Over the past few years, more companies have discovered that strong customer experience (CX) is key to maintaining industry leadership in today’s Expectation Economy. Experience-driven businesses achieve 1.5x higher year-over-year growth than other companies in customer retention, repeat purchase rates, and customer lifetime value. They are also twice as likely to lead their peers in customer loyalty, according to a report from Adobe.
As a result, many companies have rushed to deploy assorted CX improvements just to have something, anything in place. But without an intentional strategy to meet your audience where they are – and informed by customers and employees themselves – these siloed solutions are not only falling short of consumers’ expectations, but they’re often actively undermining your brand’s reputation, retention, and revenue.
In today’s fast-paced consumer- and employee-driven market, the expectation has been set for consistent, proactive, predictive, and dependable interactions that transcend every channel, platform, and business function across each person’s entire journey with your brand. Cue the Total Experience.
What is Total Experience?
Total Experience (TX) is a business strategy that combines multi-experience (MX), customer experience (CX), employee experience (EX), and user experience (UX) to transform business outcomes. By removing the siloes between these elements, TX helps create exceptional experiences for every person who interacts with your brand – whether a customer, employee, or partner – no matter what channel(s) they use.
Designing and orchestrating exceptional Total Experiences takes time, resources, and investment. But with guidance from our TX framework, you can build a differentiated experience that pays for itself by enhancing employee efficiency and engagement, increasing customer happiness and retention, and establishing solid competitive advantage and financial results.
Ready to get serious about orchestrating your customer journey into a continuous, consistent brand experience?
The Five E’s of Building a Total Experience Strategy
Whether your business operates on a business-to-business or a business-to-consumer model, the same five elements are key to a winning Total Experience strategy.
Every experience decision starts with a 360-degree view of the customer and the employee. Avoid guessing here. Take the time to really understand your customers and how they perceive your brand. Define your current state, audit your current capabilities, and determine how, or even if, you’re delivering on your brand promise.
It is imperative that the information you assemble and utilize in this stage does not solely come from business intelligence. That’s risky. If you’re only talking to people close to your business processes, you’re getting a skewed picture of how your brand is truly perceived. To get insights that are going to be useful to this design process, ones that are going to fuel discussion, you must go straight to the customer. There are a handful of Voice of the Customer (VoC) tools we recommend to learn how, when, where, and why people interact with your brand, and for measuring satisfaction levels after they do.
Next, it’s time to understand how the business runs. Because no single person fully understands the entire end-to-end operating process, be sure to solicit input from all departments and levels within your organization through Voice of the Employee, Voice of Business, Voice of Market, and Voice of Process/Ops programs. By auditing and benchmarking where you are now, you’ll be better prepared to map, test, and refine the TX journey going forward.
Now that your organization has a shared understanding of the need, opportunity, and value for transformation, it’s time to ideate a scalable Total Experience that will simultaneously drive growth and reduce costs.
To help articulate your TX vision, use tools like persona development and customer journey mapping to visualize who your customers are and what the ideal experience with you looks like. The resulting blueprint should show the experience both from the perspective of the person receiving it (consumer) and from the person delivering it (employee or partner). On it, note where friction is being created. Whether it’s the inability of a customer to switch communication channels when navigating an issue or internal barriers between departments that results in duplicated efforts, it’s important to correct that during this stage. Just as important here is dropping in value creation adders that indicate “you know me” and “you value me” as a customer to encourage and reward loyalty.
The strength of your operating model – including the structure and allocation of people, processes, information, and technology – is critical to success during this process. This model, as well as the architecture of your organization, how you measure success, your financial model, and your branding, may all need to shift to best support your evolving TX strategy. These steps don’t all need to be taken overnight, but they do need to be planned for. Having a roadmap to transformation will help you prioritize and progress your TX journey in stages.
It’s finally time to turn all those TX plans into reality with strategic and careful orchestration. In this stage of the framework, you may be building new sales and service delivery models, acquiring new capabilities, and implementing an engine of design-thinking all working to create new value and eliminate friction across the enterprise or ecosystem.
To organize this program, it helps to think about this Execution in categories. Four that are often required include Sales/Service Experience, Operations Excellence, Digital Optimization, and Analytics & Modeling. This is not an exhaustive list, however. The categories you use should be based on the unique vision, blueprint, and transition roadmap you laid out in the previous step.
Every category – and every initiative within those categories – should drive measurable results for your customers, employees, and/or business, and tie back to your overarching brand promise and experience strategy. If it doesn’t, rethink whether it deserves priority in this first iteration of your Total Experience transformation
With the first generation of your Total Experience Transformation now deployed, the next move is the same as your first: Listen. Using your go-to VoC and VoE tools, in addition to business intelligence, determine how well the experience is working.
Are customers still experiencing pain points? What is the conversion rate for website visitors, and can it be improved? What tasks on the backend can be streamlined? What questions or concerns are constantly being raised by consumers or staff? Are your systems speaking to each other so you’re tapping into the full value of your analytics? Is your business growing with scale and stability?
By asking these questions, you can help ensure the experience is exactly what people need it to be – not just want leadership wants it to be. A bonus is that consistently and clearly engaging your number one business assets (your customers and employees), you’re furthering build satisfaction, loyalty, and, in turn, revenue.
There is no end date for your Total Experience strategy. As technology changes and behaviors shift, you will need to adapt the experience to continue to meet your customers’ and employees’ evolving expectations and needs. The feedback you gather during the Engage stage will inform and guide this continuous progression.
Once you have a foundational Total Experience and have captured your baseline results, you can also begin implementing the next generation of TX improvements you dreamed up in the earlier stages. Pilot new strategies, explore new platforms, or test innovative ways of rewarding returning customers and efficient, effective, and customer-centric employees. You can always return to your baseline if needed. Continually evolving your Total Experience shows you’re listening and learning – and goes a long way toward engaging and delighting everyone who interacts with your brand.
Develop Your Total Experience Strategy with Avtex
Building an end-to-end experience that weaves together the journeys of every customer, employee, user, and partner can easily get overwhelming. It’s why so many brands would rather jump straight to “Execute” to put into practice what they think they know their people want. But just like building a house, your structure is not likely to stand straight (or at all) if you don’t have an accurate blueprint to guide you. By taking a short amount of time to listen, plan, and test now, you’ll not only build an experience that meets expectations – but you’ll also save a lot of time, funds, and frustration in the process. And Avtex can help.
With our innovative design, orchestration, and consultation services, Avtex helps brands transform their customer experiences into the Total Experiences that customers and employees now expect. While walking with you step-by-step through this framework, we can identify opportunities and gaps in your current customer and employee experiences and facilitate more impactful engagement at every touchpoint – all to build more lasting and impactful business outcomes.