In today’s digital world, customers have more options available to them than ever before – especially with a smartphone in nearly every pocket. So how do you stand out from your competitors? Aside from simply having a superior product, one way to stand out and ensure customer satisfaction is to create positive digital experiences (DXP).
In this article we will go through how you can create these experiences and the benefits of this digital transformation (as well as things to avoid) to ensure your customers have an optimal experience with your business.
What is a Digital Experience?
A digital experience is an interaction between a user (customer) and an organization that is made possible by digital technologies. Whenever a customer goes online or uses an application to do something (like shopping, getting directions, or booking a reservation), that’s a digital experience – and they’re part of our everyday lives.
However, digital experience platforms are not just limited to web pages or mobile apps. We are seeing an increasing number of digital customer experiences occurring through IoT devices with virtual assistants (like the Amazon Echo and Google Home) that can place online orders, answer questions, and give directions.
4 Steps to Creating a Positive Digital Experience
1. Business Perspective
When looking at creating digital experiences, it’s important to start by looking at your long-term business objectives and ensuring your decisions align with this vision. Every decision you make should have a compelling justification – such as increased ROI or improving a user experience – that will help improve your overall business and reach your goals.
As with any goal or objective, it’s important to determine the metrics with which you plan to measure success (or even failure). If you don’t have a measurable metric to judge your change, it will be much harder to determine if you have made a good or poor decision. Knowing whether a past action was a success or failure will also help you plan for future decisions.
Once you know your business strategy and the goals you are trying to achieve, the next step is to consider the pain points users are experiencing. What can you do to improve the experience and meet customer needs? It’s important to remember that you won’t be able to make all improvements and fix all issues at once. Prioritizing the value of each improvement, while keeping a customer-centric mindset, will be instrumental in helping you create a roadmap for future changes.
In addition to the end user, also consider how this change affects your customer support. If a user is experiencing an issue, how will they receive support? Is there a phone number to call? An email to reach out to? A chatbot to use? All these features will need people to support them and will subsequently affect your employee experience.
Next, think about your technical support and maintenance personnel. When changes are made, technical expertise will be needed to roll out the updates and also to make adjustments or fix issues after the launch.
When it comes to implementing changes, organizations often want to make big changes that will have huge impacts. However, it’s often more effective to start the process with small omnichannel changes that deliver immediate value. The sooner you can get feedback on a change, the sooner you can gather data that can help you decide what should come next. Although starting with a roadmap is useful, it’s even more important to stay agile and use real time customer data to evaluate and adjust the plan as needed.
The last step in creating a great digital experience is ensuring that you are using modern and innovative tools and technologies to reach your goals. In a recent blog we cover some of the latest technology and service provider trends including cloud native applications, hybrid applications, modern data platforms, and machine learning.
3 Benefits of a Positive User Experience
Now that we have covered how to create a positive digital experience, you’re probably thinking, “What’s in it for me?” There are several benefits to ensuring that your customers are having a positive experience when interacting with your business.
1. Increased Reputation and Trust
We’ve all had experiences trying to do something online or in an app where things were not working properly. This can be very frustrating for users and, in today’s competitive market, can ultimately lead to lost business. Ensuring that your users are consistently having positive digital experiences with your business helps build trust and customer loyalty.
2. Competitive Advantage
Along with reputation and trust, creating positive digital experiences can deliver a competitive advantage. If users are getting a better experience with you than your competitors, then they are more likely to continue being your customer. A better user experience could be delivering faster outcomes or being more consistent across different digital touchpoints, more innovative, or creating a more personalized experience (based on past or similar behavior).
3. Focus on Business Outcomes
Too often technologists like to adopt new technology and then look for a problem to solve with it. However, it’s ultimately to your advantage to make sure that all digital experiences are created with business outcomes as the focal point. Even though the experiences are for the end user, if they are built around achieving a business goal, then you’ve accomplished two critical objectives with one solution.
What Can Ruin a Digital Experience?
While it’s easy to see the advantages that come with positive digital experiences, several things can quickly turn an experience sour. Avoiding these will be instrumental in your company’s digital experience management and maintaining those positive experiences for your users:
Users today have been trained by the Amazons of the world to expect the same reliable experience from all companies – regardless of size. They want immediate access to information, products, and services. If they have to wait because your system or digital channel is experiencing an outage, then users could easily leave for one of your competitors who can give them the immediate experience they expect.
Broken Functionality of a Critical Path
A critical path is the sequence of steps a user must follow to complete to take a specific action. This action could be something such as purchasing a product, submitting a form, or downloading an asset. If parts of a critical path don’t work properly or are unclear to users, then you risk losing users before they have reached the desired action. (This is sometimes called “form abandonment”.)
Even if your system works properly, there are still areas that could experience a soft fail. An example of a soft fail use case is performance. Your system or solution may work properly, but if it takes users more time than they are willing to spend, they might decide it’s not worth it. Another soft fail could be complexity. If a competitor can offer the same product / information / solution, but they have created a simplified experience for the user, you risk losing customers. Users want the best and easiest experience available – often regardless of who is offering it.
Many times, organizations will attempt to streamline their work by building monolithic solutions (a single solution that meets many needs). This can lead to poor performance and unnecessarily complex solutions. It’s more beneficial to identify the specific needs of smaller groups of users and consider what persona you’re targeting with each digital experience. By having smaller and loosely coupled digital experiences and solutions, you can provide more meaningful solutions to your users, reduce complexity, and solve performance issues.
Improving Your Customers’ Digital Experience
Since making customers happy and building lasting customer relationships is good business, it’s important to develop an experience strategy. This will not only improve customer engagement and lead to repeat business, but it also helps your business grow and reach your goals. With every digital experience you create, it’s important to always connect it back to your business objectives and ensure it’s going to provide a positive user experience. If your business is struggling to create those experiences, contact Core BTS today to learn how we can help you improve your customer experience.