Is Your Business Ready for a Digital Transformation?

Lauren Burgess
Written by Lauren Burgess
April 12, 2018

Imagine you’re standing in a clothes store looking for a pair of black jeans. There seems to be a denim section at the back, so you try to walk over. Every time you think you’ve found a route, you discover it’s been blocked off with rails of t-shirts or wet floor signs. Finally, after wandering around the maze of the store, you arrive at the denim section — but none of the black jeans have size labels. You spot a customer assistant and try to get her attention to ask for help, but she’s completely unresponsive. Exasperated and appalled at the level of service, you storm out of the store empty handed.

Now that’s a shockingly poor customer experience. You’ve likely never had an in-store experience quite that bad (and if you have, I hope you never went back!) but it’s a surprisingly common situation to find yourself in when attempting to buy something or make an inquiry online.

Why Digital Experiences Need to Change

Unintuitive navigation, missing information, and broken links and buttons all contribute to an experience much like the one I just asked you to imagine. The only difference is that it’s done through a screen.

With almost every market being hyper-competitive and with so many offering very similar products or services, providing an exceptional customer experience is one of the only ways to win the hearts of your customers and rise to the top of the pack. With a complete digital experience transformation, even companies that currently take a scattershot approach to experience optimization can overcome their challenges and become a market leader.

Before you can undergo transformation, you need to take stock of where you are now and discover your place in the Digital Experience Maturity Curve.

What is the Digital Experience Maturity Curve?

The Digital Experience Maturity Curve plots companies according to the level of sophistication they have in measuring and improving digital experiences. It’s broken into five distinct phases, ranging from companies that are performing minimal analysis of customer experience and working in isolated teams, to those with in-depth insight and total business alignment.

The further along a business is on the curve, the more they know about their customers’ experiences and the more agile they can be with necessary improvements. A company in the final phase analyses experiences in real time, anticipating their customers’ needs and proactively intervening when things go wrong.

Your company’s digital experience maturity is based on four factors: the kind of customer data you collect, how aligned the business is around this data, stakeholder buy-in, and your dominant optimization philosophy.

To see the complete breakdown of how these criteria correspond to each phase, check out the full, detailed table here. You can also find out where your company sits on the curve by taking this quick and easy quiz.

What Does a Business Look Like in Each Phase?

Phase 0: Descriptive Reporting

In phase 0, customer experience insight is in its infancy. Companies may collect some surface analytical data such as page views and bounce rates, but the information they have isn’t rich enough to facilitate effective change. Any optimization done is largely due to stakeholder opinion and the lack of a dedicated data analytics team means that results aren’t properly monitored or measured.

Phase 1: Quantitative Silos

A company in this phase acknowledges the value of analytics and dedicates an individual or team to unpack insights. Data tends to be quantitative, but a larger number of metrics provides a general overview of user behavior. In addition to tracking page views, session duration, bounce rate, etc. they may also be using tools such as   to judge the performance of specific elements on a page.

Though such companies have a good grasp on what their customers are doing, they’re unable to understand their motivations or state of mind. In an attempt to increase conversions, they focus on driving traffic to the website or app with expensive advertising, rather than optimizing the digital experience.

Phase 2: Qualitative Debates

In this phase, stakeholders acknowledge the value of providing seamless digital experiences, but digital teams struggle to marry quantitative and qualitative insights to fully support an effective optimization plan.

Quantitative metrics are now supplemented with richer data in the form of direct customer feedback, session replays and user testing, though these are from a much smaller, and therefore less representative, sample size. Self-reported data in the form of customer surveys can also skew results.

Companies struggle to find the resources to unpack insights and any improvements are slow to identify and implement with siloed departments.

Phase 3: Diagnostic Alignment

In phase 3, companies measure qualitative insights at a quantitative scale. Using sophisticated platforms capable of utilizing data science, trends and patterns in customer behavior can be identified.

“reads” customer behavior like multi-clicking, bird’s nest behavior and more to identify frustrated individuals. By analyzing the elements and processes causing frustration, improvements can be made to increase engagement and reduce friction in the customer journey.

In this phase of digital experience maturity, stakeholders are completely behind optimization initiatives and a centralized dataset unifies departments, meaning data analysts are no longer working in isolation. The automation of qualitative data processing also means teams have more time to focus on implementing change.

and based on digital experiences, as opposed to purely on conversions.

Phase 4: Real-time Optimization

Though phase 3 is mostly an ideal phase and an aspirational one for many, how can forward-thinking companies progress and future-proof their businesses in such a competitive landscape? The key is intervening in negative digital experiences as they occur, rather than relying on historical insights.

One example of what this might look like is the introduction of tailored messaging to help ease frustration as soon as multi-click behavior is registered by your system. This technology is certainly not far away, so it’s important for businesses to take full advantage of existing digital experience analysis platforms to ensure they’re ready when it becomes available.

Where Can I Find More Information?

We hope this post has introduced you to the idea of digital experience maturity, and that you now feel more confident in identifying your position in the curve. To make it even easier, use our interactive quiz. For further details on each phase and what you need to progress, click the image below to read our complete eBook. It’s packed full of extra insights and practical examples from companies that have successfully undergone a digital experience transformation.

Topics: Customer Experience, Data, Digital Experience
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