Cutting Through the Complexity of the Digital Customer Experience

Cutting Through the Complexity of the Digital Customer Experience
By Mark Cameron

The era of the shiny widget may be coming to a close. At Working Three, we work with a wide range of customers on digital customer experience strategies. These customers range from large retailers and consumer goods companies to national sporting organizations and even multinational software companies. What these companies offer varies greatly. But we are hearing a constant message about digital communications from all of them: “Can someone please simplify everything!”

CEOs, CMOs and other business leaders are very aware that digital communication is important. A recent McKinsey & Company report looked into five digital trends: big data and advanced analytics, digital engagement of customers, digital engagement of employees and external partners, automation, and digital innovation. Customer engagement was the highest-ranked trend. In fact 56% said digital customer engagement was at least in the top 10 of company priorities. The issue many of these same people are facing is complexity—particularly if they don’t feel like a ‘digital native.’

To make matters worse, it feels like everyone claims to have “the solution” you’ve been looking for. Go to any marketing or communications conference these days and there are hundreds of software providers and app developers touting the latest shiny thing to fix all of your communication woes. They may be very slick at selling their product, but in the end it needs to be used properly to realize its value.

And this is why digital customer experience [CX] design is so vital to an organization. Get the strategy wrong and you’ll end up wasting time and money. Get it right and you’ll have a platform for sustainable growth. Most brands don’t have the kinds of marketing budgets that global companies like Nike and Procter & Gamble have, but investing in CX doesn’t need to cost the earth—in fact it should save you money.

The early research and design stages of a CX strategy can both be an enlightening and a frustrating experience for a business owner who is eager to “get moving.” It is time well spent, though, as it gives you the opportunity to really see your business through your customers’ eyes.

From there, you need to roll out prototypes to test and refine your ideas. Don’t expect to get everything right the first time—and don’t put all your eggs in one basket. As these things are happening, you’ll need to work through all of the back-end complexity. It is likely that many parts of your business will need to work together to achieve success. So don’t ignore the internal communications aspects.

You’ll also need to define how technology will be used and what role it will play. Your CX strategy will rely on, and be underpinned with, technology, but it is not a technical role. In the end you are using technology to communicate. So make sure you train communications resources in the technology, not the other way round.

Most importantly, keep things simple. There’s lots of ways to waste your money, but only careful planning will ensure that you don’t.

Mark Cameron is CEO and lead strategist of social media conversion and commercialization agency Working Three. While his agency is based in Melbourne, Australia, he works for some of the world’s most innovative and forward-thinking brands. As a regular speaker and writer on social media and digital strategy, Mark stays focused on customers and outcomes, not the technology, leading to simple strategic conclusions.

1 comments
Eric_Determined
Eric_Determined

Mark, thank you for addressing the complexity of the digital customer experience. I find it valuable, and I'm sure other readers/customers would too, if you would add some examples of campaigns and/or tools you implemented that resulted in positive outcome for your brands. I certainly agree that the end result needs to be simple in order for the entire organization to implement, and engage its customers.

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