By Greg Gatherer, Account Manager, Liferay Africa 

Most organisations today understand that customer experience is vital to both their survival and growth. They probably would’ve read that research has shown that customers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience and that organisations which provide those experiences can expect higher degrees of loyalty and increased spend. But what they may not realise is that providing those experiences is just as important for new and potential customers as it is for existing ones.

And whether your organisation operates on a business to business (B2B) or business to consumer (B2C) model, chances are the first interaction any potential customer has with your organisation will be digital, as will the majority thereafter. It’s therefore critical that any organisation looking to grow its customer base focus on building out the best possible digital experiences.

Critically, these experiences shouldn’t just be great in and of themselves, but should form a seamless journey that makes it as easy as possible for someone to go from being a potential customer to being a fully-fledged, loyal, repeat buyer.

Greg Gatherer

Greg Gatherer: Account Manager, Liferay Africa

Building a great digital experience
Before taking a deep dive into how great digital experiences can help organisations grow their customer bases, it’s worth taking a look at what makes a good digital experience.

First off, any digital experience should be as easy for customers or potential customers to access as possible. That means they should have the ability to reach your brand’s service, regardless of where they are or what time it is. The best way to ensure that’s the case is by taking an omnichannel approach which facilitates access across various channels through an integrated system.

Organisations should also make it as easy as possible for new and potential customers to get any assistance they need at every point in their customer journey. It’s important then to ensure that customer service tools are easy to find via your digital platforms and that they give customers the option to solve simple issues themselves, rather than having to contact customer support.

Those may seem like small things, but they can make a massive impact on prospective customers. Think about your own experiences as an e-commerce site. Are you more likely to shop with a site that lets you buy instantly or one that makes you go through a tedious registration process? And are you more likely to keep buying from a site that makes it easy to get help with things like changing delivery dates or one that makes it impossible for you to get any kind of customer support?

The right technology
Of course, building these experiences isn’t a given. Instead, it’s something that businesses have to work on continuously. That said, the right technology can make it a great deal easier.

A digital experience platform (DXP), for example, can help ensure that customers can take each step in their journey seamlessly. DXPs connect disparate data sources into one user experience – for example, a web portal or mobile app.

Utilising digital self-service tools can also be helpful. By streamlining ordering through a self-service portal, for example, you eliminate the need for customers to take time to speak with a customer service representative. Remember, the goal is to reduce friction as much as possible and make things as easy for someone to become a customer as possible.

With organisations operating in increasingly competitive environments and product seldom a major differentiator, digital experiences are somewhere that organisations can really stand out.

Long-term dividends
It’s clear then that creating great digital experiences is incredibly important for organisations looking to grow their customer bases. But in order to keep those customers once they’ve gained them, organisations need to build on these early experiences and ensure seamless transitions in each phase of the customer journey.

Remember, loyal customers buy more frequently and spend more with every purchase. It’s therefore in every organisation’s best interest to combine growth with retention when it focuses on its digital experiences. By taking this approach, organisations put themselves in the best possible position to achieve long-term success. Fortunately, with the right tools and mindset in place, it’s something that’s entirely achievable.

Submitted by Irvine Partners