In today’s digital markets, evidence suggests that customers prefer not to call customer service. As online shopping is predicted to outgrow traditional brick and mortar stores,1 the line between on- and offline customer experience is becoming blurred.2, 3
These days, if your customer were to pick up the phone to call you, it likely spells trouble for your customer service.4
Mono-channel is out; multi- or omni-channel customer experience (CX) is in. The conversation today is dominated by multiple touchpoints: mobile phones, apps, rich web applications, and even social media. Hence, the term “digital experience” (DX), which refers to interactions between a user, for example, the customers, and an SMB, made possible only because of digital technologies. No wonder DX is deemed a key business differentiator.5
Starbucks is a good example of how technology has helped a company deliver good DX. On average, Starbucks customers buy coffee via its smartphone app 7 million times a week and mobile payments now account for about 16% of its total transactions.6
But customer experience is not just about exceeding customer expectations and avoiding trouble; for SMBs, it makes good business sense:
To have a good DX strategy that exceeds customer expectations, you need a holistic strategy that puts your customer at the very center of every process and initiative.
You must continuously collect and analyze data to allow for fresh customer insights and improvements.
A holistic DX strategy means a seamless, positive customer experience regardless of the channel or contact frequency. The “customer-first” attitude must permeate every department and convert every employee, so that every effort starts and ends with the customer in mind.
Here’s the deal: without a holistic DX strategy, the success of even the most powerful mobile app (such as Starbuck’s) will be short-lived. If customers were to encounter any dissonance between the digital and physical experience, such as at a physical outlet, they would vote with their wallets.
Yet many SMBs will find it a challenge to aggregate and share customer data across multiple channels such as physical, web, voice, email, and chat. This problem is not unique to any SMB, as 30% of CIOs surveyed admitted that they faced “difficulties implementing cross-channel, ubiquitous connectivity”.10
A customer-centric, 360° strategy is also not enough. A rigorous and continuous process of data aggregation and analysis must underpin the strategy. Data at every touch point and every stage of the customer journey must be collected and measured. Over time, your company will have huge sets of data points – Big Data – that can be analyzed for consumption patterns, buying trends and product associations. This will give you new customer insights to better retain and acquire customers, and ensure they stay happy. Ultimately, this will lead to a higher ROI measured by factors such as win rates, share of wallet, and lower retention and acquisition costs.
And, lastly, the glue that holds it all together.
According to the Accenture survey cited above,11 only 23% of B2B companies achieved strong returns on their CX investments. In fact, 20% of companies in the survey actually generated low or even negative returns. This painful reality is hardly surprising, as DX design and implementation is a multi-functional and multi-disciplinary team effort. It is quite impossible for SMBs without deep pockets to hire a big team that has all the required talents. Instead, most SMBs should work with their Managed Service Partners (MSPs) to design and execute their organization’s DX strategy.
To succeed like Starbucks, your company needs to have the right technology, the right mindset and the right partnerships. Start right with a conversation with Cisco Start, the right partner who can support your ambition to exceed customers’ expectations with the right DX strategy.
 Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers, Matthew Dixon, Karen Freeman and Nicholas Toman, Harvard Business Review, July-August 2010, Point (3) (The Harvard Business Review reported that 57% of inbound calls came from customers who visited the website first.)
 Omnichannel Customer Engagement Drives Great Customer Experiences at Every Touchpoint, Genesys(58% of callers visited the web before calling, and 34% of callers are on the web while talking to a customer representative.)
 Drive Unified Digital Customer Experiences with Better Technology Strategies, May 23, 2017, (Note: Requires registration for log-in)