How design can improve digital customer experiencesMar 05, 2019
Katy Cesarotti | Gallery Design Studio Editor + Copywriter
Online customers can’t see, touch, or experience your product firsthand: your digital presence needs to somehow build trust and emotional connection for them.
Strategic design can create frictionless digital experiences that anticipate your customers’ needs. Design is more than a nice extra—big corporations like Amazon have upped the ante for everyone who does business online. According to KPMG, the negative impact of disappointing customer experiences was twice as great as the cost of overdelivering1. It costs money to invest in customer experiences, but it costs more to lose out on sales because you fail to live up to expectations.
With strategic design, you can optimize your customer’s online experience, increase traffic, and convert visitors.
The following steps will help you craft a world-class digital presence.
1. Know your audience
Customer personas, or the different customer “types” you hope to target, help you visualize online prospects. With a strong understanding of your customers’ motivations and hesitations, you can strategize how to reach them effectively.
2. Strategize through journey mapping
Journey mapping is visual tool that helps you gain a birds-eye view of your customer’s interactions with your brand. It helps diagnose customer pain points, and prioritize your plan of attack. Instead of patching holes with one-off marketing efforts, journey mapping gives you a holistic approach to your customer’s experience and helps you develop a long-term strategy.
3. Know your digital creative options
The online world enables companies to use a wide array of digital creative options.
User experience and User Interface design (UX/UI) creates intuitive, frictionless digital interfaces that invite exploration. It makes it easy for customers to navigate your company online, without the frustrations of clunky, confusing websites and applications. UX/UI design includes:
- Web design
- App design
- Customer portals
Communication design. It’s not just what you say, but how you say it. Sharpen your message with great-looking visuals that conveys the information that matters most to customers through:
- White papers
- One pagers & brochures
- Investor decks
- Email sequences
Mix and match digital creative deliverables to connect with your customers and anticipate their needs.
4. Create a plan of action.
Combine your persona and journey mapping insights with the most effective creative solutions to unleash the full potential of your customer’s experience. Different creative solutions work best at different phases of the customer journey.
As an example, let’s look at how a local Pilates franchise might boost their digital customer experience with strategic creative work.
Potential customers haven’t heard of your company, and might not even know they have the problem you can solve. Choose digital tools that educate your prospects on the problem and show off your expertise, without getting into the nitty-gritty.
A workout newbie has different problems from the experienced athlete. To reach the new-to-Pilates prospects, the club should focus on their “problem”—motivation to get healthy, mental and physical stamina—with eye-catching infographics and shareable videos.
Creative solutions for the awareness stage:
- Eye-catching infographics
- Short educational videos
- Custom landing pages
- Educational blogposts
Once customers realize they have an issue worth paying to fix, offer them general information about your product or service. Try “gated offers” that ask potential customers for contact information, so you can follow up over email and offer them valuable content at the same time.
The same solutions don’t work for everyone: The Pilates club isn’t about to offer a white paper on how great its workouts are. Instead, they should focus on immersive digital tools: videos, quick-hit stats, before-and-after visuals.
Creative solutions for the research stage:
- Explainer videos & animations
- One pagers/brochures
Here customers compare you to the competition: who do they want to work with? Who’s the best partner for their specific needs? You need to demonstrate how your product or service is the one solution they need to make their lives better or easier.
The Pilates franchise stands out from other workout offerings because of its motivational support and community. With a beautiful, easy-to-navigate website, they can encourage prospects to stick around, learn more about the company’s unique value, and explore.
Creative solutions for the consideration stage:
- Engaging web design: sample projects, interactive portfolio
- Case studies
Your customer is ready to spend some money to solve their problem—make sure they choose you! Target potential points of resistance or offer them a deal that entices them to buy now instead of later.
The Pilates franchise might have (subtle) pop-ups on their webpage that promote limited-time-only discounts. Follow-up emails can also convert connections into leads.
Creative solutions for the purchase stage:
- Product demo videos
- Video testimonials
- Engaging web design - with an FAQ section
Customers want reassurance that they made the right choice. Set expectations, solve minor issues before they snowball, and give your customers the tools to get the most out of your product or service.
The Pilates club might offer additional online how-to guides that outline the basic moves, and offer “quick wins” for a boost of positive reinforcement.
Creative solutions for the onboarding stage:
- Onboarding videos
- Welcome email sequences
- How-to guides
Check in with your customers to demonstrate how much you value your relationship. Customer satisfaction surveys can help you identify points of friction, and help you smooth out the journey for future prospects.
The Pilates club, for example, could have an app with an online scheduling portal, or workout videos to support regular customers looking to get in a quick workout between sessions.
Creative solutions for the retention stage:
- Add a members only portal to your website
- App design
- Exclusive customer newsletter
When customers emotionally connect to a brand's experience, they’ll spread the word. According to HubSpot, 55% of customers use word of mouth to make buying decisions, and 46% use other customer reviews2. Make it easy for customers to post glowing reviews on Yelp and Google, so you can leverage their trust for new prospects.
The Pilates club might schedule regular emails asking customers to complete satisfaction surveys or offering exclusive referral discounts for their friends.
Creative solutions for the advocacy stage:
- Incorporate customer feedback and review software on to your website from platforms like GatherUp, Getfeedback and Mopinion
- Referral request email sequences
- Engaging Social media content
According to Forrester, emotional connection is the biggest driver of customer loyalty in many industries3. Customers remember how they felt when they used a service or worked with your company, and that feeling impacts repeat purchases.
More than fluff, digital customer experience is a measurable tool to build emotional connections, increase impressions, and drive sales. With custom content, you can address the specific needs of your customer at every stage of the journey.
Need help strategizing your digital customer experience? We can help. Learn more here.
About Gallery Design Studio
We specialize in B2B creative solutions that address client needs and wants at every stage of the customer journey. From a customer’s first interaction with a brand to their first purchase and beyond, we craft digital experiences that are engaging and easy to navigate. Our services:
- Digital Customer Experience Design (DCX)
- Web & App design (UX/UI)
- Video & Animation
- Graphic Design & Marketing Collateral
About the Writer
Katy Cesarotti is a copywriter at Gallery Design Studio. Katy believes that, with clear and concise copy, innovators can spark emotion and drive action in their readers. She’s written for magazines, blogs and cutting-edge startups.