On a global basis, 80% of customers (the digital customer) are now engaged with at least one digital channel. Gone are the days of apartment dwelling customers who only connect via the phone to engage and interact with brands. So what does this mean for companies trying to provide good sales and service experiences in the new digital age? Well, it means that they can’t focus on building an experience that doesn’t make digital the core and focus on the digital customer journey.

Imagine a company like UBER designing their service to be call centre centric. The customer experience would go a little something like this:

UBER: How may we help you today?
Customer: Well, I need a ride from 1st and Main to 100th and Second please.
UBER: Not a problem, we just need to get a little information from you first, ok?
Customer: Sure but, I am in a bit of a rush.
UBER: This won’t take too much time. First off, when do you need to be picked up?
Customer: Ummm, now.
UBER: And how many people need a ride?
Customer: There are 2 of us.
UBER: Perfect, well we have a car that is ideal for 2 people, however for a little more money, we have one that can give you a little more room, as it’s designed for 4.
Customer: No thank you.
UBER: Ok, not a problem, and tell me how will you be paying for this ride?
Customer: Can you use the credit card I used last time?
UBER: Sorry, you’ll need to handle that with the driver personally.
Customer: Sheesh, ok. Ummm, how much longer is this going to take?
UBER: Just a few more questions. What about pick up, where exactly are you located?
Customer: I already told you, the corner of 1st and Main!
UBER: Right, sorry my notes were a little messy.
Customer: Notes???
UBER: Ok, well the rate I can offer you is $2.00 per mile.
Customer: That’s fine, I am really in a hurry.
UBER: Don’t worry, the driver will be there shortly. Just stay where you are.
Customer: Ok…waiting, thanks.
UBER: Not a problem, enjoy the ride.

5 minutes later

UBER: How may we help you today?
Customer: Hi, I have been waiting for 5 minutes for a car and it’s still not here, can you give me an update please?
UBER: Not a problem, I just need a little information from you to proceed…

Disruptive digital products and services now go along with disruptive digital experiences. The digital customer expects that disruptors will deliver on this promise. Building services and products for the “old” way of doing things (like via phone) are gone. Can you imagine UBER building their business on the back of the traditional phone? Never! In fact today’s businesses need to design for a mobile, self serve enabled digital customer experience, and then determine which features or capabilities are so complex or require additional support to enable them to be available to assisted channels like retail and contact centres.

The contact centre isn’t gone. Online chat is just in its infancy. Retail is critical to drive sales. The key, is in ensuring that the digital customer is able to interact with as little or as much assistance as support as they want. Allowing complete self service, or complete support and assistance is what brands need to do to design the best experience for the digital customer.