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HiTech
8 minutes read

What are Digital Experiences?

by Jonathan Tarud
HiTech
8 minutes read

Digital experiences are a hot topic in modern marketing and business, but what is a digital experience? Digital experiences are defined as interactions between a customer, employee, partner, etc., and an organization that is made possible only through the use of digital technology. A digital experience refers to more than just the digitization of a formerly paper process. Digital experiences are only possible because of the Internet and other modern technologies

These unique experiences are part of the digital transformation of businesses. The traditional customer experience is being augmented by modern technology to create more immersive and valuable User Experiences. A digital experience has two key distinguishing features:

  • It uses modern technology
  • It provides interaction between a single user and an organization

A digital experience can occur on a mobile app, smart device, website, or another customer touchpoint that utilizes digital technology. It is important to note that the use of technology does not necessarily make a digital experience. A digital experience needs to do what cannot be done in the physical world. For example, a scanned document is not a digital experience. You can read a document on paper too. However, if you are able to highlight the document, make notes, click on words and get definitions or access to additional resources, etc., this would be a digital experience. 

What is the Difference Between a Digital Experience and a Digital Customer Experience?

The digital customer experience varies from a digital experience. A digital experience is a single interaction between a user and an organization. On the other hand, a digital customer experience is the sum of all digital experiences a user has. An easy way to visualize this distinction is the sand of a beach. A digital experience is an individual grain of sand, whereas a digital customer experience is a beach composed of many grains of sand. 

Improving digital customer experiences often requires optimizing the following elements of a digital product: 

  • User Interface
  • Mobile responsiveness 
  • Communication methods
  • Data delivery

Many organizations tend to focus on creating great User Experiences for their customers. It can be easy to get caught up in the big picture of customer experience and lose sight of the individual customer interactions and customer touchpoints that create the mosaic that is an outstanding digital customer experience. 

Poor digital experiences add up to create a poor digital customer experience. Organizations need to focus on all of their digital customer interactions in order to avoid driving their users to the competition, frustrating their customers, or diminishing the lifetime value of their users. Implementing a customer experience strategy can help your organization keep digital experiences at the forefront of your design, development, and marketing efforts. 

What Facets Create a Great Digital Experience?

Now that you have a good idea about what a digital experience is, you are probably wondering what makes a great digital experience. Understanding what facets of a digital experience are essential in creating a great User Experience is key when it comes to developing a customer experience strategy. The following are the key pieces to a great digital experience:

  • Functionality 
  • Customization 
  • Self-service
  • Ease 
  • Cohesion 

Functionality 

User Experience depends on the functionality of your mobile app, website, or other digital customer touchpoints. Functionality can be boiled down to two key pillars, usability and accessibility. While these two terms may seem synonymous, they are actually a little different from one another. 

Usability refers to the difficulty of using the website or mobile application. Do users have a hard time navigating through your website’s menu options or completing an action like a purchase or creating a user profile? These are usability issues, and they negatively impact your customer experience. 

Accessibility, on the other hand, refers to how easy it is to access your website or app. Commonly, this term is used when referring to the ability of disabled people to use and access your website. However, with the increase of smart devices, accessibility also refers to the ability of users to access your website from a variety of different devices and connection speeds. For example, if your website is inaccessible or poorly designed on Samsung Galaxy phones but looks great on an iPhone, this would be an accessibility issue. Other common accessibility issues arise when people need to adjust the font size on their phones in order to read the content. 

Customers are unlikely to continue to return to websites with poor User Experiences. In the digital age of modern business, your digital customer experience is one of the primary ways your brand differentiates itself from the competition. A good way to figure out how well your digital experiences function is to create a customer journey map

Customization

Modern consumers have gotten used to and have begun to expect personalized customer experiences. Highly customized digital experiences create rich customer interactions that drive brand awareness and loyalty. Organizations can leverage powerful tools like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to analyze large amounts of customer data to fine-tune and deliver personalized digital experiences. 

Personalized messaging can have a profound impact on content marketing efforts. If your brand can deliver the right message to the right person at the right time, you will convert more traffic into sales while also creating a rich User Experience that attracts more customers. Delivering content and digital experiences that resonate, delight, and engage your customers is a great way to create meaningful customer interactions that set your organization apart from the competition. 

Self-service

Modern consumers want the ability to solve their own problems and take control of their situation. Think about all of the mobile apps and websites that allow users to order food, make payments, schedule appointments, book hotel reservations, access critical information, and find answers to support questions. Self-service is the way of the future. 

Whether you have an eCommerce website or a mobile app, self-service features are an essential part of a great digital customer experience. The important thing that you need to keep in mind is that there is no one-size-fits-all self-service solution. Every website, app, and product offering are different. The best way to create, optimize, and maintain a great self-service feature is to listen to what your customers have to say. 

Customer feedback will help drive the evolution of your digital self-service features. The best way to proceed is to offer your users surveys about their self-service experiences. Find out how easy and effective your customers thought the self-service process was. Additionally, be sure you are monitoring the issues that are repeatedly presenting themselves within your self-service feature. Actively doing these two things will help you create an optimized self-service experience that pleases your customers. 

Ease 

Ease is very similar to usability, but it is different. When we use the term ease when talking about a digital customer experience, we are referring to the difficulty, or lack thereof, of completing a most desirable action such as buying a product, creating a user profile, etc. The more friction or complexity that a customer must mitigate in order to complete an order, the less likely they are to complete it or become a repeat customer. 

Friction is any aspect of your digital experience that slows down the customer journey. Optimizing your digital experiences to reduce friction requires you to have a good understanding of your customer journey, your customer touchpoints, and ultimately your customer pain points. A good User Experience flows seamlessly throughout the customer journey and requires minimal effort from your customers. 

Your organization can leverage customer feedback to identify pain points and friction in your digital customer experience. It is important to listen to what your users have to say because they are critical to your long-term success. 

Cohesion

If you want to create a seamless digital experience for your customers, you need your app development, website design, and other digital channels aligned in terms of design and branding. Your customer journey could potentially cross multiple channels, so it is imperative that you create a seamless experience across all of these customer interactions

In digital marketing, this cohesion is termed omnichannel. If you deliver a consistent omnichannel User Experience for your customers, your brand recognition, brand trust, and brand reputation will all improve significantly. There are some key points to keep in mind when taking an omnichannel approach. 

  • Ensure key functions are available across all channels.
  • Ensure customer interactions and actions taken in one channel are reflected across all channels.
  • Avoid promoting a single channel. Allow customers to choose the touchpoints they would like to use. 

Modern consumers use a variety of platforms to interact with brands. An omnichannel approach is essential for creating a seamless customer journey. When you are optimizing your various channels for customer experience, it is important to remember that certain channels will be more ideally suited for certain types of customer interactions than others. You should plan your customer experience optimizations accordingly. 

Final Thoughts

When it comes to creating valuable, rich digital experiences for your customers, it is important to listen carefully to your user feedback. There are a lot of opportunities to gain valuable insights from your customers. You can use these insights to create digital experiences that match and meet your customer’s expectations and needs. Remember, a digital experience strategy is a customer-needs-driven initiative. If you want to deliver a high-quality User Experience, you need to leverage technology to better address the desires of your customers.

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