Customer Experience in the Digital Age



By Martin Conboy

customer experienceWhat is the digital age? The digital age embraces how we interconnect, how we shop, how we learn. Even in a traditional call centre, the digital age is all around us; even if someone calls via a traditional telephone, the agent uses a digital channel for research, for recording the conversation, for communicating with the consumer, etc.

Simply put, the digital age means information where, when and how the user wants it – anywhere at any time. It’s communication on the consumer’s terms

Today’s multichannel customers demand better experiences than they get from companies that provide under performing one-off touchpoints. Disruptive and converging digital technologies such as social media, mobility and real-time are reshaping the customer experience.

Many companies have moved beyond the cost reduction benefits of going digital to take on the more market-facing challenge of enhancing the customer experience. The burning question is: how can you make your business relevant to customers in this digital age and what is the role of BPO and outsourcing providers in supporting organisations to manage digital transformation?

In 2014 the term User Experience (UX), alternatively referred to as Digital Customer Experience, have become popular. “User experience” or “Digital Customer Experience” encompasses all aspects of an online customer’s interaction with a company, its services, and its products. How do firms provide an exceptional and seamless experience for their online customers?

Well the answer to some extent is quite simple: start with the customer and what they want. But what do they want? And is, what they want and expect today the same as it will be in one or two years time? How do organisations transform to keep connected with their ever evolving digital customer?

Earlier this year a report was released, Digital Transformation: Why and How Companies are Investing in New Business Models to Lead Digital Customer Experiences, by Brian Solis, with Charlene Li and Jaimy Szymanski of Altimeter Group. The report defines digital transformation as:

Social, mobile, real-time, and other disruptive technologies are aligning to necessitate bigger changes than initially anticipated. Digital transformation is a result of businesses seeking to adapt to this onslaught of disruptive technologies affecting customer and employee behaviour.

Challenged by an increasingly complex multifaceted ecosystem of websites, social media channels, mobile sites and apps, firms are aimingaspiring to align their investments and strategies to match customers’ most pressing needs and requirements. The most critical aspect to delivering an exceptional customer experience is not the systems themselves, but the architecture and processes behind the scenes. It’s the ability to leverage the technology to create ways to facilitate an optimal customer experience.

Mapping the customer journey


According to the Altimeter report, maping and understanding the customer experience or journey is becoming critical in guiding transformation efforts. The customer journey is the complete sum of experiences that customers go through when interacting with a company and its brand. Instead of looking at just a part of a transaction or experience, the customer journey documents the full experience of being a customer.

This journey can be broken down into stages or touchpoints, which is any situation where a customer has contact with a company or its brand. The different stages may include:

  • A review on a social media site
  • A response to an online advertisement
  • A visit to a website
  • An online purchase from an eStore
  • An app on their mobile device
  • An email from the customer service department

Understanding each of these stages is about determining what the customer is doing and for what purpose. What will encourage or discourage them from moving to the next stage and finally becoming a sale? What kinds of emotions do they feel in each one of the stages? What kinds of obstacles do customers confront in each of the stages? Is it cost? Is it lack of information about the product?

How your BPO provider can help?


The drive to go beyond “lift and shift” and achieve real enterprise transformation has become a focal point of the BPO industry. Digital transformation is another means beyond traditional “lift and shift” that can help BPO practitioners achieve real enterprise transformation.

To maximise digital budgets providers are aiming to deliver web, mobile, and tablet touchpoints, combined with analytics, that can align with a client’s core brand attributes and support business objectives such as cost savings, revenue generation, and loyalty building.

Key to this work is the ability to help organisations create a unified customer experience. To help them re-align technology and business models to more effectively engage digital customers and consumers at every touch point in the customer experience journey and life cycle.

Follow Martin Conboy on Twitter

September 24, 2014

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