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"Covid has given us
a glimpse into the future where digital channels are a predominant part of every experience"
30 September, 2020

This week we sat down with independent management consultant, Freya Elliott an experienced CX specialist helping business and government service providers to become more innovative by using Human Centred Design tools and techniques. Freya is committed to helping organisations build amazing customer experiences and to change their business culture to become more customer centric.

Q. What does delivering a digital experience mean?

A. Digital experience is simply the experience a customer has with your business through digital channels. There is no doubt digital is here to stay with the average person being on their phones 5 hours a day. Digital is not just being adopted by a certain segment of customers (like millennials) it is pervasive in all customer segments.

Covid has given us a glimpse into the future where digital channels are a predominant part of every experience. The need to go contactless has accelerated the change in customer behaviour and this is unlikely to change back. This has exposed businesses that have been slow to build digital capabilities

Q. What is the difference between a good and bad digital experience for customers and clients?

A. Like an experience, a digital experience is one that delivers a good service. It needs to be successful (you need to be able to do what you want to do) it needs to be easy (the effort is reasonable and you don't leave me waiting) and it needs to leave you feeling happy (appreciated and recognised). Good digital experiences don't happen by accident, they are typically designed for the channel the service is being delivered through and well customer tested.

A bad digital experience is where a company has taken an offline experience and digitised it. For example, a website that has digitised their product catalogue on their website or a company that has taken a complex form or process and minimised it onto a small screen, apps developed for no reason (I read some Gartner research that found that only 1 in every 10,000 apps developed are successful- that is a staggering amount of wasted time, money and effort)

Q. What are your tips for small to medium sized businesses wanting to incorporate a digital experience?

A. Don't start by choosing the technology. Start by understanding what your customers need. This is not always what they say they want but looking for what needs are being unmet. Good customer research should be the start of any digital investment.

Design Thinking tools like customer journey mapping and personas are useful for understanding where a digital experience will work for your customers and your business.

I really support the ONE IN / ALL IN challenge because it gives small to medium businesses access to the innovation tools big businesses like Amazon and Google have been using to think through these challenges. Innovation often will have an impact to all parts of your business including partnerships, and business models as well as underperforming parts of the business that are no longer needed.

Q. What does the future of the digital experience look like?

A. The future looks like more human digital channels. Things like chatbots and augmented reality make interacting with digital support in more human-like ways. More advanced analytics allows businesses to collect data, process it and turn it into insight in near real time. Artificial Intelligence (AI) will handle the technical parts of the interaction freeing up humans to support customers.

Future experiences will be hyper personalised as customers are more likely to buy from businesses that know their name and make recommendations based on their purchase history. Humans also hate to wait, so companies that have fast resolution of issues and delivery of experiences will differentiate.

Q. Do you consider a digital experience necessary for all businesses and why?

A. I think this is a great question. My husband is a builder and even though there will be digital disruption in his industry (i.e. it is possible to 3D print a house and there is software that can estimate materials needed to build something down to the last nail) building is predominantly a "relationship" business and therefore, I think digital will be part of his business. However, for businesses that are more "commoditised" (products competing against others with similar products) investing in digital is far more necessary and urgent. Even more so in this COVID climat