Many years ago I worked on user research for a major website redevelopment project. The investment into overhauling a tired digital experience was significant. But the cost of not doing it was much higher. User experience testing showed the existing site was actually hurting customer loyalty and brand trust. This gave us the ammunition to push for the project and the value was immediately realised.
But, a lot has changed since those days. Ticking the “has a decent website” box is no longer enough. Customer expectations are far higher. We have come to expect a consistent, convenient digital experience when and where we need it, across every device. Often our entire brand impression is formed through digital channels.
There’s a clear correlation between great digital experiences and customer loyalty. This is shifting Customer Experience (CX) from being a cost function into a revenue driver (CMS Wire). A recent study SAP found companies who delight, rather than meet expectations, experience far higher Net Promoter Scores and loyalty.
Customers delighted with a digital experience are over four and a half times more likely to remain loyal to a brand than those who are unsatisfied. On average customers delighted with the digital experience delivered a Net Promoter Score of 69 per cent compared to a score of -54 per cent from those unsatisfied. ~ SAP New Zealand Digital Experience Report
Loyal customers are five times as likely to repurchase, five times as likely to forgive, seven times as likely to try a new offering, and four times as likely to refer others (The Temkin Group).
However, despite the strong evidence linking digital experiences, customer experience and loyalty, only 31% of consumers are delighted by the digital experience that they receive from brands in New Zealand (CIO NZ). A huge gap exists and it’s a gap that matters to the bottom line.
Only 31% of consumers are delighted by the digital experience that they receive from brands in New Zealand.
Brands leading the charge
There are a few notable brands getting their digital experiences spot on in New Zealand. We were excited to see that SAP’s Digital Experience report named BNZ one of the leading digital experience brands in New Zealand. BNZ showcases what is possible when you combine talented teams, flexible software and a customer-driven approach.
“The single biggest, the flagship Bank of New Zealand store is not on Queen Street. It is our website… That is the impression most of our customers will get at Bank of New Zealand.” ~ Stephen Bowe, Head of Digital, BNZ (CIO NZ)
BNZ’s digital channels handle over 12 million sessions per month, with 88 per cent of total transactions being done through these channels. BNZ has lead the way with a customer-centric approach, and a strong company vision.
“At BNZ we strive to put the customer at the core of everything we do. We’re focused on creating highly personalised, engaging banking experiences that put our customers in control and help them to be good with money.” ~ Stephen Bowe, Head of Digital, BNZ (NZ Adviser Online)
Rapid innovations in consumer technology have provided buyers with new tools for discovering, comparing, evaluating, choosing and experiencing brands. It’s easier than ever to switch and unhappy customers are likely to seek out competitors who do deliver a digital experience that delights.
It’s no longer enough to satisfy — companies must provide digital experiences that delight.
SAP’s NZ Digital Experience Report ranked the following aspects as the most important to consumers:
- Safe and secure
- Available anytime on my terms
- Cohesive, integrated and simple
- Fits in with my lifestyle and is effortless
Companies that deliver in these areas can provide delightful digital experiences that measurably improve loyalty. This, in turn, reduces customer churn and create a competitive advantage that goes far beyond having the latest widget. While security is a hygiene factor (it’s expected; and when it’s lacking, it’s a deal breaker), the other factors highlight the importance of understanding the customer’s point of view. “Available”, “cohesive” and “effortless” all centre around serving relevant, helpful content and products to customers. The SAP report found that banking and insurance players in New Zealand have already significantly invested in placing customers at the centre of their digital experiences. These industries, lead by BNZ and AA Insurance, provide the benchmark for other enterprises.
Start with customer experience in mind
Successful digital transformation projects lead with customer experience. SilverStripe Professional Partner Somar started with extensive user research to guide MetLink’s recent redevelopment. Understanding the way customers would interact with the site (largely mobile and on the go) helped drive the solution. The new responsive site has already received extremely positive feedback with 94% of users surveyed preferring the new website to the previous one.
The difference between delivering and delighting
There’s a widening gap between companies that simply deliver digital experiences and those that delight. This gap will soon be the difference between industry leaders and the rest of the pack. Companies that can create exceptional digital experiences will create a competitive advantage that has a tangible effect on revenue. Digital marketing teams have to represent the voice of the customer internally and use these insights to provide continuous innovation that leapfrogs customer expectations. There are exciting opportunities for companies that can connect their digital, marketing and technology strategies together around a core customer focus. It’s exciting to see so many digital teams using SilverStripe to create these industry leading digital experiences.