It's that time of year when companies start planning for the new year.  As they look back on the past 12 months, for every goal met, there are many left unfulfilled. It's not uncommon for companies to operate "in the now" — reacting to the market and digital trends that present themselves. But wouldn't it be nice if you had the time to adequately prepare for the road ahead so your teams could work proactively? Why not make some resolutions now that will help everyone work smarter in 2014?

Time to Upgrade the Customer Experience?

Throughout the past year, we've examined various aspects of the customer experience, from the customer journey to the mobile experience to content marketing and more. To make the customer experience seamless, many business processes must be streamlined for optimal use. Will 2014 be the year your company updates or upgrades its web, mobile and overall digital experience? 

What business doesn't want a new website or a new mobile app? But how many of those decisions are based on sound customer research rather than a need to keep up with your competitors? To help you better determine your web tech needs, we turned to Michael LaVista, CEO and Founder, Caxy Interactive.

Caxy is a Chicago-based web consulting and custom web development company. LaVista helped us learn the right questions we need to ask to understand our current online presence, which can help strategize accordingly. He recommends asking questions like: 

  • Do you have a clear brand strategy for executing across different platforms and media?
  • Will customers experience your brand online in a way that is consistent with all your other touch points?
  • Will customers care if you build something like a new website or mobile app?
  • What would happen if you didn't build it?
  • What will you do with what you learn as customers use your new website or app?

To answer these questions accurately requires having a good understanding of your customers, their needs and expectations. Remember, having a  multichannel experience doesn't necessarily mean you'll be able to provide a better customer experience, nor does it mean customers will see it as a move in the right direction. As LaVista warns, "Many companies leap into digital and leave their brand behind," so it's imperative that you develop the presence that makes the most sense for your brand. 

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Asking the right questions, while helpful, is only as good as the answers provided. We dug a little deeper to see how most companies rate their digital presence or commitment to serving the customer and brand experience. Most companies think their digital strategies are crystal clear, while a significant amount lack key policies or fail to communicate their strategies effectively with employees. Furthermore, customer expectations don't change dramatically across digital platforms, meaning that no matter where you establish yourself online, providing exceptional customer service across channels is paramount. 

Finally, once you've made the decision to build a new website or develop a new mobile app, for example, what and how do you plan to learn from it? Many companies still struggle to turn data into actionable insights, while others don't have essential strategies in place to turn prospective buyers into loyal customers. 

Once you know what you’re looking for and what is feasible, you will be able to better serve customers and improve your business.