne out in a massive 15-30% overall growth in consumers who made purchases online. And not for just shopping: 55% of customer support teams report a rise in customers preferring digital channels to deal with problems and answer questions.
Alongside online behaviours, consumers also evolved their digital expectations of companies: 60% of consumers now have higher expectations for their digital experiences, while 50% say they will interact less with a brand that does not provide online experiences.
Specifically, 44% of customers want more digital offerings and experiences from brands, and 45% expect brands to enhance their current digital offering and experiences. McKinsey reports that a full 38% want a more complete, frictionless, end-to-end digital journey, from awareness to post-purchase.
Providing these experiences pays enormous dividends, both at point-of-sale and for long-term sustainability. 67% of consumers will pay more for a positive experience, while 32% will break ties with a brand after one bad experience. Loyal, repeat customers are also 5 times more likely to purchase again and 4 times more likely to recommend the brand.
All told, whether it’s to shop, access their accounts, make payments, or receive customer support, customers want their experiences to be fast, convenient, personalized, informative, and seamless – and at the same time, expect to speak to a real person instead if it helps resolve their problems more efficiently.
The roadblocks to digital transformation
The term "digital transformation" can be confusing and daunting, broadly encompassing everything from user interface to chatbots and making it difficult for companies to know where to start and what to prioritize.
Another major challenge in digital transformation is dealing with existing technology infrastructures, as siloed tech stacks impede the circulation of information, reducing responsiveness and efficiency. Trapped by an inflexible and complex infrastructure, companies integrating new technologies or business needs are sometimes insurmountable.
This becomes even harder for industries that also struggle with inefficient and outdated processes, such as manual data entry and processing, paper-based documentation, lack of automation for critical functions, limited data analysis capabilities, and limited collaboration due to siloed responsibilities.
Lastly, many companies may not have the budget or human resources to make the necessary improvements, despite knowing that digital transformation saves both money and time in the long run
Putting customers first, and always
Keeping up with the rapid pace of technology and the customer expectations that come with it is not easy. And even those that attempt it aren’t guaranteed success: McKinsey reports 70% of all digital transformations fail.
Perhaps most telling is that 41% of companies have started digital transformation without having done customer research, and only 24% are making concrete changes to improve their digital customer journey.
This is a rather misguided approach, given that two-thirds of a company's competitive advantage comes from how it delivers the customer experience. In other words, meeting customer expectations can only happen if you know your customer and understand how they feel about digital experiences.
Companies need to take a client-centric approach to fully succeed at digital transformation and stay competitive in today's business landscape. Only by listening to customers and responding to their needs can you create a digital experience they want to engage with – one that is convenient, frictionless, and personalized.
Business texting and digital transformation
As a preferred digital channel that delivers a seamless and engaging customer journey, business texting is a proven and cost-effective way to massively scale up your outreach with the responsive, personalized experiences that consumers now expect.
Book a demo to learn how text messaging can kickstart your digital transformation.