Is the customer experience you provide up to the mark?

Is the customer experience you provide up to the mark? Source: Shutterstock

Are you proud of the digital experience you provide?

COMPANIES have been grappling with the digital customer experience problem for a while now, and many brands think they’ve figured it out.

Whether it is by using customer data or by A/B testing various customer interactions at various touchpoints, businesses have been working on creating a digital experience that not only meets but also exceeds customer expectations.

However, have they succeeded? Despite their best efforts, it seems as though there’s a huge gap between what customers really want and what they get.

Across all industries, at least 84 percent of consumers say their experiences with using digital tools and services fall short of expectations, according to the Gartner Digital Consumer Experience Index.

Gartner conducted an in-depth survey of user engagement with and reactions to common digital use cases such as placing a retail order, submitting a service request to a bank, and purchasing life insurance, across 11 industries.

The specific elements of total digital experience probed were consumers’ level of trust, perceived ease of use, and benefits received, such as saving time or money.

The cross-industry look revealed that most organizations do not meet consumers’ expectations. In banking, the best-performing industry, only 16 percent of respondents rate their digital perceptions in the top quartile of the index.

“Customer focus is a top business priority for CEOs and subsequently a large investment area for CIOs. Despite these efforts, consumers report significant gaps in enterprises’ ability to make digital experiences easy, to earn their trust, and to deliver desirable results,” explained Gartner Managing VP Brad Holmes.

“In fact, among consumers who have used the digital services we asked about, 26 percent (banking) to 49 percent (government) rate their perceptions in the lower two quartiles of our index, leaving a lot of room for improvement,” said Holmes.

According to the findings of the report, it seems as though millennials use digital services more often, but are less satisfied than other generations.

Differences in adoption by age or generation are also key insights for experience design. It is no surprise that millennials are in general a lot more engaged digitally than their older peers.

Gartner’s survey found that at least two-thirds of millennials use retailers’, manufacturers’ and utilities’ digital services.

“While millennials are the most frequent users of digital services, they are also the least happy. Out of all generations, they have the lowest opinion of most industries’ digital services. This may be because baby boomers and other older generations use over time has made them more immune to poor ease of use, or that they have become resigned to doing what it takes to get value one way or another,” explained Holmes.

Overall, however, it seems as though consumers rate retailer digital experiences as the easiest; governments the most difficult.

Ease of use is a critical element of a positive experience.

Online retailers have innovated continuously to reduce the instances of shopping cart abandonment and other blockers to completing a purchase transaction. Banks too have invested in simplifying transactions such as submitting a service request or using chat for support.

Those efforts have panned out in relatively higher consumer perception for ease of use. Consumers who are current and past users of governments’ and life insurers’ online services and tools perceive them to be more difficult.

The truth is, it’s high time that companies figured out the gap between the digital experience that customers expect and the one they provide if they want to stay relevant and competitive in the marketplace.