So much has changed for retailers this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. What has made the difference between success and failure in this turbulent time has been the ability to provide an exceptional digital customer experience. In this article you’ll learn why Sitecore’s Chief Marketing Officer, Paige O’Neill, sees digital customer experience as the defining trend of 2020 for marketers.
Shaping the customer experience (CX) in our increasingly digital world is a top priority for retailers, healthcare organizations, government agencies, and many other companies today. While organizations were investing in CX prior to COVID-19, the pandemic increased spending and the implementation of digital experience (DX) tools. However, as consumers and brands become more reliant on digital, there is still a strong need for human connection.
At the recent DX Summit, Paige O’Neill, Chief Marketing Officer at Sitecore, shared her views on digital customer experience and the importance it has assumed in 2020 because of the lack of in-person connection. She stated that “over the last couple of months, as we all have had to navigate the pandemic, we’ve seen that CX and digital has become… the primary way that we are connecting with our customers. So, it has moved even more so to the top of everyone’s critical priority list.”
Fifty-nine percent of consumers agree that at the heart of the customer experience there has to be human connection. O’Neill remarked how through navigating the heavy shift to a digital environment these past couple of months, companies have had a “wake-up call about the state of their digital responsiveness as in-person service had to shut down. We have all had to serve our customers via our digital channels.”
A key way to continue to acquire and retain customers during this time is through creating human connections, providing an experience that make customers feel that they’re important to the brand. This need for connection has been heightened this year and companies must find ways to build authentic relationships with their customer base.
In her presentation, O’Neill emphasized that any successful CX strategy needs to have heart. The idea of being part of a brand and feeling connection is highlighted by the fact that 60 percent of customers “talk about brands like family” to the extent of using descriptors, such as, “the same type of emotional language like happy, adore, and love,” shared O’Neill.
If brands are able to recognize this, there is great potential for growing their business and deepening connections with their customers. By digging deeper below the surface to understand the customer more completely, companies can create messaging that resonates with their consumers, increase their feelings of connection, and build loyalty to the brand. With the COVID-19 pandemic and no in-store shopping, there has never been a greater need, or opportunity, to build customer relationships and strengthen their brand experience.
O’Neill concluded her talk by emphasizing that “in our current environment our feelings are more heightened than they usually are. This is even more important when thinking about the interactions that we want to provide with customers.”
This year has allowed for a reset of CX with even more focus on bringing customer relationships to the forefront. The pandemic has led to a high level of uncertainty and restrictive behavior. Brands face the challenge of understanding customer trends and needs and must enhance their approach through a smart digital strategy and analysis of their customer base to maximize revenue and meet their mission.
Learn more about building stronger customer relationships through digital experience by exploring the Sitecore infographic: “Top tips for making digital your difference”
This article originally appeared on Retail Technology Insider on November 19, 2020.