The Five Biggest Challenges Enterprises Face in Digital Experience Optimization

Lauren Burgess
Written by Lauren Burgess
May 23, 2018

Start-ups have typically lead the way in digital experience innovation. As the smartphone became ubiquitous, the demand for smooth, mobile-friendly websites and applications skyrocketed.

Companies in their infancy had the opportunity to design for a mobile-first experience that emphasized simplified journeys, minimal friction, and instant gratification. In addition, new analytical technology made understanding customer experiences easier than ever. Among smaller companies, adoption was fast, and updates were responsive as a result.

For enterprises with decades or even centuries of history behind them and a solid track record in delivering what had long been regarded as the pinnacle of customer service, the impossibly fast move to digital came as a shock. Digital teams were quickly built out, but enterprises faced unique challenges when it came to transforming their online experiences.

Here are the five obstacles enterprises must overcome to undergo a digital transformation and begin delivering the kind of customer experiences required to stay at the top of the game in a hypercompetitive marketplace.

1. Aligning Teams

With enormous, often multinational organizations, entire departments or sections of the business can end up operating independently of each other. Each of them will have their own goals and objectives which can occasionally conflict with each other. Sometimes, they will even have the same goals but different metrics for success, leading to confusion.

This lack of alignment can prevent a company achieving its overarching goals.

For example, you might have both a technical department and a marketing department responsible for a website. The overall goal for both is to keep the website looking good and working hard. For the technical team, they consider their goals met if the website has few errors and minimal downtime. The marketing team however, are only considered successful if they can generate a certain number of leads.

If there’s a lack of communication between these departments, the marketing team won’t be able to get the required updates completed and will struggle to reach their goal.

In order to optimize digital experiences, it’s important to avoid siloed teams. Being hot on communication, having a clear and structured plan, and staying focused on the customer at all times can all help align departments across the business.

“Being hot on communication, having a clear and structured plan, and staying focused on the customer at all times can all help align departments across the business.”

2. Identifying Opportunities

There is no such thing as a “finished” website. Your customers’ needs and expectations are constantly in flux, so you need to always be optimizing for the best possible digital experience. This could include fixing technical issues, removing friction from customer journeys or simply delivering more valuable content at the right time. With an overwhelming number of factors that you could change, identifying the opportunities that can provide the greatest return on investment can prove challenging.

Again, individual teams and departments will have their own ideas about what the most important opportunities are. Your technical team might insist that JavaScript errors take precedence, but your sales team might be more concerned about the product information being up to date and accessible.

So, how can you identify the best opportunities?

You need to pick the right technology. This will help you monitor the performance of your site and help you track all your digital experience optimization efforts. Optimizing on instinct or stakeholder opinion alone will hold you back from reaching digital maturity.

digital experience intelligence platform like Decibel can help you see at a glance how you’re performing in key areas that affect experience like the amount of frustration or engagement people feel while on your site. It automatically flags up any anomalous sessions or errors and includes a suite of forensic tools that allow you to hone in on issues and analyze every aspect of your digital property. The areas causing the most frustration are your key opportunities for digital experience optimization.

“The areas of your website causing the most frustration for customers are your key opportunities for digital experience optimization.”

You should also take a close look at your customer journeys and see where people are falling off on the way to conversion. Performing some multivariate testing in these areas should help you find a configuration that retains more visitors as they meet site goals and move toward becoming customers.

3. Defining Metrics for Success

A big issue for many enterprises is that it has long been thought nearly impossible to quantify something as personal and ephemeral as digital experience. So much of what makes up a positive or negative experience, in any setting, is about emotions in that moment. Traditionally, the way businesses have gathered data on this is with surveys and questionnaires after the interaction. Through these methods you can gather a substantial amount of both quantitative and qualitative data but drawing conclusions from it remains challenging.

Surveys have many drawbacks, as we’ve explored on this blog before, but their main weakness is that they require the customer to actively respond. The fact is, people do not like taking surveys. They will rush through, abandon them half-way, use them to vent about your business on an unrelated topic and more.

72% of consumers report that surveys interfere with the experience of a website. This means that by asking for feedback, you could be annoying what might have been an otherwise happy customer. 80% of customers report abandoning a survey and 52% state that they would not spend more than three minutes on a feedback survey. All this means that the dataset from surveys tends to have low validity and insights are tough to extract and even harder to act on.

The best indicators of positive digital experiences are engaged interactions and minimal frustration, but you need a sophisticated piece of technology to really understand and quantify these as a performance metric. With Decibel’s digital experience intelligence platform, your website receives a digital experience score (DXS®) that reflects the quality of experiences on your site. It’s produced by combining your scores in navigation, engagement, frustration, technical functionality and form quality. Improving your score in any of these areas will bring up your overall DXS®.

DXS® is the very first quantitative metric for measuring digital experience, so it’s a great way of measuring the success of optimization efforts.

 4. Remaining Agile

When it comes to quickly making the changes required for optimizing experiences, smaller businesses have typically had the edge. With fewer decision makers and smaller departments, digital teams can create proposals, get approval and begin improvements much faster than enterprises which have regulatory compliance, lengthy funding cycles and the need for stakeholder buy-in to contend with.

This article from McKinsey has a great guide for businesses looking to undergo agile digital transformations. It identifies four key components that we’ll summarize below:

1. Autonomous and cross-functional teams

A small team of trusted individuals with a combination of skills can get more done than a siloed department. Ensure these agile teams have the permission and autonomy to do what’s needed to get the job done, and let them do it!

2. Flexible IT resources

Your IT infrastructure needs to be modular and flexible if it’s to produce the kind of technical changes needed to deliver exceptional digital experiences. The DevOps process for “rapidly building, testing, and releasing software and infrastructure improvement” can be a great approach to take.

3. A rapid-response management system

An agile operating model is about learning, testing, and experimenting at a fast pace. To do this effectively, you need to keep a close eye on data and use it to make educated decisions. You also need processes in place to pass rapid feedback between departments and prevent bottlenecks.

4. An agile, customer-centric culture

Strategies for agile digital experience optimization will struggle to take hold without a cultural shift. Leaders must demonstrate with their actions and decisions that experimentation, creativity and rapid improvements are necessary parts of digital transformation — even if it means accepting the occasional “failure” (we call it a learning opportunity).

 5. Internal Resistance

In 1976, pioneering computer scientist Grace Hopper responded to a question about the future of data processing with, “The most dangerous phrase in the English language is ‘We’ve always done it that way.’”

Grace, like every great optimizer, knew that innovation and improvement requires creativity and experimentation. If your staff are resistant to change and stuck in old patterns of working, creating remarkable digital experiences will be an uphill battle.

In combating internal resistance, your most important “weapon” is communication. Staff need to see the value in transformation and it’s your job to demonstrate that at every stage of the optimization process. Before you implement a plan for optimization or commit to a digital experience intelligence platform, share your ideas and get input from as many departments as possible. The more involved they feel with the decision, the more supportive they will be of the process.

Keep everyone in the loop with regular updates and be sure to celebrate your successes together. Emphasizing positive outcomes is essential for keeping everyone enthusiastic and engaged about the new focus on digital experiences.

We hope you’ve found this article helpful and feel ready to design your digital experience optimization strategy! If you would like to know more about how Decibel can support you in delivering remarkable customer experiences, get in touch for a demo from one our experts. Like the sound of it, but want to know more about what makes Decibel special? Download our ebook on the brand new DXS® by clicking the image below.

Topics: Digital Experience, Digital Transformation, DXS, User experience, ux
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