Delivering a digitally optimised customer experience

Pre640 Delivering a digitally optimised customer experience

Some weeks ago we looked at what one edition of Raconteur — a series of reports published in print and online by UK newspaper, The Times— had made of customer experience and loyalty, in its edition of that name. Raconteur are at it again, but not quite so blatantly.

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Its 8 September edition is titled Digital Optimisation. There are many ways a company can strive to be digitally optimal, but as Raconteur’s overview makes clear, its focus is on the digitally optimised customer experience.

“Technology doesn’t stand still. Consumer demands and behaviours keep evolving,” it says.“The competitive environment is turbulent and full of disruption. And every day and every interaction your customers have with your brand, you learn a little bit more. Consider each of these ideas for a moment.”

It then goes on to list numerous ways in which digital optimisation can be manifested: ”micro-innovations, such as the development of a new tool for measuring social data. Or… bigger innovations, as we're seeing with augmented reality, virtual reality and artificial intelligence … advances in cognitive computing and machine learning or breakthroughs in connected living and the internet of things. Or it could be a minor search algorithm change by Google or advertising algorithm change by Facebook, with major ramifications for marketers.”

Note that last phrase ‘major ramifications for marketers”.

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Digital optimisations don’t have to be implemented by behemoths like Facebook: exploited by a competitor they could have major ramifications for any business. So what does Raconteur have to say about digital optimisation?

An important aspect of digital optimisation in pursuit of a better customer experience is one that is often overlooked: improving the accessibility of websites for those with disabilities. Of more general applicability is the idea of personalised offerings based on intimate knowledge of the customer.

But without a doubt, the most important message in this edition of Raconteur is that digitally optimising customer interactions means optimising interaction via mobile devices.

As Raconteur says: “Mobile represents the future for any business with an online presence – it’s that simple. … The growth of mobile means that businesses which fail to cater for this user group face losing half or more of their potential customer base.”

And it’s not primarily the mobile user you need to optimise for;its the likes of Google. “The two major ways in which mobile optimisation matters are visibility in search engines and the conversion of visitors into customers,” Raconteur says.

It goes on to explain: “Search is the main acquisition channel for most online businesses.  According to a Conductor study, 64 percent of web traffic comes from search engines … [and] last year Google announced that of the 100 billion searches it deals with monthly, more than half now come from mobile devices.”

Most importantly: “Google has been pushing mobile optimisation in a big way recently and its dominance of the search market means businesses must pay attention. Google is sending clear signals that visibility on mobile search is dependent on optimising for mobile users.

“The biggest such signal was the introduction of a mobile-friendly algorithm in April 2015, which uses factors such as whether the text is easy to read and the speed of loading the site on mobile devices to rank mobile search results.”

On the issue of converting visitors into customer, Raconteur notes that conversion rates are generally lower on mobiles than desktops because it’s often easier to carry out tasks such as completing forms and entering payment details on a larger screen.

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