A strong customer experience has the power to increase your customer base, improve retention, boost LTV and sales, and more. If you go one step further and focus more on digital customer experience, then the potential to amplify these benefits is huge.
Yet, even though businesses are well aware of the advantages of having a well-though-out digital customer experience, there are some that still struggle to figure out what this looks like for them and their customers. There isn’t much clarity on how to create a strategy that uses API technology to help them succeed as a business.
You have to figure out what processes and tools you need in place to support customers, then find ways to incorporate API technology into your strategy to keep your audience engaged and loyal.
Let’s look at how to develop a CX strategy that moves customers through your funnel, how API technology enhances it, and the difference it makes in your business.
Automation is the cornerstone of effective digital customer experience
Why are APIs so crucial to the digital customer experience? Because fragmented systems that are made up of a patchwork of task-specific applications don’t cut it. Think about it.
When a new lead signs up for your service, they don’t want to have to fill in a lead form to register, then enter the same information into your app when they download it, and then enter it again when they buy something.
When they go to check out on your store, they want their credit card to be remembered from the last time they bought something.
In other words, customers want an easy process that remembers their information and requires very little input from them.
A poorly planned process that doesn’t put customer expectations first confuses them and drives them to the doors of your competitors.
API technology and the automation it provides helps you meet this expectation. Automation also:
- reduces mistakes that result from manual data entry
- saves time so your team can focus on more value-added tasks
- minimizes the pressure felt from high-volume inbound calls
- creates reliability because it allows for consistency
- lets you engage with more customers than before since interactions are automatically triggered
- lets you be more proactive and innovative vs. always reacting to inbound requests
Build automation into your CX strategy and then track how it’s working by looking at customer feedback. What customers say about their experience and how they respond to the processes you’ve put in place — do they complain, stop using your product, or send notes of appreciation? — tell you how good a job you’re doing at meeting their expectations.
Almost all of your customers use some kind of digital device in their daily lives. They expect to have the same experience across them all, so make sure your strategy includes automatic syncing. Information from one device should carry over to others.
Also, customers expect immediate responses and solutions to their questions and concerns. Automation lets you send immediate responses to the kinds of feedback you get most often, so customers aren’t kept waiting.
The more you can digitize the customer experience from when they first find you to when they buy something, the better your ability to grow your business and generate consistent, sustainable revenue. A CX strategy that takes end-to-end automation into consideration helps customers move through the funnel more fluidly — from curious and researching to retained, loyal, and referring.
A successful CX strategy is tech dependent
CX strategy is a vital part of any business because it acts as a roadmap that guides your company’s actions and behaviors.
You don’t have to look very far to see that we’ve become a tech-dependent society. You can lock your car with your phone, check your daily physical activity with a watch, or unlock your phone just by looking at it. This shift in access to technology means that it’s critical that you incorporate tech into your CX strategy. This puts you in a better position to cater to the evolving needs and expectations of your customers to make sure that they keep coming back.
Keep your API technology options top of mind as you develop your CX strategy. For example, here are three questions to ask yourself as you work through the process. Your answers to these questions should influence the strategy — and the tools — you use.
Who is your audience and where do they spend time online?
Whether you’re dealing with different generations — like millennials vs. baby boomers — or people with different preferences or people at different stages in their customer journey, consider how tech-savvy they are with digital solutions.Think about whether it takes the majority of your audience a few seconds to figure out how to use a new app or platform or whether they need a little extra help to get started.
How your audience responds to tech determines the direction you take with the types of digital options you offer them and what kinds of tech you can explore and experiment with.
What are your competitors doing?
Take a minute to research how your competitors use API technology. Look at things like their:
- registration process
- onboarding strategy
- notification process, tools, and frequency
- platforms used and more
Once you’re clear on what their processes are, look at how your services compare. Where is your API technology lacking and where do you exceed customer expectations compared to your competitors? Based on your findings, make adjustments to your strategy so that you stand out. Remember, happy customers talk about their experience, so it’s key that your strategy meets their needs.
How easy is it for your audience to find your business online?
Your CX strategy should include the tactics you’ll use to get your business in front of your target audience. Use a combination of SEO-driven content, paid advertising, and social media to make it easier for people to find you.
Once people are on your website, think about how easy it is for them to:
- navigate the site
- get in touch with sales or support
- use your accompanying app or platform
- complete signup and onboarding
- go through the purchase and checkout process
Use these ideas to create a customized CX strategy that relies on API technology. Your audience has higher expectations when it comes to their online experience — they want shorter wait times, easy access to information, and more — so your strategy has to make the digital customer experience as smooth as possible.
Consistency is also an important part of any successful CX strategy. For example, customers need to know that their user dashboard will always be up-to-date with their latest transactional information or that when they schedule an appointment, they’ll always get a confirmation SMS message or email.
Your customers are more likely to continue doing business with you if, overall, they’ve had a positive, consistent experience.
The API economy is on the rise
Companies that rely on API technology generate a considerable amount of revenue from it. For example, companies like Salesforce, Facebook, and Google have made API technology a big part of how they do business and have seen considerable revenue growth as a result.
For your business, figure out what your ideal customer funnel is and then incorporate the corresponding API technology. Let’s say when a lead signs up for a free 14-day trial you send them an email or SMS marketing campaign a week later — before the trial expires — reminding them about the benefits of a paid plan. If they buy one of your plans, then you use their registration information to create their user profile. Then, based on how they use your product, you can send regular notifications about new features to get them to use the product more often.
This helps you to not just create and maintain a positive digital customer experience but also shows how organized and strategic you are.
The benefits of automation don’t end there. For a closer look at the different ways to use automation, depending on your business needs, let’s look at a few more examples:
High rates of inbound calls make it near impossible to respond quickly and efficiently manually. This approach takes up valuable customer support time, adds pressure to respond, causes reactivity, and opens the door to mistakes.
Solution: API technology triggers the right response using the right channel at the right time. For example, automate sending voice, email, SMS, social media, and rich media messaging to improve your support team’s efficiency and productivity.
Marketing and promotions
With new restrictions in place about how to communicate with audiences, outreach has become more expensive, and the returns aren’t guaranteed.
Solution: Connect your CRM and reporting tools to automate sending personalized, rich media campaigns. You can send content, like special offers or coupons, that your audience will engage with and create a powerful digital customer experience.
One-Time Password and Two-Factor Authentication
Cybercrime has become a reality, and customers’ personal data is frequently under attack. This new world has given way to new regulations across multiple industries to protect customer data.
Solution: Use automation to authenticate online or mobile payments. For example, use the VoiceSage OTP authentication to send an OTP to customers within two seconds to make sure only they can access their data. This also acts as a way to notify customers of unauthorized activity on their account.
Delivery and fulfillment communication
When customers place orders online, they’re likely to contact customer support to confirm that the order was received. Since a response is needed, this takes up a lot of time.
Solution: Set up an API that triggers when an order is received. Send an SMS or an email with purchase details, so customers have confirmation without customer support getting involved. Also send a follow-up message that includes a tracking number and the expected delivery date.
Engaging with customers in-store is a prime opportunity to impress them with your customer service and stand out from competitors. However, unlike when customers visit an ecommerce store, it isn’t easy to tell when they visit a retail location. This leads to missed engagement opportunities.
Solution: Use our API to send branded proximity based messaging when customers are geographically close to your store. Offer specialized deals based on their shopping history or send a reminder about a sale as a way to get them to the store and create a customized digital experience.
It’s important for you as a business to have the information you need quickly so that you can make decisions based on it. Not having access to the latest data leaves you less informed about what’s going on within teams.
Solution: With our API-enabled analytics solution you can immediately see how the sales team is performing, how the customer support team is managing their workload, for example, and base your decisions on these insights.
People lead busy lives, so it’s easy to forget the appointments they’ve made. From missed deliveries to missed appointments, there’s a lot of frustration that can be avoided.
Solution: Use rich media messaging that automatically sends reminders to customers via SMS of upcoming appointments. In the message give them the option to confirm their appointment time and reschedule.
Ecommerce and retail
Abandoned carts are common for ecommerce businesses. Email requests to log back in to complete the sale are common but don’t work to get customers to complete their order.
Solution: Use API-enabled messaging to send customers a link to their abandoned cart. Make sure all the information customers entered is still there so that all they have to do is press checkout. Incentivize them by offering limited-time offers or a promo code that’s already been applied to their purchase.
With API technology, it’s important to have change logs running that monitor customer information so that issues can be proactively addressed. Customers won’t always say something is wrong — they’ll just leave — so make it standard practice to always check logs.
Digital customer experience is the new frontier of CX strategy
Take the idea of CX strategy one step further by making the importance and influence of the digital customer experience part of your company culture. Think about whether the digital customer experience is a natural part of how your company operates or whether incorporating API technology feels awkward and clunky because even though you use it, you haven’t committed to making it a success.
A lot of what you do as a company affects your customers, so make sure that API technology helps you create a culture that supports innovation, customer experience, and product success. A solid company culture takes into consideration the long-term needs of customers, so keep working on improving yours.
Also, use API technology to break down barriers that prevent the “right kind of culture” from developing. For example, don’t be afraid to switch to new, more robust tools as your needs change.
With VoiceSage, you’re able to use the right channel with the right content to stimulate deeper engagement and more meaningful interactions with your brand. Book a demo today and get started!
Published on: 16th October 2018