The digitization of everyday life has had a profound impact on how companies innovate and grow. Accelerated by COVID-19, the shift has forced businesses to digitize almost everything that is customer-facing and to reinvent themselves as online-first operations. My research shows that today, 59% of all products and services have been digitized, making it easier than ever for consumers to interact with their favorite brands.
While the impetus for this was to meet social distancing mandates, digital-first will remain the norm as it makes location, time of day and other factors irrelevant because consumers can shop, be entertained and educate themselves when and where they desire.
While the digitization of everything was accelerated, our day-to-day reliance on digital was inevitable, because consumers have been moving that way for the better part of two decades. But as is the case in all facets of life, for every Yin there is a Yang, and businesses need to approach digital transformation carefully. While the convenience of online browsing, shopping and connecting is undeniable, brands run the risk of losing the human element. In fact, I believe the rush the pandemic created forced companies to over-rotate on the digital experience at the expense of the human one. And yet, with our human existence increasingly becoming digital, one should not come at the expense of the other.
Pandemic triggers innovation wave
The start of the pandemic triggered a wave of innovation to meet customer needs while adapting to the pandemic context. Many businesses responded to physical store closures with new and innovative ways to serve their customers online while doing their best to limit the disruption caused by lockdowns. From virtual reality adoption to a complete reinvention of products and services, many brands were able to leverage technology to better address customer needs. But too much technology – or misplaced technology – also can lead to frustration. As an example, many businesses now will force consumers to try and resolve a problem through a chatbot before being able to talk to someone.
While this might be a great way to get a fast response, it's not always the right way to handle an inquiry. Understanding which interactions to route via one channel versus another requires knowledge of the customer journey. That is, knowing all the steps that happened prior to the person reaching out to the company. If the individual has been on the website for a significant amount of time and already tried solving the issue, it's likely the frustration level is high, and the best course of action would be to have the company initiate a call where a customer service person can show some empathy and provide high touch service.
Ultimately, it all boils down to customer understanding — that contextual piece of the puzzle that helps determine what a customer is trying to achieve in the first place. Innovation without this understanding is at best misguided and at worst, risky.
Better understanding of app visitors' motivations
Contentsquare is a digital experience analytics company that enables its customers to better understand why their website or app visitors behave the way they do online. The vendor's technology aggregates and analyzes digital customer interactions to reveal performance issues, enabling brands to make better decisions and optimize the experience.
The digital experience insight is so granular that it can even find design issues. For example, many users tab through fields when filling out a website. If there is a certain field that a user struggles with or can't find because of a poor layout, that delay will be noted as an anomaly so the team can quickly correct it. This profound understanding of what is causing obstacles along the customer journey can help businesses build a web property that's optimized for all and delivers the seamless journeys customers demand today. The company's cookieless solution also helps brands meet consumers' demand for more privacy as they navigate the new digital reality.
Recently, Contentsquare rebranded and has a logo and tagline (More. Human. Analytics), which is more reflective of where the company is today. Gone is the blocky, three-color logo that was meant to represent a pixel to one that's softer and has an open end, creating a more welcoming look. It's also worth noting that the new logo and color palette were selected with digital accessibility in mind. The tagline is in line with today's business world. Business leaders want to ensure they are showing empathy and that customer concerns are being heard. This is difficult to do via manual methods such as legacy testing or even customer surveys. Contentsquare's AI-powered analytics platform captures and analyzes all interactions, equipping businesses with the insight they need to create meaningful and rewarding online experiences — in short, experiences that have not lost the human touch.
For most industries, digital-first is the only path forward, but digital need not mean losing the best of what offline business has to offer. The right analytics tools can help businesses see things that customers experience and then address any issues quickly so those customers do not bolt to a competitor.