We all know (don’t we?) that digital experience is being driven by the many disruptive forces changing the face of the world around us. We also know that a combination of digitally empowered consumers and always-on connectivity means that customer expectations of any company that wishes to serve them have dramatically changed–today’s customers expect (and demand) more than ever.
The question many companies are starting to ask is pretty simple: “How can our firm leverage the impact of digital innovation to better engage our customers–and do so faster and more effectively than our competitors?”
It’s an important question that’s going to be even more critical in the years to come because digital is increasingly at the heart of everything you (and your customers) do. Most companies realize that the right answer is to develop a digital experience strategy–where things start to fall apart is around what that actually means.
What (Exactly) Is Digital Experience Strategy?
Just a few years ago, a sound online strategy was the answer to that question. Integrated public and private Web, and automated marketing tools did it for many. Now, mobile and social are a big part of the mix as well. And, of course, the ability to (intelligently) automate and increase the efficiency of on- and offline processes continues to be at the center of the digital revolution for those in IT and BPM.
This is where things get fuzzy for many because the “experience” in digital experience is the customer experience. While the “digital” part is easy to figure out, the “customer” part is still a bit unclear. That’s because digital experience strategy isn’t an IT-driven initiative; it’s a customer-needs driven initiative. There’s a huge difference between simply using digital technology and actually leveraging it to improve customer experiences and better address customer needs.
Your digital experience strategy will help you define how to meet–and exceed–changing customer expectations across and through multiple, rapidly increasing digital channels and touchpoints. It must be the basis for consistently integrating the digital experience into your products, services, and interactions across your entire organization.
Digital Increasingly At The Center
In today’s world–to say nothing of tomorrow’s–you just can’t separate digital experience from your business, brand, and customer experience strategies. That’s because digital is at the core of absolutely everything–and needs to tie all the way back to (and through) the heart of your business.
If your brand has done its job and successfully set customer expectations of the experience they’ll have, then your customer experience strategy defines what that experience is and helps guide delivery of a consistent experience for all your customers, no matter how they choose to interact.
Your digital experience strategy is what brings your customer experience strategy to life–guiding the design and implementation of customer experiences across all digital channels. Importantly, that includes the ability to seamlessly integrate with and move from one channel to the next across changing digital and offline channels.
As digital interactions continue to grow, touchpoints will continue to get more complex and interactive. And customers will continue to demand faster, more informative, and more accurate products, services, and interactions. So the ability to collapse processes, add smart touchpoints, and both simplify and improve customer experience is going to be based on a digital experience strategy that ensures the increasingly digital experiences you deliver are faster, smarter, and better.
So when you start planning your digital strategy, don’t forget who’s at the center: your customers.
© 2012 Michael Hinshaw and MCorp Consulting. All rights reserved. This article was originally posted on Touchpoint Insights, the MCorp Consulting blog. Touchpoint Mapping®, Brand MappingSM andLoyalty Mapping® are registered trademarks of MCorp Consulting.
About Michael Hinshaw
Michael Hinshaw is President / CEO of McorpCX, a customer experience research, brand and strategy consultancy based in the San Francisco area. An innovative executive, consultant and educator, he has over 20 years’ experience in marketing, brand and management consulting. His perspectives on creativity and business performance measurement have been honed through the lenses of brand, touchpoint and customer experience mapping. For more information, view his blog on Customer Experience, or follow Michael on Twitter.