How are organisations using digital channels to improve their reach and customer service?

How are organisations using digital channels to improve their reach and customer service?

As an organisation, finding the right marketing channels is an essential part of your marketing strategy. The most effective channels will depend on your organisation and your audience.

It could be marketing via email, improving your search visibility or generating engagement on social media. Connect with your audience in the right way, and you’ll be rewarded with more than just increased revenue. You’ll also build your brand through referrals and nurture customers who will return to you time and time again.

A report published by AVADO surveyed over 250 organisations to benchmark their digital skills against the industry. The survey, based around eight key digital capabilities, looked at how organisations are using digital channels to increase visibility and improve the customer experience. The full results and analysis appear in The Digiskills Report.

When asked which channels they had a presence on, 83% of organisations responded that they were working to improve online interactions using website optimisation. Boosting the number of users that complete a website goal (like a purchase or a signup) is clearly a top priority – after all, why drive traffic to your site if it doesn’t generate revenue?

The power of social was also in evidence, with 80% of respondents having a presence on some form of social media. As social media ad spend is predicted to reach $35.98 billion globally in 2017, it’s no wonder the organisations in our survey are looking to get the best possible ROI from their social channels.

Email marketing (67%) was the next most popular response, showing it remains a reliable and cost-effective way of communicating with customers. This was closely followed by search engine marketing, with 53% using it to drive traffic. This figure is arguably surprising, given the overwhelming majority of first-time website users that find domains via search engines.

Just 4% of survey respondents said that none of the listed channels applied to them.

Mobile is an essential part of the marketing landscape – 79% of internet users around the world now own a smartphone – creating a huge opportunity for organisations to connect with their customers. Not only is it direct, it’s also effective – the average conversion rates for smartphone users are up 64% compared to the average desktop conversion rates in 2016.

So it’s surprising to see just 39% of organisations reporting they had a presence on mobile. In 2015, mobile accounted for 33% of internet traffic globally – a figure that grew to 39% in 2016 (as of Q1) and shows no sign of slowing. Although mobile traffic is often lower quality – with fewer page views and higher bounce rates – it’s still a channel that should form a major part of any good marketing strategy, and one that organisations should take very seriously.

While digital channels are a valuable way of delivering your organisation’s message to customers, it can also work in the opposite direction – enabling your customers to get in touch with you quickly and easily.

When asked if they thought customers could interact with them via their preferred digital channels, just 19% of organisations disagreed. That’s compared to the 43% who agreed – showing many organisations have already recognised this opportunity to deliver a better experience for their customers.

Investing in improving the customer experience is key to building a brand. Research suggests that people make purchase decisions based on emotions rather than logic. A positive emotional experience with your brand can go a long way in convincing them to buy from you rather your competitor.

Good customer service is key to a good customer experience – it’s one of the main interaction with your brand other than purchasing. It’s important to deliver the same quality of service online as you would in ‘real life’. Nearly half (41%) of respondents reported that their customers receive exactly the same level of customer service via digital channels as they do in person or over the phone.

Customers now expect a seamless online service as standard, and are often unwilling to expend the effort required to make a call or go into a shop. However, this increased familiarity with digital channels also has its benefits.

ADBL Founding Director Tim Flagg points out that while satisfying customers may be more difficult to achieve, upgrading your customer service has marketing benefits – “today’s customers want to interact via social media, and expect to be able to transact via mobile devices. This yields benefits such as better insights, lower advertising costs, greater efficiency.”

He also acknowledges that it isn’t always easy – “marketing, sales and customer services teams to have a far deeper understanding of consumer technology, knowledge that needs to be kept constantly up to date.”

Today’s consumers are smarter, more discerning and more digitally savvy than ever before. Ensuring you have the right digital capability is now essential, not optional.

Download the full Digiskills Report from AVADO and get the full survey results, along with expert insight into digital capability.

This content has been produced in association with AVADO. Click here to read our collaborative content guidelines. Views and opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of ClickZ.

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