As we approach the finals of the 2018 UK Digital Experience Awards, it’s worth asking what organisations can do to achieve Digital Customer Experience excellence.

Already, ‘digital’ permeates virtually every aspect of our personal lives, from social media interactions and online shopping to banking, entertainment, and travel. Now, digital interactions are becoming embedded in more and more organisational and customer facing processes too, so creating good Digital Experience is becoming increasingly important.

In order to do this, we need to understand just how blurred the line between physical and digital interactions is becoming. In the infancy of digital technology, it was easy to separate a digital interaction from a physical one. Someone sitting in front of their computer was, of course, purely digital. Conversely, visiting a store to make a purchase was strictly physical.

It’s not so straightforward now, with digital interactions either supplementing or replacing physical actions. And the blurred lines are even apparent in more traditionally manual or face-to-face industries that you might have thought would still favour the physical.

Clearly, this means that organisations across all industry sectors must make a far greater effort to ensure that customer interactions across all touchpoints are delivered with the same level of quality, the same branding and the same opportunities to delight customers along every step of their journey. And it’s essential that organisations that want to capture and create an end-to-end Customer Experience put in place a Digital Experience strategy that is embedded into wider CX programmes.

Of course, capturing more and more digital feedback from websites, customer service helplines, call centres, online chat functions, and social media – alongside customer satisfaction surveys – will place more customer data at their fingertips of organisations. It will also put CX teams under greater pressure to understand what data they are collecting, measuring and analysing in order to make better business decisions.

It is entirely logical therefore that organisations that want to understand and deliver an excellent Digital Experience should turn to developments in technology to help them optimise, prioritise, and support the entire process. We’ve highlighted the three most significant developments that we consider to be key:

Artificial Intelligence

There is a lot of noise about the rise of Artificial Intelligence, capturing the imagination of industry commentators, technologists and CX professionals alike. AI undoubtedly presents organisations with a great opportunity to capture more personal, immediate and detailed feedback and to crunch large volumes of data much faster than ever before.

However, there is still a long way to go before AI is perfected, moving beyond clever indexing and good search functionality to offer conversational interfaces capable of interpreting contextually-heavy problems. While AI can certainly help to streamline data collection and analysis, facilitating prediction and trend analysis, CX professionals will need to supervise and train the technology for some time yet.

Beacon and geolocation technology

Consumers increasingly expect to receive not only a personalised customer experience but a ‘frictionless’ one. They expect companies they do business with to know who they are, what they’ve bought and to work hard to retain their brand loyalty.

They also expect companies to think about what they might do and want in the future. Beacon and geolocation technology can trigger and track traffic to a store in response to online and offline ads, or send push notifications about special offers when customers are approaching a store or department. Seeking ‘in the moment’ feedback can also help brands to understand what customers are thinking, how their attitude in a given situation might affect their behaviour and ultimately the choices they make.

Facial recognition and emotion detection technology

The ability to capture even fleeting emotions through minute facial expression changes can be incredibly powerful for CX professionals. Emotions can not only reveal a person’s beliefs or attitude toward a brand but their propensity to act or buy.

Understanding and acting on emotion at the point of experience can therefore help organisations to inform and create tailored advertising, customer loyalty and other programmes. Combined with other data, such as past purchase history or survey feedback, emotion recognition can deliver an unprecedented level of insight into what impacts customer emotions. This can help organisations to better understand behaviour patterns and predict future consumer decision making and actions, driving improvements in products and services, processes and experiences, overall.

Of course, creating an excellent Digital Experience should not be about using technology for its own sake. It should be an enabler, helping organisations to focus on the customer as a human and individual by providing a more personal and interactive experience.

The success of a Digital Experience programme should therefore not be measured by how many tools and gadgets are being employed in the name of CX, but instead be measured by the ability to maximise the wealth of customer data that is already available, combined with new and evolving sources of digital insight, that allow organisations to ask less and act more.

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