Larry Mead, vice president of experience transformation at TTEC Digital, gives seven tips for designing and orchestrating a Total Experience (TX) strategy.
In 2013, customer experience innovator Matthew Dixon authored a new book that forever changed the game of customer service. Dixon’s Effortless Experience transformed the business landscape and defined the gold standard for customer experience for the last 10 years – until now.
Since Dixon’s book debuted, many organizations have responded by implementing rapid, disparate, find-and-fix solutions to reduce the effort, and friction, for customers engaging with their brands. This creates a set of fragmented experiences for customers.
Fast forward to today’s experience economy, where consumers expect seamless, consistent, proactive, predictive, and dependable interactions not only within, but across every interaction channel, platform, and business function throughout the entire customer journey. In other words, they want everything to add up to a total experience — from the point they become aware of your brand, to the moment of purchase, and throughout their entire lifecycle with your business.
To adapt and excel, companies must now think beyond specific customer interactions and engagements, toward an experience that meets customer needs and expectations holistically. We all must envision the Total Experience (TX).
TX bridges user, customer, and employee experience disciplines into one transformational experience that unifies every customer touchpoint, aligns the brand across every channel and platform, harmonizes business functions, and establishes complete trust within the customer journey.
While TX can be complicated, and require a step-by-step playbook, here are seven tips for designing and orchestrating a TX strategy:
1. Meet people’s emotional needs as well as their functional ones. Anyone who interacts with your brand (at any level) wants to have tasks fulfilled efficiently and effectively. But today’s employees and customers also desire an emotional connection with their brands. That’s why understanding their emotional motivations and triggers, and balancing those with their functional needs, is key to creating a Total Experience.
2. Ensure every experience is both predictive and proactive. In other words, don’t wait for the customer contact or interaction to occur and simply create the “best” reaction. You must design experiences that proactively move and motivate your customers to the next best step by orchestrating the entire journey not only within channels, but across them.
3. Create a humanized experience. Because so much of TX is digital, your brand’s personality and character can get lost in a sea of cybernated interactions. Take care to design a TX where the digital experience feels more like a personal (if not face-to-face) set of meaningful moments within the journey. Sophisticated automation and AI can move the needle on this important aspect.
4. Use hyper-personalization to boost the impact of every touchpoint. While personalization is the first step toward creating more meaningful interactions, hyperpersonalization recognizes people’s unique needs and preferences within every micro-moment. Recognition is a basic human need, and one that’s perhaps even more important when it comes to the employee experience.
5. Evaluate your current business architecture/operating model with brutal honesty. Your North Star is the vision that guides you toward a well-designed TX. While you may have deep investments – monetary and otherwise – in your current operating model, it’s crucial to honestly evaluate whether it can achieve your new vision. That means reviewing all the resources in place today, to determine if the existing business architecture can support the TX you desire in the future.
6. Perform due diligence on your current technology stack. It’s important that your technology provides the foundation for the sophisticated omnichannel interactions required for a TX. Outside partners can help you optimize your TX technology ecosystem with a focus on cross-platform integration, collaboration, utilization, and custom technology creation. The result is the right technology that orchestrates a TX in a scalable manner versus addressing a specific touchpoint.
7. Lastly, foster organization alignment. When your organization is aligned – from your team to your business units to your IT department – everyone shares the same mindset and beliefs about the value of the desired TX. If a new platform is required, alignment can power your team’s motivation to undergo what can be a massive exercise in change management and help everyone adapt more readily to a new lexicon of terms, tools, and methods for the enterprise.
According to Gartner, by 2024, organizations providing TX will outperform competitors by 25 percent in satisfaction metrics for both customer and employee experience. To get that 25 percent lead in the next two years, you’ll need to call on your internal experience champions and TX-experienced outside experts to partner with you to move forward. The urgency is great, when you consider that your customers and employees expect more from you today than they did yesterday: an experience on a totally new level.
About the Author
Larry Mead leads the TTEC Digital global team of strategists, experience designers, business architects, operations consultants, and SMEs – all focused on fueling exceptional experiences that deliver business value for companies and organizations. He and his team are the authors of the Total Experience Playbook, Larry has more than 30 years of consulting experience across a wide variety of industries.