Digital Customer Experience Strategy – Top Three Mistakes

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How many of you have interacted with financial and insurance institutions who seem to have forgotten the invention of the world wide web and applications design? In 2021, Major players like Oppenheimer, TD Bank, and almost every big insurance company on the S&P 500 offer the client experience of the 80s or 90s. Why? Because they have incomplete digital customer experience strategy.

What is Digital Customer Experience Strategy?

Digital Customer Experience Strategy is the first step to creating better digital experience for clients. Without it, organizations have no real plan on how funding for automation and digitalization of manual employee work can be allocated.

Without a plan, at best, organizations end up with siloed initiatives with various vendors (sometimes with duplicate offerings!). And no real impact on client experience.

Today, we share the three most common digital customer experience strategy mistakes. Let’s examine them to understand how to avoid the digital customer experience strategy pitfalls that threaten your successful digital transformation – and your customer relationships.

What is Digital Transformation?

Before we address the most common mistakes, let’s define what digital transformation really means. And how it connects to digital CX strategy.

Digital transformation is the process of looking at internal and external processes critically. Then automating as many processes as possible. This saves labor costs by using your talent more efficiently. It increases revenue by creating an EASIER, EFFORTLESS client experience.

Where Do You Start?

Digital Customer Experience Strategy is the product of your executives meeting several times to AGREE on the following pillars:

  1. The urgency necessary to automate your processes.
  2. The level of funding required to invest in completely transforming your employee and client experience.
  3. The measures of success and the time horizon of your digital transformation.
  4. The team in charge of completing the work.
  5. The governance of that program and cadence of collaboration meetings.
  6. The commitment from executives to remove roadblocks that arise during digital customer experience strategy implementation.

Now that we know what a Digital CX strategy is, let’s talk about the most common mistakes.

Mistake #1. Deferring Digital Customer Experience Strategy to Vendors

Most SaaS providers will say this is their biggest client experience challenge. They go in to help big brands digitize. Then, when they sit at the table with the leaders of the company who are supposed to provide strategic guidance, those leaders have nothing to say.

In other words, organizations often miss the step of creating their own digital customer experience strategy. Instead, they rush to bring in various technology providers to tell them what to do.

Or worse, they hand over implementation of their solutions without guidance on customization. Of course, that customization is what actually brings value to the end customers.

Take time to make your plan before you bring in technology providers. Think of technology vendors as tools to get the job done. Not as the job itself.

Remember, you must be the driver of your digital transformation. That means, BEFORE you meet with vendors, you need to know the employee and client problems you are solving with your digital CX strategy.

Mistake #2. Not Spending Enough Time Developing Digital Customer Experience Strategy

Often, we meet with brands who claim they have a digital customer experience strategy. However, when we ask them about their measures of success, they say, “we are still developing them.”

If you are still developing your measures of success, your executive teams are not aligned on the goals of the digitalization efforts. Your digital customer experience strategy is not complete. Consequently, it will not be implemented effectively.

When we were doing the self-service program in JetBlue Airways, we did not start working with our vendors until we spent many (painful) hours digging in with our data team into what metrics we could track and what we could not. This enabled us to tie the operational KPIs to the investments we were about to make. That’s how we were able to know the ROI of our program.

Take that time. I know it is painful. But, until you identify your measures of success, you are not ready to implement your strategy.

Mistake #3. Limiting Digital Customer Experience Strategy to a Single Product

In 2016, I went to one of my favorite Forrester Conferences. There, on stage I saw the woman that transformed CitiBank customer experience. Her name is Alice Milligan. At the time, in her Citi role, she was responsible for “making sure that Citi not only remains competitive but sets the standard” in customer experience.

The strategy she led included instilling customer-centric culture and executing cross-channel strategy. In other words, she helmed the build out of intuitively designed, digital customer experience for one of the CitiBank products.

The reason I mention Ms. Milligan is that, a year later, she was back on the same stage. This time, she spoke about expanding her program to other products. Today, I have both my personal and business banking with Citi. And I enjoy the results of her team’s work.

The transformation Ms. Milligan spearheaded could not have been possible if the funding for her work dried up after the single product success.

When you create a digital customer experience strategy, make sure you map out your client end to end journey, not just one single path. In their lifetime, your customers will mature. At any point of their life journey, they may use more than one product at the time. This does not apply only to financial services. It matters for the healthcare journey, too. After all, a patient meets not only with a primary physician, but also with specialists.

How to Avoid Common Mistakes

So how can you avoid these common digital customer experience strategy mistakes? Let’s return to the list of organizational pillars for a successful implementation of a digital customer experience strategy.

All six are necessary. Without the urgency, your digital strategy will become outdated by the time you implement it. If your funding is not sufficient, you lose the impact of a real transformation (and employee buy in).

Pay particular attention to training and other change management budget line items. Last, but not least, your executives’ engagement throughout the program will ensure the organizational focus needed for success throughout the years it will take to complete your strategy. Yes, you read right. It takes years, and the ROI expectations need to reflect that horizon.

Clearly, digital experience is not as simple as building an app or finding the right vendor. Complexity and commitments that underscore a successful strategy and pave the way for smooth transitions must be navigated intentionally. As always, feel free to reach out to us for help with your digital transformation and digital experience strategy.

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