Digital immigrant businesses often do not get the basics right when it comes to customer experience in the digital world. Connected consumers may often find these businesses online but are unable to engage with them in the various ways made available online.

Recently, I experienced this scenario when searching for a plumber. I found many plumbers with an online presence and contact forms or enquiry pages, but no one responded to my query. Either they were not in need of new customers, or the backend operation to service the online engagement was broken. I suspect the latter.

You see, many businesses consider the digital front-end to be the entire digital business; whereas it is really just the shopfront. Obviously you still need to design the various roles as they now exist in your digital form. From the “shop floor assistant”, to the “support desk” to the “queue at the till”. Finding a business and engaging with it are really baby steps for your digital business – don’t fall flat when it comes to having the proper backend capability to sustainability operate it!

If you think about your digital business as if it was a real shop, you will quickly realise that a few roles and processes may be missing from your digital presence.

In the process of going digital, businesses should consider the would-be customer’s storyline as it exists completely set apart from the business. Consumers are offered many options when it comes to digital — they can engage via various devices, choose how to search or connect, and decide what to search for.

When it comes to choosing what to click on the available options are endless. If therefore they click on your digital doorstep, you better be ready with a good experience so they’ll return in the future.

In order to position your business within this digital landscape, you need to ask yourself some questions:

– Who are the consumers that my business wants to engage with?

– What will be the typical storyline of a consumer before they land on my doorstep?

– What will be the simple sequence of steps following a click that leads them to my digital doorstep?

– How will I enable seamless, simple engagement leading to a “return-worthy” experience?

The answers and scenarios you create from these considerations will assist you to design the customer experience deliberately — nothing of sustainable value happens purely by accident.

You usually have only one chance to get it right, as consumers are spoilt for choice with so many options. Don’t waste your digital presence on a shopfront with an empty shop behind it!