HOW TO CREATE A GREAT DIGITAL, HUMAN EXPERIENCE 

 

As the Director of The Customer Experience Company, I’m often asked a common question: ‘How do I improve our digital customer experience?’.

It’s a great example of why asking the right question is so important. Digital strategies are likely to be at the core of most customer experience strategies, and rightly so. But don’t fall into the trap of thinking that customers care about channels – they don’t!

As customers, we think about the outcome we are trying to achieve ­– go on that holiday, buy that house, pay that bill. If an organisation manages and designs customer service or full experiences separately in each channel, it will be a poor, fragmented and expensive outcome.

Customer journeys may have been around 10 years or so now, and although they work as design tools, siloed experiences are still common. Even in a ‘digital first’ world, most organisations still need multiple channels to deliver great sales and service, yet most organisations operate with their people and technology in siloed channels. So, how to address that?

1. DESIGN EXPERIENCES IN HOLISTIC CUSTOMER JOURNEYS
I’ll assume you know what these are and are already using them for conceptually better experiences. But somehow the reality doesn’t quite meet what’s on paper. So…

2. ASSIGN OWNERS OF JOURNEYS
As an organisational role, journey owners are relatively new. A few companies have them, and although the exact function varies, the point is that you have someone with at least moderate authority responsible for looking after what the customer is trying to achieve, end to end.

3. HAVE AN END TO END METHODOLOGY 
Currently, most companies have a gap between two critical methodologies. Firstly, they have a customer design team or capability (or a partner that supplies those skills) that are experts in customer design methods. Secondly, they have mature project methods – either Agile or Waterfall, or both. But, as numerous books and articles show, these two methods don’t overlap. Result: the customer vision isn’t reliably translated into project requirements or outcomes. Fix this or watch multiple projects fail to achieve the dream.

4. UNIFY PLATFORMS
Here’s a simple example: your contact centre probably has a good knowledge tool to help answer customer queries, and that tool will have API’s or a digital capability. Separately, you probably have website FAQs and content which repeats the same knowledge, but it is maintained separately and is often inconsistent. The consequence is a fragmented and inconsistent customer experience that costs more to maintain. Be sure to unify.

5. REALISE BENEFITS
Done correctly, these steps lead to a win-win-win business outcome. Customers are happy and NPS climbs because better results are achieved with less effort. Employees are happy because they can see that they are delivering a better service and have fewer complexities and failures to manage. Business owners are happy because this all costs less to deliver, and leads to more sales. AMP’s recent customer transformation work displayed this win-win-win outcome and they have shared at public conferences.

So, remember to ask the right question by removing that one keyword that leads to internal silos – ‘digital’. Next time, ask: ‘How do I improve our digital customer experience?’.

Don’t panic by dropping ‘digital’ from your question – the strategy will be digitally focused regardless as that’s what customers need and is low cost. But the main lesson is to focus on the customer first, not the channel.

 

 Chris Severn

Director of The Customer Experience Company

www.customerexperience.com.au