Why Digital Customer Experiences Are Critical for Small Businesses

The customer experience has long been classified as a tipping point between a good product or service and a great one. With so many options available to consumers, small businesses need to set themselves apart to build and maintain customer relationships. As we move further into the digital age, organizations that can pivot and expand on their traditional service channels to include digital options will be the most successful.

This has become increasingly apparent in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, a time where digital and e-commerce options were the only things keeping many organizations afloat while the world was shut down. As the world slowly transitions back to a more traditional state, one thing is for certain: the importance of the digital experience will remain.

What Constitutes a Good Digital Experience?

A digital experience is the sum of all the experiences consumers have when they interact with a brand across digital channels. What transcends a digital experience into greatness is transaction speed and frictionless movement among digital channels.

Technological advances like chatbots, email ticketing systems and automated attendants allow consumers to communicate with the brands they love in the method they prefer. Mobile apps are available for almost any service you can think of, from ticketing to mobile banking and even booking dinner reservations. The more diverse the channel offerings, the better.

The Importance of Secure Digital Experiences

While the primary focus of the digital customer experience has historically been on the purchasing process, it is quickly being integrated into the post-purchase experience as well. A perfect example of this is stadiums leveraging digital tickets instead of paper ones or cruise ships offering guests integrated bracelets that act as keys, identification, payment methods and other resources.

Each of these offers convenience and ease of use for consumers while also allowing organizations to capture critical metrics about their consumer base. However, while this information can provide helpful insights to businesses about their customer base, collecting and storing personally identifiable information (PII) comes with security and compliance responsibilities.

How to Keep Your Client Data Safe

Safeguarding PII begins with securing your network infrastructure. From the servers that store this information to the network that transmits it to the computers that access it, end-to-end security is critical to delivering safe and positive digital customer experiences.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has proposed a five-step plan to keep consumer PII safe:

  1. Take Inventory – Scan your network to determine every computer, server, or mobile device that houses PII. To compile this list, ask yourself:
    • Who sends PII to your company?
    • What kind of PII is collected?
    • At which network entry points is PII received?
    • Where is PII stored once it’s received?
    • Who within your organization has access to the PII stores?
  2. Scale Back – Reduce the number of devices that store PII and the entry points within your network for PII to be received. Additionally, implement a privileged access policy that only grants access to PII to those who need it.
  3. Lock It Down – Implement end-to-end encryption on all devices that house PII, as well as all networks that transmit it. Use security best practices on firewalls, enable multi-factor authentication for cloud-based apps that store PII, and deploy guest wireless networks to reduce the likelihood of a breach from outside the network.
  4. Only Keep What You Need – Implement a data retention policy that includes a section on purging PII after a certain amount of time. Don’t store aspects of PII that aren’t critical for your organization.
  5. Plan Ahead – Develop robust incident response and disaster recovery plans, so you’re prepared in the event of a cybersecurity attack. Provide PII protection training at regular intervals to all staff involved in the collection and management of this information to help keep PII best practices top of mind.

Are Your Digital Customer Experience Solutions Secure?

Partnering with a managed service provider like Acordis can help you expand on your digital consumer experience channels without compromising on security.

Take the SMB Network Security Assessment to see how your network stacks up.