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Why digital is integral to customer experience and branding

Posted: 25 May 2017

In an increasingly digital world, the online experience is becoming as influential on the customer as price and product. In fact, in sectors with high competition, the online experience can be the differentiating factor.

Utilities companies are an excellent example of this; regardless of brand, the product that comes through the pipes is the same. Hence it is the surrounding services and branding that sways a customer either way. However, with the rise of social media and ecommerce, usability, functionality and digital tools such as apps are all playing a key role in setting brands apart from their competitors.

An article by Marketing Week cites Uber as an example, as it is a business that without its digital tools would just be another taxi service. Alternatively, take British Gas, who in 2016 selected their new media agency by asking contenders the following question: "How would you turn British Gas into a modern British brand in a modern British society?"

British Gas' director of brand marketing Margaret Jobling, told Marketing Weekly at ISBA's annual conference that digital tools were the key to attracting and keeping customers. She comments that in the past, customers would have to call or write in order to solve problems. However, the company realised that it needed "to move to be digital-first, self-serve, always-on, personalised and targeted in how we talk to our customers."

Indeed, simplifying the process by building an app or improving usability online is what Steffan Aquarone, co-author of Econsultancy's 'User Experience and Interaction Design for Mobile and Web' guide, describes as "the single most powerful way to beat the competition."

Customers are no longer willing to sit on hold, wait around for a response or fight their way through a poorly designed or out-dated website. This is why we have seen a recent upsurge in the adoption of live chats, social media and AI chatbots.

For brands to remain competitive, they need to invest in digital and amalgamate it into customer experience. Social media and digital platforms also posit an unmissable opportunity to hone in on branding and create a user experience unlike anything they have seen before. Quite simply, brands must set and surpass expectations, and make it innovative or make it easy.

If you have UX or branding experience, why not talk to the team at Stopgap today about your next step.


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