When CX, Business, and Tech Combine

Business technology customer experience

Is there a difference between customer experience and digital customer experience anymore?

Customer Experience used to focus on what happened in the real world and Digital Customer Experience used to focus on what happened online. As if you could have one without the other. Now, no business can afford not to emphasize both. Ideally, each business should focus on harmony and efficiency between the two (which comes from thinking of them as ‘one’ experience).

What does that mean at the individual role level? Experience designers must consider the entire experience (end to end for customers and employees, regardless of channel) Strategists and marketers need to align communications, support, automated marketing, and metrics to the way customers glide through the business. That may mean adapting the way the business works to what customers expect. Leaders should consciously and continuously emphasize that “regular” and

Should we still be differentiating between Customer Experience and Digital Customer Experience?

Customer Experience (CX) used to revolve around the real world, whereas, digital CX focused on what happens online. But this implies being able to have one without the other. Now, no business can afford not to emphasize both. In an ideal business, there is harmony and efficiency between the two realms, which then fuses them together to create “one” experience.

What does this mean at the micro level? Experience designers must take into account the entire experience (end-to-end for customers and employees, across all channels). Strategists and marketers must align communications, support, automated marketing, and metrics to reflect the natural flow of customers through the business. This could require adapting the way business works so that it becomes what customers expect to happen. Leaders need to consciously and continuously emphasize that “regular” and “digital” customer experiences are the same. Included in the executive’s customer-centered mandate are eliminating incentives based on different channels (e.g. online and in-store sales) and adding new ones that emphasize the combined experience (e.g. engagement level per interaction).

Mobile is commonplace, so how can you differentiate yourself?

Differentiation comes from a combination of adding value, being memorable, and meeting the unmet needs earlier than your customers. It’s no different with mobile interactions. Look to incorporating convenience-adding, time-saving, and value-creating options to differentiate your brand’s mobile experience. Don’t add complexity, cost, or increase frustration levels.

One of the best ways to determine what this looks like for you is to ask some of your real customers this question:

“What are some of your favorite features from other companies’ apps and how would you adapt them for us?”

This style of deeper questioning digs beneath the surface and helps them think about their unmet needs. Those yet-to-be-articulated needs are the hardest to identify, yet the most valuable ones!

Which industry do you think is leading the way for organizational Customer-Centric Culture? Why?

Cultural comparisons across organizations are more valuable than industry comparisons to answer this question. From my experiences and what I’ve seen, organizations that do best at initiating and sustaining changes to the customer experience have the following qualities:

  • More open dialogue as part of the culture
  • Freedom to raise issues without reprisal
  • Flattened hierarchical structures
  • Customer representation at internal meetings
  • Unscripted opportunities to interact with one’s peers

There are examples of this kind of openness in most industries.

What is the most common mistake companies make with their brands when it comes to digital customer experience?

Organizations of all types forget to translate their brand attributes and personality to the digital world. As an example, consider a company that offers ‘fast and friendly’ service. It’s one thing to declare “We’re fast and friendly” online; however, just having or displaying the words doesn’t matter as much as actions do. So, in this example, ‘fast and friendly’ needs to translate to fast-and-friendly interfaces, clarity on inventory and delivery times, access to resolution for problems in multiple channels (chat bots, tech support, phone support, or field service requests).

One of the keys to making sure your organization’s experience is consistent across channels (traditional and digital) is to make sure that the experience ‘feels’ the same regardless of the touchpoint. If you’re a ‘fast-and-friendly’ business, friendly should show up in communications, and all interfaces, such as the confirmation windows, paper bills, phone scripts, etc.

Some tips for companies who want to create an exceptional customer experience

First of all, don’t rest on your laurels. Just because you’re doing well or have a great reputation, you don’t get a free pass to relax. In business, things are changing faster than ever, and most people consider technology to be the big disrupter. When it comes to customer experiences, I find customers and their changing needs and desires to be the big disrupter. You can’t stop learning (especially about tech and trends), and you can’t stop being curious about your current and future customers (especially about how they like to receive information, exchange value, get service, and share your story).

To be specific, any company that expects to thrive in the next five years should designate several learners in the machine learning and artificial intelligence spaces. These enabling technologies are provoking change not only in what businesses can do but in how they should serve their customers.

To be even more specific, including more employees in the customer experience dialogue is a smart move. Lunch-and-learn conversations, vendor fairs, senior exec/junior exec knowledge exchange programs, and other simple-to-implement programs can help elevate the emphasis on customer experience throughout any company.

Mike Wittenstein

Mike Wittenstein

Mike Wittenstein was doing customer experience before it was cool. Since 1998, as IBM’s eVisionary, he has been designing and developing experiences that differentiate brands and deliver bottom-line results. Mike has worked on over 700 client engagements in 26 countries. He understands first-hand the value of properly translating experiences to meet unique cultural differences. Mike founded StoryMiners, one of the world’s first experience design consulting agencies in 2002. The firm is known for its ability to find the essence of a company, brand, or service and translate it into a compelling experience that help clients shape their futures. The value of his work is estimated at over $1.6 billion in sales won, expenses cut, and brand value added. Mike is the world’s only working speaker/consultant/experience designer to have earned the top designations in his chosen fields (CSP, CMC, CCXP). Mike earned his MBA from Thunderbird School of Global Management. He works in English, Portuguese, Spanish, and Russian.

Leave a Reply