- Two-thirds of global CEOs will be focusing on digital strategies to enhance their customer experience, by the end of 2019.
- 85% of enterprise stakeholders surveyed by IDC say that it’s imperative to achieve significant digital transformation by 2021, or avoid losing business to competitors.
These two statistics do a great job of framing the criticality of digital customer experience (DCX) in the next decade, and the starring role digital transformation will play in driving successful DCX.
With that fact being inevitable, all that’s left for enterprises is to understand how exactly digital transformation underpins their diigital customer experience.
We take a look at the four key pillars of digital customer experience and explore what technology transformations need to happen within enterprises, to steady those pillars.
Your brand should be accessible through the channels that your customers use most often and are the most comfortable with. For enterprises, innovation lies in finding novel ways to enable interaction with customers, and allow them to get the job done with the least
amount of friction.
However, new interaction channels mean engaging with new technology solutions. The key digital transformation required here would be the ability to quickly understand emerging technologies and identifying which of those can be leveraged to deliver phenomenal digital experiences.
While we cannot recommend which exact transformations will work for which enterprise, here are a few interaction channels that have delivered the most business value across industries.
Retail brands have innovated their shopping and customer interaction workflows to give buyers the flexibility to order items via Facebook Messenger bots. Several airline brands and travel OTAs have adopted a similar route. Hospitality brands have created phenomenal guest experiences on their properties, and even before they reach their properties, with chatbots.
There is a diverse range of technology solutions that go into crafting a successful chatbot experience. From being able to leverage tools like Amazon Lex and other natural language processing platforms, to establishing content management systems that can deliver the right content into these chatbots, enterprise IT teams have to become well versed with these technology solution very fast.
Virtual makeup apps are transforming how customers sample and buy beauty products. People can sample a range of products and see how each shade and effect looks on their face and skin, from the comfort of their homes, using these apps. The in-store experience is also being digitized by having these apps on the counter, as a very persuasive aid for the beauty advisors. They can help customers try out practically the entire product range, or several different looks, in a matter of minutes.
Creating these virtual try-on experiences require enterprises to adopt emerging technologies around Augmented Reality. Complementary to this will be technology transformations around the content management system that powers these experiences.
Customers expect to conduct their complete journey with a brand over multiple interaction channels. And you are expected to keep track of these multiple channels and ensure that customers can pick up their journey on any channel, from right where they left off last time. Integrated, omnichannel should be a given for your digital customer experience.
Ensuring that all your customer interaction channels are integrated and deliver a holistic experience is driven solely by technology.
Content as a Service
When your customers are interacting with your brand across multiple channels, you want your communications with them to be consistent. If your brand promotes and retail offer with Twitter update, it needs to be showcased on your website as well. If a media and publishing brand delivers information on the website, the same should be available to users on the app, on a tablet, and on their smart home devices. And this need to be done without your team having to manually reformat content for these different channels.
What you need to make this happen is Content as a Service (CaaS). Essentially a technology solution that ensures content is collated in a single repository where you can create, manage, categorize, search, and make it available to other systems. It involves creating a content platform architecture that enables content to be separate from its presentation. And that requires a lot of transformation in your technology architecture - from a decoupled content management system to component-based development - to empower your omnichannel delivery with CaaS.
Innovative, omnichannel digital customer experiences are complex solutions with a lot of moving parts. But for the customer, these have to be extremely intuitive. They should work exactly how the customer expects them to, and given them what they want, even before they know they want it.
But this doesn’t just happen magically. Intuitive digital customer experiences are driven by a mass of micro data points and technology solutions that can transform those into actionable insights.
33% of consumers who ended their relationship with a company last year did so because the experience wasn’t personalized enough.
The fact that personalization is critical is not new to enterprises. But delivering personalization is dependent upon using the right technology elements:
Data Engineering Technology Stack
One of the key technology transformations required for personalization is the creation of an integrated data engineering tech stack.
This would involve:
- Identifying the disparate sources of data, and also classifying them as structured or unstructured data
- Pulling this data from the different databases and cleaning it
- Bringing it all to a central repository where it can be processed into useful information and used to build detailed customer profiles
Depending upon the existing technology stack of any enterprise, this could mean different things:
- If you already have different tools and systems at play that collect, clean, and structure data, you would need to engineer them to work with a central repository.
- If your disparate databases host a combination of structured and unstructured data, you would need to significantly overhaul your data collection, processing, and storage infrastructure.
Given how important data is in this whole personalization endeavour, you would want to get this part absolutely right.
After all, what’s worse than no personalization? Wrong personalization!
Flexible Content Management System
The first level of personalization always happens on the website or branded application. But if your current CMS is one where putting up a new page or changing the design is a week-long project, then you are definitely not ready to deliver personalized digital customer experience.
Beyond the content management system, you might also need to adopt additional personalization solutions like Acquia Lift or Acquia Journey, other similar ones. These are solutions that work atop your existing CMS and allow you to personalize your digital properties and get better visibility into the customer journeys that happen across your brand touchpoints.
Your digital customer experience doesn’t become a self-sustaining and self-improving process unless customers interact with it. Successful DCX is heavily dependent on customers clicking, scrolling, asking or answering - performing actions on your digital channels. These interaction data points are what drives increasingly improved digital customer experience.
But a prerequisite for this a well-designed data architecture that is capable of collecting, processing and analyzing this data.
Currently, here’s what is possibly happening at your enterprise:
Customer interaction data - how they arrived on your website, which pages they browsed, what content they consumed, what they said about your brand on social media - are collected and stored by different systems. While page visits are usually sourced from the web analytics tool, you might have two or three different tools to gather user behavior data like page scroll, CTA clicks etc. The CRM data is obviously in a different database, the geo-location data is being picked up in real time, and the social media data is picked up by a different tool.
Dedicated Data Lakes
If you are to make any sense of this vast volume of data, you have to be able to see them holistically and that is not possible with customer data residing in disparate systems. So the first transformation here has to be in terms of a marketing data lake.
With a marketing data lake, enterprises can gather data from external and internal systems and drop it all in one place. The possibilities with this data can be at several levels:
- Basic analytics for a comprehensive look into persona profiles and campaign performance
- Leveraging data to form basic and advanced personalization and recommendation engines for users
- Forming a 360 degree view of individual customers by pulling together information on customer journey, preferences, social media activity, sentiment analysis and more
All of this information feeds into your digital customer experience to make it easier for your customers to interact with you, find what they need, and receive hyper-personalize, low-friction experiences across your digital properties.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Beyond using the prima facie insights, enterprises can have data scientists perform exploratory analysis on look at the wide spectrum of data available. They build some statistical models based on machine learning algorithms to parse through this data and check if any new customer behavior patterns and insights emerge. These can form the basis of creating new and more innovative experiences and bringing more intuitive workflows into the system.
The Best Westerns’ AI-powered ads, on the other hand, are reflective of a different use case for leveraging artificial intelligence or travel personalization. The hotel chain is combining their CRM data with AI-based recommendation engines to predict what destinations customers will prefer. So whenever someone comes across their ad, they are asked a few questions around their travel plans, and the ad gives them personalized recommendations.
Here AI is being used to understand customer wants, and then look through a large database of recommendations to pick and choose options that correspond to those wants. And all of this is happening in real-time. This the kind of scaled personalization, with recommendation engines capable of delivering contextual answers, is impossible to deliver without the right technology.
As you can see, enhanced digital customer experiences that consistently showcase your brand and your business to your customers do not happen without significant digital transformation. For enterprises, it is critical to start evaluating how they want to roll out new DCX strategies, and identifying the specific technology transformations and expertise needed to make those possible.
Srijan is working with global enterprises across industries to create rich, immersive, well-crafted digital expereinces that work exactly as your customers expect them to. Our expert teams engage with your business goals and key stakeholders to craft digital experience solutions tailormade to their requirements.
Going betond the ordinary with your digital customer experience game? Let's start the conversation on how Srijan can help.