The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many businesses to digitally transform faster than they ever envisioned. Long term digital aspirations have quickly become today’s goals, with digital technologies becoming essential to continue operations and do business.
For businesses either embarking or continuing on their digital transformation journey, it is vital that they remain vigilant of the digital experience their organisation is delivering, both internally and externally.
The experience your staff and customers have through interactions with your digital systems can have a fundamental impact on how they view your business and ultimately, your brand reputation.
In this blog, we are going to explore the importance of digital experiences, how they impact a business, along with guidance on how to measure and optimise your digital experiences.
We’re all aware of digital transformation, it’s not the new kid on the block. But the rate of digital transformation has sharply increased in 2020. For those businesses who have been forced to digitise much quicker than expected there is a risk of making software or technology decisions based solely on what it software will do, rather than what value it brings or if it provides a great digital experience.
Even those businesses who are continuing with planned digital transformation the struggle can be in realising the importance of the digital experience when it comes to purchasing enterprise software or digitally transforming an area of your business.
It’s understandable, there are a lot of knock on effects when implementing new software or digitising an area of your business. Staff, for example, may have to upskill and adopt these new digital technologies, which can have an impact on morale, productivity and therefore your customers. But this also ties into the digital experience, if you consider that experience for all users, customers, staff, etc. Then you’ll implement a solution that meets everyone’s needs and expectations.
The most important question you can ask at each step of a digital transformation project is – how good is the overall experience of that software when you consider all the different touchpoints it may have with your users?
It’s easy to say ‘make sure your digital experience is great’ but what does that really mean? For each business it will be different depending on the purpose of the solution but in broad terms it’s the design of the overall ‘human’ experience that makes the difference, not the checklist of features.
It’s about what customers are expecting at that moment, for example, in a B2C scenario, we all want our online experiences to be safe and secure so we expect a secure symbol or certain logos on checkout etc.
Many businesses turn to the customer experience as a brand differentiator, focusing on certain areas that commonly cause problems, abandoned carts for B2C businesses or the forgotten demo in B2B scenarios etc. But this is where customer experience fails, it doesn’t take into consideration all users, what about staff or existing customers who use internal systems or portals. Customer experience doesn’t go far enough.
Enter Human Experience (HX).
Human experience is greater than customer experience, it is the complete emotional experience all stakeholders have with your product, brand or service. Both physical and digital.
HX is a mindset that places human needs at the centre of everything a business does, both internally and externally.
When considering Human Experience there are many areas you can explore, questions like:
- Does the design anticipate and accommodate users’ needs and responses?
- Do your staff have to put up with using frustrating business software every day of their lives? What impact does that have on their day and their emotional well being?
- Does the micro copy and communications within your system strike the right tone of voice with your customers/staff/users?
- Are there easy ways for users to get help with the system if they need it?
As you can see there is a lot more to consider when you start looking at a digital transformation project from a human experience point of view.
Still not convinced? Let’s look at the cost of a poor digital experience instead.
The benefit of good customer experience is well documented, those who focus on a great customer experience outperform other businesses, grow revenue faster and rebound stronger from recession.
All companies have to compete with the best user experiences now, regardless of industry. The commoditization of IT and the ‘bring your own device’ means that people are now expecting the same standards from their business software as they do from consumer software, thanks to Gmail, Netflix, etc.
This same expectation is held by employees who are demanding better tools to do their jobs and be more productive.
When it comes to enterprise systems, poor experience has a negative impact on job satisfaction, productivity, development time, time wasted on training and high costs. In the State of software survey 2019, it was revealed that more than half of employees were unhappy at work because of poor software. 62% of employees have, at some point in their career, felt as though they were not reaching their professional potential because of the software they used at work.
One of the clear examples are CRM projects – 30-60% of CRM projects fail, why?
- They lack clear goals
- Leaders fail to involve end users
- No involvement from an executive sponsor
- Poor data
- Business users disregard IT user implications
Whether you’re urgently transforming an area of your business or looking ahead to your digital roadmap, the most important thing you can do is start mapping customer and user journeys.
It doesn’t have to involve lengthy journey mapping but explore the different touchpoints, both physical and digital. Define which are the most important, which helps you identify opportunities for digital transformation as well as identify those that might need overhauled.
Don’t map the journeys on how your software works – map it around how people actually use your software.
Score, rate and prioritise your user journeys by customer satisfaction, efficiency and productivity. Do any of these journeys make you stand out from others? Are your digital experiences able to differentiate your business?
There are plenty of tools in the customer experience world, you may already know and use some of them.
But how can we introduce this thinking into the world of enterprise software and the overall human experience and track it effectively? You should still use all of the metrics and tools mentioned above but when it comes to human experience it’s about tracking emotion so methods may be more qualitative.
- Secret Shopper – Experience using the software yourself from the perspective of a user or hire a third party company to do this.
- Open a feedback channel with your users – form a user group to give honest feedback.
- Respond and log issues effectively – this data is invaluable, if you begin to see common issues, there is something not working.
- Consider the edge cases, predict your failures and design for error.
- Measure emotion – Companies are great at measuring after with surveys but do they provide accurate insight into the person’s experience at the time of interaction? Consider ways to check in with your users along the way.
- Talk to your staff – those who use it and work with customers everyday are your best sources of information.