banner

Can you bridge the gap between customer expectations and your current digital experience?

5 ways CSP’s Digital Commerce offerings are falling short of customer expectations

November 04, 2019

 

 

Like precocious preschoolers, your customers and their expectations are developing quicker than you can say, “They grow up so fast, don’t they?”

Meeting these ever-evolving expectations is hard for any business. But, for Communications Service Providers (CSPs), it’s even trickier.

Why?

Because your customer’s best digital experience is now their expected experience, regardless of industry.

It might seem unfair, but they’re not concerned about the complexities you face bundling your products. And they’re similarly uninterested in the relationship between BSS and OSS architecture. All your customers want is amazing, convenient customer experiences – across the board.

This high bar means that customers simply won’t put up with second best. 

They want you to know them inside out and provide personalized experiences based on your relationship. But they also want their buying journey to be flexible and on their terms. 

So, with a lot to live up to, how can you bridge the gap between your customer expectations and your current digital experience?

online shopping

Digital commerce is crucial to meeting customer expectations

The most important step you can take to meet your customer expectations is to develop an outstanding digital commerce experience.

There’s mountains of data to support this, but here’s a couple statistics that spell it out:

82% of customers research purchases online before they buy. And buying online is only increasing – research estimates a huge 95% of purchases will be made online by 2040.

These trends mean you can’t afford to neglect the digital gateway to your customers’ hearts, minds and wallets. 

But browsers are also notoriously fickle. With plentiful choices a mere click away, if you don’t provide the digital experience they expect 89% of consumers will switch to a competitor.

And, while your online offering has to provide an excellent standalone experience, your digital store will only succeed if it links coherently with the rest of your business – across channels, systems of record, and systems of engagement.

Frustratingly, for many CSPs, the shortfalls of your legacy platforms mean this simply isn’t possible.

So where specifically is your digital commerce offering falling short of customer expectations? And how can you improve these areas? Let’s take a look below.

Store Closed

1. Lack of flexibility

By its very nature, digital commerce gives your customers some of the flexibility they crave. Websites have no closing hours, never have waiting lines and can be accessed anywhere with a WiFi connection.

But this innate convenience is the minimum requirement. 

Gartner predicts that by 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationship without interacting with a human.

This means the option for customers to self-serve is a must. Your site needs to give customers the freedom to make or cancel orders, customize packages, build bundles and get the best deal available at that moment in time.

 

CSP eCommerce self service example

 

A smart site will also let users keep track of usage, recommend relevant products and provide a link to your other channels. 

It’s this ease of access and control over their product that is exactly what today’s communications customer expects. 

And, while it satisfies your customers’ appetite for flexibility and control, a properly functioning digital commerce offering also reduces the strain on your customer service agents – both in contact centers and in store.

2. Inability to provide a seamless omnichannel experience

We’ve highlighted that most of your customers start researching their purchases online. 

We also know that today’s shopping behaviors mean that they’re also likely to change devices or channels before their purchase is complete.

multi-device browsing

These behaviors make your ability to recognize visitors across channels and devices vital if you plan to offer the joined-up omnichannel CX customers expect.

Your digital commerce offering needs to work seamlessly across devices and link smoothly with other channels – from contact centers to retail stores. And investing in omnichannel will be well worth your while – omnichannel customers shop more frequently and spend 3.5x more than other shopper types.

The prevalence of sequential shopping, plus the fact that 56% of shoppers use their cart to save items for later, means a persistent cart across channels is vital to give both your customer and customer service agents continuity. 

But providing this omnichannel service isn’t possible without a 360-degree view of your customers. And, despite the undoubted benefits to CX, 73% of brands are struggling to provide a consistent experience across channels because of the constraints of their platform.

And that leads nicely onto our next section.

3. Inconsistency across channels

A persistent cart across channels is just one CX advantage that an omnichannel digital commerce platform can give you. Another is consistency. 

71% of customers react negatively to brand inconsistencies across devices and channels.

Serving up inconsistencies across your channels either confuses customers or undermines their confidence in your brand. 

Either way, it suggests a lack of visibility across your business as a whole. 

Your eCommerce offering can’t be an island – it should link to the rest of your business. From your product catalog, for accurate pricing and details, to your customer service agents, so they can provide a personalized service.

Your customers see your brand as your brand. It makes no difference whether they’re online, talking to a call center or shopping in store. 

If your customers get inconsistent information about products and pricing, or aren’t recognized across channels, it makes for a disjointed and disappointing experience. 

Find a digital platform that can centralize your customer and commercial data, while also linking your key commerce processes. This combination will give you the omnichannel capability you need to give customers a consistent experience across every channel.

4. Generic customer experiences

Your customers expect more than a one-size-fits-all experience.

Just as a helpful salesperson in your store would provide tariff recommendations based on a customer’s wants and needs, people want the same online:

If you can’t provide personalized experiences, again, customers aren’t going to hang around. 54% would end their relationship if they aren’t given tailor-made relevant content and offers.

So how can you get more personal with your customers? 

To personalize beyond a superficial level requires a clearer view of your customer and their behavior. As a result, a platform that combines customer and commercial data to give you this visibility is the starting point for a tailored CX. 

From here, an intelligent digital commerce solution can make this most of this pooled data, using AI and next best action to deliver customers personalized product recommendations based on your business logic. 

You can also predefine combinations of products and services in your product catalog, empowering your customers to self-serve and create a personalized bundle of products and services.

5. A slow & insecure site

How long are you willing to wait for a website to load? 

Probably not much longer than it takes you to read this sentence.

And you’re by no means alone. Most of as are in a hurry – we’re impatient and easily distracted. 

In fact our attention spans are getting worse. Previous studies show the average human attention span has reduced from 12 seconds in 2000, to around 8 seconds. 

It’s this low attention span, as well as an inherently impatient nature, that means you need speed and minimal distractions to keep your customers engaged and on the path to purchase.

This makes the speed of your eCommerce site, and its ability to handle high volumes of traffic, vital to your success.

  • 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less.
  • 40% will abandon a page that takes three or more seconds to load. 
  • 79% of shoppers dissatisfied with website performance are less likely to buy from you again.

So, a fast site that isn’t liable to crash or timeout is essential to keep your customers engaged and willing to convert. 

This largely comes down to your website’s ability to deal with high volumes

A digital commerce solution with an elastic architecture can give you the bandwidth to cope with varying traffic volumes. The flexible architecture brings secure performance and speed – whether you’re making complex business or high volume consumer sales.

Make buying online easy, fast & flexible

As we’ve explored, rampant digitization has made your online store central to your success.

With customer experience fast eclipsing product and price as a motivation to purchase – the need to put your digital experience at pole position is ever more pressing.

After all, if you can make buying online convenient, frictionless and fast, you’ll see NPS and customer loyalty rise, as well as a healthy jump in revenues. 

Even if your digital experience currently falls short, it won’t take wholesale changes for you to meet customer expectations. The latest digital commerce solutions are easy to implement and offer fast time to value. 

By joining up your key commerce elements – from marketing and sales to fulfillment and customer service – a commerce app can empower your business to quickly become a digital experience disruptor.

Check out our Appexchange listing to see how CloudSense Digital Commerce can empower your business to deliver convenient customer experiences on Salesforce