25 Apr Understanding CX and DX: Addressing the Experience Conundrum
Experience is a concept every business needs to prioritize today. It doesn’t matter whether you’re selling software to world-leading enterprises, or clothes to everyday consumers, your company must revolve around experience. Of course, with the rise of “experience” as a focal point in every brand strategy, there has also been an increase in new terms for companies to understand.
For instance, the most common term associated with the “experience economy” is CX, known as “customer experience”. We also have “UX”, which refers to the wider “user experience”, and even “EX”, for employee experience.
“DX” is one of the more confusing concepts to emerge to emerge in recent years. Initially, “DX” was the term used to refer to digital transformation – the process companies can use to digitize, optimize, and enhance their business processes with new technology. Now, we’re seeing more analysts and industry leaders referring to “DX” as “Digital Experience”.
So, what exactly is Digital Experience, and how does it compare to CX?
What is Customer Experience? Defining CX
To understand DX, and how it differs from the basic concept of “Customer Experience”, we first need a comprehensive insight into “CX”. Customer Experience, or “CX” is a term business leaders have been growing increasingly accustomed to over the last couple of years.
According to experts, a strong CX is what makes 86% of buyers willing to pay more for an interaction with your company. Customer Experience is also, primarily, how customers decide which companies they’re going to do business with in the first place. More than price or product features, your clients (both B2B and B2C) are looking for an experience they can rely on.
The term “CX” in today’s digital world is usually used to refer to the technology, strategies, and processes companies use to implement the best possible interactions for their customers. To improve CX, you might invest in a new CCaaS (Contact Centre as a Service) solution to deliver amazing omnichannel experiences across multiple platforms (from voice to video).
You can enhance customer experience by delivering a better shopping experience for your audience, with a quicker checkout process, or by giving loyal customers bigger discounts. In simple terms, anything that creates a positive experience for your target audience is a practice in positive CX.
What is Digital Experience? Defining DX
Digital Experience, or “DX” is a concept within the wider umbrella of CX. While “customer experience” as an idea encompasses every potential interaction between a brand and a customer, “DX” focuses just on the interactions enabled via digital channels.
Ultimately, DX can include everything from the conversations your audience has with your company through an app, smartphone, computer, tablet, or even a smart assistant. Whenever a customer uses digital technology to research your product, download content from your company, read an email, or reach out to your brand, they’re engaging in a “digital experience”.
So, what makes DX so important right now?
Simply put, experiences in the modern world are becoming progressively more digital. Particularly during the last couple of years, consumers have spent less time engaging in traditional interactions (such as in-person shopping and contact centre calls).
Instead, the majority of a consumer’s relationship is now built with a brand through digital media. Your customers start their journey with your business digitally, by searching for information and reading content online. More often than not, the purchasing funnel ends with digital engagement too, through a transaction which happens through a website or a video conference with a sales rep.
Are DX and CX The Same Thing? The Shrinking Divide
What makes differentiating between digital and customer experience so complex today, is they’re becoming less and less distinct. Customers don’t perceive digital channels as an “extra” tool in the customer experience. In fact, many of today’s consumers rarely distinguish between offline and online experiences. DX is a deeply embedded, and widely accepted part of CX.
With CX and DX becoming increasingly intertwined, companies are under increasing pressure to ensure they’re getting the digital side of their customer service strategy right. We’re living in a world where customers want to be able to seamlessly move between digital and non-digital interactions with minimal hassle or confusion.
To create the holistic experience your customer expects, most companies will need to stop thinking of “DX” as a separate initiative and start considering it as a critical component of the wider CX initiative. For customers, each channel in the path to purchase isn’t a unique silo – it’s a holistic experience.
Your client wants to be able to research a product on your website, order it through a chatbot on social media, then check to see when it can be picked up in-store, from an app on their smartphone. The brands creating the strongest experience understand all the channels in a customer journey have an impact on the experience – but digital interactions are definitely becoming more common.
What Role Should DX Play in a CX Program?
Rather than taking on a separate life, a DX initiative in the modern world should be part of a comprehensive omnichannel strategy for CX. Remember, experiences which don’t meet expectations cost businesses up to $4.7 trillion annually, so it’s definitely worth thinking about how you can enhance the CX environment by making a few more digital investments.
Since the pandemic, some experts have recommended focusing more aggressively on the digital experience. However, this would involve looking at offline and online interactions with your customers as entirely separate concepts.
The truth is that a successful DX and CX strategy needs to consider every stage of the customer journey, from online to offline. To truly delight customers, companies need to learn how to optimize traditional CX channels, like improving call centre training opportunities and investing in more meaningful store experiences. At the same time, they also need to ensure they’re implementing digital enhancements which make life easier for their target audience.
Sound complicated? That’s because it is.
The customer journey is becoming increasingly diverse and difficult to understand. Every customers has their own preferred strategy for how they want to engage with a company, and the opportunities available for brand/client interaction are evolving all the time.
So, where exactly do you start when it comes to upgrading experience?
How to Master Experience in a Transforming World
Ultimately, a strong experience strategy in 2022 and beyond requires companies to consider the entire “experience ecosystem” as a holistic roadmap. We need to consider not just how we can enable customers offline and online, but how we can connect these different threads too.
Here’s how you can gest started.
1. Become Data Driven
With customers now engaging in more complicated sales funnels and paths to purchase than ever before, it’s impossible to simply “guess” what your audience needs. Instead, you need to make sure you’re constantly collecting data. What better way to offer your audience the best possible experience, than to listen to what they need?
X-data, like CSAT and CES score information collected from your contact centre technology can give you a behind-the-scenes look at what your customers are saying. Issuing surveys and collecting testimonials from your target audience should help you to see which parts of the CX umbrella you need to upgrade, and which DX (digital experience) opportunities you’re missing out on.
It’s also worth collecting as much operational data as you can from different tools, like your call recording system, help desk, and CRM. Insights into how you actually interacted with your customer and how those interactions influenced business outcomes are excellent for teaching you more about what your brand needs to do to master experience.
2. Move to The Cloud
Now that “DX” is a fundamental part of CX, there’s no excuse for having a customer experience strategy driven entirely by traditional modes of customer service. Ultimately, no matter how large or small your business is, you need to make sure you’re supporting and serving your customers on all of the channels they choose.
With that in mind, consider your contact centre strategy. Do you currently have the right omnichannel environment in place to reach your customers wherever they are? More importantly, do you have the right alignment between all of your customer service and experience avenues, so you can track the end-to-end customer journey?
An omnichannel cloud-based contact centre will help you to develop a better understanding of your audience and their DX and CX needs. By investing in solutions in the cloud, you’ll also be able to add and remove channels for communication and support as your customer’s preferences change. Look for a contact centre tool provider who can align all of your environments, from the business phone to the social media channels you use to respond to instant messages.
3. Consider Disruptive Technology
Customer expectations are higher than they’ve ever been. Not only do your clients expect you to be able to interact with them on any channel they choose – but they also want highly personalized, engaging, and meaningful experiences with your brand at every touchpoint. Keeping up with expectations can be easier said than done.
Fortunately, there are ways to simplify your customer experience strategy, with access to innovative technology. For instance, implementing artificial intelligence and self-service bots into your customer service strategy means your clients can access more of the information they need to make purchases without the help of your contact centre agents.
Not only does this ensure your customers can get answers to their questions as quickly as possible – but it also means you can reduce the pressure on your service agents. Used correctly, automated tools and bots can give your team members more time to focus on the challenges and customer requests which really need their specialist expertise and attention.
4. Consider “Total Experience”
With so much confusion surrounding the concept of Digital Experience, and Customer Experience, the last thing you probably want is another “X” idea to be aware of. However, as we mentioned above, it’s becoming increasingly important to think of experience as a holistic strategy, rather than a multitude of different practices.
Analysts like Gartner are pushing companies to switch their initiatives for DX and CX for a more comprehensive take with “Total Experience”, or TX. This basically means you consider how all of the various experiences you cultivate and manage in your business lead to a better outcome for your business. For instance, you’d look at:
Digital experience: The interactions your customers have with you through digital tools
Multi experience: The connections between customers and companies online and offline.
User experience: How simple and straightforward it is for users to access experiences.
Employee experience: How easy it is for your team members to do their best work.
According to Gartner, by 2024, organizations providing a better “total” experience will outperform their competition by around 25% in satisfaction metrics from both customers, and employees. Since happier employees naturally lead to happier customers, it makes sense to consider a holistic approach.
Be More Agile
Finally, as the needs and expectations of customers continue to evolve at an incredible rate, most companies are going to need to make constant changes to their digital and customer experience strategies on a regular basis. As we’ve seen over the last couple of years, the tools customers use to interact with us can change drastically almost overnight.
To survive in this new landscape, companies will need to become more agile and flexible in the way they think about experience. Being willing to constantly assess the experiences of your customer base and determine whether there’s anything you can do to make them simpler, or more efficient is an excellent way to stay one step ahead of the competition.
The good news is that shifting to the cloud should put you in the perfect position to embrace this new era of agility. With CCaaS vendors to help transform your contact centre at a moment’s notice, and new investments in cloud communications technology keeping your back-end team connected, there’s nothing stopping you from evolving whenever you need to.