Customer experience (CX) is becoming an increasingly strategic part of any company’s brand as businesses become more customer-centric. And thanks to technologies that give customers more options than ever, right at their fingertips, consumers expect a flawless CX, anytime and anywhere, regardless of medium. In other words, customer retention and satisfaction is intertwined with CX.
According to research done by PwC, 73% of customers agree that customer experience helps to drive their buying decision while 85% of customers say that they are even ready to pay more if their CX needs are met. According to Gartner Inc., roughly two-thirds of companies today compete based on the CX, and every business is looking for a way to make their CX stand out more than their competitors. The solution, as I see it, is digitizing.
Digitizing Your CX
Digitalization is a growing trend, regardless of industry, and it’s no different when it comes to the CX. While there are those who advocate against digitization, more companies today are going virtual to improve their CX.
Over the past few years, there has been a dramatic rise in digital customer service interactions, and that number is only expected to continue to grow. By the end of 2022, the global CX technology spending is expected to reach $641 billion. The shift to a digital CX, however, isn’t simply being driven by companies looking to improve experiences but also by how business is being done in general, as the world pushes forward into the digital age. For example, the pandemic accelerated the use of online shopping, due to the perceived convenience and positive experiences, and several studies show most people will keep taking a digital approach. According to a survey (download required) done by Telus International, 71% of consumers will continue to shop online. And it is not just online shopping that is growing—77% of respondents indicated they will continue digital telehealth services, and a whopping 92% say they will continue to use digital banking.
Creating The Right Digital CX
While digitizing CX is becoming essential, simply adopting and leveraging different devices and applications doesn’t automatically improve CX. Digitalization presents organizations with the opportunity to reimagine their CX, but as with any transformation initiative, there are challenges businesses will face throughout the process. Companies must make sure they are doing their due diligence and finding the right technology for their needs and truly enhancing their CX, or else they will just be introducing more challenges into their ecosystem.
The most notable digital tool being adopted into the CX industry is artificial intelligence, most commonly in the form of chatbots. These bots, using text and/or voice, provide support and connect human users with the services or information they need by simulating a traditional person-to-person conversation. According to Accenture, 56% of companies say conversational bots are driving disruption in their industry, and 43% report their competitors are already implementing the technology. Likewise, 57% of businesses agree that chatbots deliver a large return on investment with minimal effort.
Apart from chatbots, mobile CX technology has become valuable for companies as consumers enjoy being able to take their mobile device out of their pocket and get their CX needs met even when they are on the go. According to Statista, more than 50% of website traffic today happens on mobile devices. But, apart from simply having a mobile CX, companies today must be able to seamlessly connect the CX from one medium to another, whether it be voice, video text or other mediums. According to Harvard Business Review, 73% of customers use multiple channels during their purchase journey, which makes creating an omnichannel CX now a necessity for most businesses.
The CX industry has exploded in terms of size, power and prestige, and is going to continue to grow along with consumer expectations. With this growth, we will most likely see the extinction of the traditional CX and the spawn of a new age of digital CX innovation.
Editor’s note: This article originally appeared on Forbes.com.