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Why the digital journey changes everything and how to keep up

Customer Engagement 2021

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Chapter 4

Step 2: Structure Your Digital Customer Journey

Once you’ve mapped out your desired digital touchpoints, you can begin to envision the digital customer journey — the entire digital experience that a customer has with your company. It follows the complete lifecycle of a customer — from awareness to loyalty.

Your digital customer journey should consider and incorporate your key objectives, customer personas, and digital touchpoints. Here are a few communication strategies to consider when structuring your digital customer journey:

Social Media vs. SEO Marketing

Reach & Acquisition

How your customer found you can result in different digital touchpoints and follow up actions.

New customers in the pre-purchase stage may reach out on social media if a post or advertisement catches their eye. On social media channels, how quickly you should follow up with these interactions depends on which social channel the customer is using. On Facebook, for example, 85 percent of customers want a response from companies within six hours. Meanwhile, 64 percent of customers on Twitter expect a response within just one hour. If a customer interacts with your company privately via direct messaging, they may also expect a faster response than they would for a public post.

Your website visitors often use live chat as their first digital touchpoint, especially if the live chat button is made readily available. Live chat users expect to be connected with an agent in a minute or less; according to Comm100’s 2020 Live Chat Benchmark Report, customers using live chat waited an average of just 46 seconds to be connected with an agent.

For new customers who land on your website outside your normal office hours, a clear knowledge base and a helpful chatbot are two channels that can keep your leads moving through the digital customer journey.

Inbound vs. Outbound

Acquisition & Conversion

Responding to a leads’ inbound request is a helpful way to guide them towards conversion. However, with digital omnichannel, waiting for your customers to come to you is not the only option. Sometimes a little outbound action is the perfect push for a lead who is still in the decision-making process.

With digital omnichannel communication, you can automate outbound correspondence at key points to help guide the visitor through the customer journey. These automated interactions can be set based on custom rules and will be sent only to website visitors that meet the requirements of those rules.

For example, if a first-time customer is browsing a web page for a predetermined amount of time, a chat window could appear inviting that customer to chat (“let us know if you have any questions!”). For a customer who is visiting a second time, or from a specific location, a personalized deal might be offered instead (“see something you like? Ask us about our free shipping codes!”).

Comm100’s 2020 Live Chat Benchmark Report found that about 5 percent of outbound chats are accepted by web visitors and turn into meaningful interactions with the brand. If you can automate outbound messages, why not engage and convert more?

Outbound messages aren’t only for capturing leads — they can be used as an important part of inspiring loyalty from existing customers. For example, if a customer complains that a product was damaged in shipping, agents could issue a replacement order, then set up a time and date to automatically check back in with the customer via email or SMS. This kind of nurturing lays the groundwork for greater loyalty and a higher customer lifetime value.

B2B vs. B2C

Conversion & Retention

B2B and B2C digital journeys involve their own set of channel preferences. With B2B, the person who is experiencing your journey is often a member of the company who has purchasing power, and may not be a direct user of your product. B2B communication tends to involve more traditional channels, such as email, and responses are often expected within 1-24 hours.

B2C consumers, on the other hand, tend to prefer live chat, texting, and social media communication. They often want and expect a faster response, and will use the channels that are most known for their speed and convenience. When B2C customers are in the early stages of their customer journey, the immediacy of your agents’ response may impact whether they abandon their shopping cart or defer to a competitor.

Private vs. Public

Retention & Loyalty

With digital omnichannel engagement, agents can easily switch between channels, allowing them to easily relocate, transfer, or escalate a situation that may otherwise require the customer to make a second contact.

For example, if a customer publically reaches out on social media about an account issue, agents can switch uninterrupted to a secure SMS or email correspondence. This keeps agents from compromising the customer’s data by continuing the conversation on a public platform, and it keeps the customer from the frustration of having to reengage with the company through another means and open another support ticket.

Still, it is important to consider that forcing a customer onto a different channel should only occur under the most carefully considered circumstances. As a rule of thumb, channel switching should be avoided as much as possible.

For customer interactions that require a secure exchange of information, live chat is the safest private platform for data exchange. Live chat providers such as Comm100 adhere to strict privacy and security protocols including HIPAA, PCI CSS, and SOC 2, satisfying the requirements of even the most data-sensitive industries like healthcare, government, and banking. Tools including data encryption, obfuscation, IP restriction, and others make sharing credit card, health, or other sensitive information easy and secure. This gives organizations in these verticals the confidence and peace of mind they need to fully adopt digital channels.

Mobile vs Desktop

Reach & Loyalty

The demand for mobile chat is growing and shows no sign of slowing down. According to Comm100’s 2020 Live Chat Benchmark Report, 74.5 percent of all live chats were sent from a mobile device. With over 42 million mobile chats, this marks an 82 percent increase from the year before.

With customers continuing to shift from desktop to mobile as their primary online device, companies must optimize and prioritize mobile digital touchpoints when planning their digital customer experience. This includes optimizing your company website to accommodate the increasingly mobile customer journey and adopting live chat and SMS as key digital omnichannel communication points — especially for B2C sectors.

Customer Engagement

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