Beyond The Customer Experience – Why Marketers Need To Consider Total Experience For Digital Success

Beyond The Customer Experience – Why Marketers Need To Consider Total Experience For Digital Success

In this guest post, James Horne (lead image), CEO of Balance Internet, says it’s no longer about the customer experience for brands, but should be about “total experience” for those looking for digital success…

The old adage ‘the customer is always right’ has a lot to answer for. For many years, businesses have implemented such a customer-centric approach that they’ve let the experiences of other users take a backseat. Although providing a seamless customer experience should always be a top priority, happy customers are certainly not the only factor driving business growth.

In order to truly be successful, businesses must take a more holistic view and consider the experiences of all users – from its customers and employees, right through to other users such as warehouse and logistics partners. This is where the concept of ‘total experience’ comes into play. Listed as one of Gartner’s top strategic technology trends for business in 2022, ‘total experience’ is fast becoming a key area of focus as businesses look to improve all user experiences, not just the experiences of their customers.

The total experience of eCommerce

From a technical point of view, total experience (TX) unifies four separate disciplines; customer experience (CX), user experience (UX), employee experience (EX) and multi-experience (MX). From a practical point of view, total experience simply makes sense. After all, an employees’ experience will impact the customer’s experience, and the customer experience will impact the employee experience – and any third party experiences will also influence that of the employee and customer. It’s therefore logical for businesses to improve the overall experience for all users, rather than addressing individual experiences separately. This is particularly true in the digital commerce space.

With Australians breaking online shopping records in 2021, and the vast majority now shopping from their mobile phones, improving digital capabilities has never been more important for online retailers. But in addition to implementing new technologies such as AI-powered voice commerce, Progressive Web Apps (PWA), and frictionless payment options to improve the customer experience, businesses must also explore how these new technologies can improve employee and other partner experiences. Gartner believes that business will benefit greatly from this approach, predicting that by 2024, organisations that focus on providing a total experience will outperform competitors by 25% in satisfaction metrics for both CX and EX.

Aligning the customer and employee experience

COVID-19 has completely transformed customer expectations, driving an insatiable demand for hyper-convenience. Lockdowns and social distancing requirements accelerated innovations in home delivery and contactless services, resulting in consumers who are now used to being able to purchase whatever they want, whenever they want, and delivered in record speed. But the need to keep customers satisfied 24/7 only increases pressures placed on employees and delivery partners. Without also focusing on improving experiences in the back end, businesses cannot maintain such a steep growth trajectory.

US retail giant, Walmart, is one business that has turned its focus to improved employee experience as part of its digital transformation strategy. It recently developed a new employee app which not only allows team members to easily check their schedules and communicate with one another, its personalised AI assistant allows staff to quickly locate merchandise and find answers for customers. It’s a simple solution that not only makes its employees’ lives easier – and in turn helps improve customer service – it acknowledges the fact that employees desire the same seamless experiences with technology at work as they do in their personal lives.

Closer to home, Balance has worked with a national retail franchise with a range of different size stores around the country. Due to a spike in sales during the pandemic, the business’ existing order management software (OMS) couldn’t keep up with demand, putting increased pressure on staff. A new OMS was developed to handle the surge in online and click and collect orders; not just with the customer in mind – but putting the staff experience at the heart of the design. The new OMS considered the different ways staff would fulfill online orders, and how these processes differed between staff located in warehouses, in larger stores, or in the smaller boutique franchises – as well as how all stores and delivery partners communicated with one another. With total experience at the core, the new OMS delivered a tailored, more seamless experience for every one of its users.

Quite simply, as technology improves for the customer, it must improve at an equal pace for staff and other partners. For example, implementing hyper-convenient payment options such as pay-and-go for petrol and snacks might be a dream come true for customers, but for staff behind the counter it can be a nightmare keeping up with who has pre-paid for their items, and who is stealing. Forward thinking technologies that make it easier for staff to monitor and recognise pay-and-go customers is crucial to its success. Because only when all experiences are considered, can digital commerce truly be a flawless experience.

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts

Total experience aims to break down the barriers between previously siloed user experiences. From a practical perspective, this means that businesses must also break down their internal silos when implementing new digital strategies. While employee, customer and partner journeys might still be mapped separately, it’s important that any areas of overlap are addressed by multiple teams, all working together to create a unified solution that benefits all users.

If businesses are looking to improve customer personalisation, how can they also deliver a more personalised experience for their employees and partners? If retailers are investing in the latest digital technologies to improve the shopping experience, how can these technologies also be tailored to improve other user experiences? By taking a more a holistic, overarching view, business can deliver a total experience that improves customer loyalty, enhances employee satisfaction, and ultimately accelerates growth.

 




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Balance Internet James Horne

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