It's time for a Digital Customer Experience Bill of Rights

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Credit: Image courtesy of Thinkstock

In this age of digital disruption, some companies — Amazon, Netflix, Apple, Uber and Airbnb, among them — are doing things right. A highly positive digital customer experience drives customer satisfaction, which in turn leads to increased revenues and ongoing customer loyalty for businesses. Consumers now expect and even demand the same kinds of digital experiences from any company they deal with, regardless of industry.

The unfortunate truth, however, is that many organizations are harming their customers' digital experience — and in some cases their safety — on a regular basis. Customers can find themselves with limited access to personal data, discover that their connected vehicle can be digitally sabotaged or experience a wide range of cellular service quality at U.S. airports.

What we need is a Digital Customer Experience Bill of Rights, along the lines of the Consumer Bill of Rights, which spells out a set of essential rights and protections for consumers in terms of their dealings with product and service providers.

Here are 10 attributes of a world-class digital customer experience that might form the basis for a Digital Customer Experience (DCX) Bill of Rights:

For every digital interaction or transaction, the customer should be afforded the following basic rights:

  1. The right to value and engagement. Customers should be provided a compelling value proposition to engage with an organization, and be accompanied and guided on their entire journey with the brand, product or service.
  2. The right to simplicity and timeliness. Every interaction or transaction should be quick, easy, efficient and actionable. The process should be as optimized as possible via the digital environment with minimal effort (i.e. clicks, swipes, keystrokes) required to rapidly accomplish a desired task, or to obtain a timely resolution.
  3. The right to an elegant and enjoyable experience. All user interfaces and application designs should be elegant in terms of visual appeal, and enjoyable to use, in order to deliver a truly compelling and memorable customer experience.
  4. The right to anytime, anywhere access. The experience should be seamless and convenient by supporting any device, anytime, anywhere with a seamless transition between devices, apps and networks, between physical and digital channels, and between departments within your organization.
  5. The right to be known and understood. The experience should be highly personalized and contextualized by always understanding the customers' context including their preferences, needs, interests, behaviors, location, language and sentiment at any point in time to the level in which they wish to share that information with you.
  6. The right to intelligent, anticipatory services. All services should be smart by applying intelligent analytics and algorithms, including AI, to understand and anticipate the customers likely needs based upon their context and historical behavior. Customers should be proactively notified if they need to take action or make a decision.
  7. The right to share, to be heard and to be informed. Customers should be able to share appropriate elements of their experience with others via social media, should be listened to and responded to, and should be provided access to information and advice from others who can help inform their decisions about the product or service.
  8. The right to information, analytics and recommendations. Historical and real-time data and information from the customer’s digital journey should be readily available, instantly accessible and downloadable, yet disposable (where permissible), based on customer preference and needs. Customers should be allowed to interactively analyze their data and provided with recommendations to help them make informed decisions.
  9. Right to safety and security. All digital interactions, and operations of digitally connected devices including vehicles, should be safe and secure with privacy and security integrated into the full end-to-end process by design. Security should be an integral part of the process without adding unnecessary extra steps which detract from the customer experience.
  10. Right to education and consent. Information should be made readily available for the customer to understand more about your company, its digital processes, products and services — including the security of their transactions and the privacy of their data — to help them make educated decisions and purchases. In accordance with other privacy-related bills, customers should be able to control what information is shared with marketers and how such data is utilized.

The DCX Bill of Rights is not intended to replace current consumer rights, but to build upon them with new, additional rights specifically for the customer experience in the digital age.

You can think of this as a hierarchy with a foundation of mandatory legal and regulatory protections, followed by consumer rights such as those in the Consumer Bill of Rights, and then the DCX Bill of Rights as an optional set of rights that organizations, both commercial and public sector, may wish to adhere to.

Of course, the first step in mastering the digital customer experience is to master the customer experience. With all these elements in place, your organization will be well positioned in placing the customer first, delivering a mutually rewarding experience, and competing in the age of digital disruption.

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