How To Improve Your Digital Customer Experience at Your Small Business
In an increasingly digital world, having a strong online presence for your small business isn’t just a box to tick: It’s essential for success. Often, the first place potential customers will interact with your business is online via your website or social media. Ensuring they have a positive digital customer experience plays a significant role in informing whether their initial interest will translate into sales. But how do you ensure each customer’s experience is a positive one? And what can small businesses do to strengthen their online presence? Below, we’ll answer these questions and arm you with advice to help you and your small business succeed.
What Is a Digital Customer Experience?
The digital customer experience isn’t one thing. Rather, it’s the overall takeaway a customer has after interacting with your brand digitally. The phrase is often used to describe a customer’s experience with your website or social media pages but encompasses any and all digital interactions they may have with your brand, including through mobile apps, email, social media, online customer service, text communications, blogs, and digital marketing content. These digital interactions all serve to shape the customer’s impression of your business.
Why Is Having a Positive Digital Customer Experience Important?
Leaving potential customers with a positive first impression is important for a number of reasons, but it all adds up to the same thing: How you come across digitally affects your bottom line. Studies show that in recent years, many consumers have been shopping online rather than making their purchases in person. In fact, since 2021, roughly 54% of people have shifted to predominantly shopping online—a figure that equates to about $1 trillion in annual e-commerce sales (and that’s just in the United States). Because online shopping has become so prevalent, consumers have more options than ever before. And making a great impression is one way to capture their attention and convince them that your business is the right choice for them.
Who Is Responsible for the Digital Customer Experience?
Creating a positive digital customer experience is a team effort, requiring input from several different departments, including:
Marketing: Experts estimate that, on average, we’re exposed to anywhere between four and ten thousand advertisements per day. Most of these we see once and promptly forget about. Having a strong marketing strategy can help you stand out and attract consumers to your brand. But looking appealing is only one part of the equation. Your marketing team also has to ensure that all external marketing campaigns—like social media ads—are easily digested and navigate back to your site, where consumers can make a purchase.
Sales: When a potential customer does want to make a purchase, it’s on your sales team to ensure that they can do that efficiently. That means having a streamlined and intuitive purchasing process that doesn’t involve any unnecessary steps to follow or forms to fill out. And, of course, your sales team also has to make sure that what’s being advertised is actually available for purchase.
Customer Service: Think about how frustrating it is to call a customer service line and be told there’s a three-hour wait time to speak to a person. For most of us, that’s the kind of inconvenience that can make us lose interest in a brand or business. Ensuring that it’s easy for your customers to get in touch with you—whether that be via phone, email, or with a virtual assistant—can help make them feel heard and valued, which in turn, leaves them with a better overall impression of your brand.
IT: Your website and app need to work across a wide range of devices and operating systems. A strong IT team can help ensure this is the case.
Design: Humans are visual creatures, and a well-designed website or app is more likely to elicit a positive response from customers.
7 Things You Can Do To Improve Your Digital Customer Experience
With all of the above to take into account, it can feel overwhelming for small business owners to figure out how to start improving the digital customer experience. To help, we’ve put together a list of seven simple things you can do to ensure your online customers get the most out of every interaction with your brand. Keep reading to learn how to make your mark in the digital landscape.
Get to know your customers
Just because you’re not having face-to-face interactions with your digital customers doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to get to know them. In fact, getting to know your online customers may be even more important for brands who operate online—it’s one way you can foster a deeper connection with them. Using data collected from your marketing research can help you ensure you’re targeting the right demographic, at the right time, in the right way. This all adds up to the customer feeling more at home with your brand, which can drive a deeper overall sense of satisfaction.
In a similar vein, make an effort to personalize communications (specifically, in text and email marketing, which goes directly to the consumer). It can help boost customer engagement and drive a deeper sense of loyalty, making your business top of mind when they’re looking to buy a specific product or service.
Make your business mobile-friendly
In one survey, 44% of respondents said they’d made a purchase on a website using their smartphone within the past year. A further 38% said they’d made a purchase via their tablet. What this illustrates is that making sure your business’ website works seamlessly across different types of devices—and different operating systems—is essential. This applies to apps, too: If your small business has one, take care to ensure that it works as well on Apple phones as it does on Samsung, Motorola, and Android phones.
Keep your digital profiles updated
When a customer has a question about your business—like where it is, when it’s open, or what the phone number is—the first place they’ll turn is the internet. As such, it’s critical to make sure that the information on all of your digital profiles (including those on Yelp, Google, and any social media platforms your business uses) is accurate and up-to-date.
Be available 24/7
We touched upon it earlier, but it bears repeating: To have a positive digital customer experience, you need to be able to communicate with your customers. Utilizing virtual assistants can help customers get their questions answered quickly and efficiently—even when you’re not available to talk. And with Optimum Business phone, you’ll get key features necessary for your small business to thrive, including unlimited calls, business-hosted voice (a cloud-based system that allows you to make and receive calls on your mobile device with your business number), and business trunking to manage simultaneous calls. These make it possible for your customers to get in touch when they need to.
Make cybersecurity a priority
All businesses can be vulnerable to cyberattacks in the form of phishing, malware, and distributed denial of service (DDoS). Implementing strong cybersecurity measures can help protect you and your customers from these outside threats.
Set up a WiFi splash page for guests
Your business should have at least two WiFi networks: one for you (and your employees) and a guest network for customers. For the latter, consider setting up a splash page with some basic information about your business, like your phone number, address, and hours of operation. If you’re not sure how to do that, that’s okay: Pro WiFi by Optimum Business makes setting up guest WiFi networks a breeze. The business-oriented service also allows you to collect data from visitors, enabling you to use those consumer insights to inform future decisions.
Looking for more ways to help grow your small business? Take a look at the Optimum Business blog, where we show you the best ways to help grow your small business further.