Digital experience lessons from the past year were front and center at Medallia Experience 21. With the majority of customers and brands interacting online, many of Experience 21’s speakers paid particularly close attention to the pivotal lessons that came out of those digital experiences. From shifting in-person operations online in a pinch, to transforming existing digital experiences amid rising customer expectations, to combining digital and physical experiences to meet customers where they want, brands learned more than ever about engaging customers online.
And now that 75% of customers who report using digital channels for the first time say they plan to keep doing so even after things return to “normal,” it’s clear the rise of digital experiences will shape customer engagements for years to come. And, those organizations that really hone in on understanding the digital experience they provide to customers will be able to successfully deliver an end-to-end experience that drives results.
In case you missed the live event, couldn’t attend every virtual session, or want to catch up on all things digital, this blog covers essential digital experience lessons highlighted at Medallia Experience 21.
#1 Find Inspiration From Other Industries
A simple yet often overlooked way to transform digital experiences comes by looking to leaders outside of your own industry. As spotlighted by Medallia’s industry experts Toni Land and Rich Schwartz, healthcare and life sciences organizations did just that as they faced an unprecedented public health crisis spurred by COVID-19.
With public safety and social distancing precautions creating new barriers around accessibility, hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies had no choice but to adopt a digital-first mindset about patient experience. Inspired by omnichannel initiatives across forward-thinking industries like retail, hospitality, and food service, healthcare and life sciences reimagined their services online.
- Hospitals doubled down on websites, apps, and SMS messaging to schedule appointments, manage in-person patient queues and update patients on services.
- Clinics relied on telehealth video and phone calls along with SMS messaging to provide specialized and private patient care in a safe virtual setting.
- Pharmacies leaned on IoT capabilities and SMS messaging for curbside and delivery methods to create contactless medication pickups.
With a bit of inspiration, the healthcare and life sciences industries heroically transformed patient care through seamless digital experiences, all while adapting to the pressures of the pandemic.
#2 Invest in Perfecting ‘Phygital’ Experiences
It’s time to stop thinking about physical and digital experiences in black and white. They’ve become completely intertwined as “phygital” experiences. And with over a year’s worth of social distancing and public health guidelines placing the utmost importance on limited face-to-face interactions, phygital experiences have become standard.
Mastering phygital experiences requires brands to reimagine how they engage and transact with customers via website, app, SMS, IoT, and more. In his session around phygital experiences and omnichannel engagement, Cory Voglesonger, CTO, Aaron’s (a national rent-to-own furniture retailer) emphasizes you must “engage in the channel customers want to engage with you.” That’s why Aaron’s streamlined in-person shopping by shifting furniture catalogs and leasing applications online. Customers could select and apply for a new couch or table set online to limit in-store traffic during the pandemic.
Other instances of phygital experiences include curbside pick-up and delivery, which are now commonplace in industries like retail, food service, life sciences, automotive, and more. And phygital experiences are here to stay as 89% of customers say they’ll continue using curbside or delivery post-pandemic.
#3 Start Measuring Unsolicited Digital Feedback
Are you capturing feedback from every customer or just those who engage? Truth is, not everyone who visits your website or app engages directly by providing feedback. Addressing this reality in his opening keynote, Medallia CEO Leslie Stretch highlights that all too often “we take actions for the majority based on the views of the vocal minority. We accept that the majority is silent, when in reality we’re just not listening.” And, he said that means we’re not truly understanding our customers’ digital footprint. The time has come for brands to start measuring unsolicited digital feedback if they want to improve every digital experience.
As websites and apps continue to act as virtual storefronts for nearly every brand, turning to digital experience analytics to capture that unsolicited feedback is all-but mandatory. Built to measure, quantify, and investigate every single web and app experience, digital experience analytics have become the complement to traditional voice of customer tools. With clear-cut metrics around experience quality, insights around patterns of frustration and engagement, along with a wide swath of tools to investigate, digital experience analytics give the silent majority a voice around their experiences on websites and apps.
Combining this unsolicited digital feedback with direct omnichannel feedback provides you a clear view into experience. And in her product vision session, Medallia’s EVP and Chief Product Officer Sarika Khanna emphasized that “understanding the behavior of this silent majority, in addition to the vocal minority that provides direct feedback, is instrumental in improving customer experiences.”
#4 Prioritize Automation for Successful Digital Transformation
As websites and apps welcome more and more visitors every day with different goals, brands have been hard-pressed to elevate those experiences. But digital transformation must be data-driven with the right insights informing the right decisions at the right time and place. That’s where automation plays its part.
Sharing her own digital transformation story in a live session, Jessica Epley, Digital Marketing Specialist, CommScope, points to automation as a pivotal factor when merging three websites with different purposes into a single destination. Catering to several site audiences including businesses, technical operators, partners, customers, and employees, automated insight around feedback and reporting for every journey became non-negotiable. With automated alerts around experience issues and a digital experience score measuring every interaction, CommScope saved resolution teams five hours per week.
Speaking to these types of efforts in his opening keynote, Medallia’s Stretch highlighted that to nail digital transformation you must “build personal connections with customers and solve complex challenges while letting technology simplify processes and automate the mundane.”
#5 Incorporate Video Into Feedback Loops
There’s a seemingly endless list of ways to engage with customers online, but video is an emerging star of the show. Video feedback offers a more personal and dynamic way for customers to share their stories and experiences –– whether it’s a passionate review, a detailed suggestion, or a demonstrated issue. Creating the opportunity for focus group-like feedback, video empowers customers with a different way to engage.
While collecting feedback with surveys at various touchpoints in the online journey appeals to more customers, video feedback is perfect for those with more to say. Unlike traditional survey data, video showcases a customer’s emotion, tone, expressions, and body language. It’s like a face-to-face conversation with your biggest fans and critics. Touching on his own experience on implementing video feedback loops, Tom Audette, Senior Marketing Director at Renewal by Andersen, noted that “it boils down to how serious you are about listening to your customer.” And Audette’s colleague Adam May, Senior Communications Manager, added that it just “depends on how your customers like to communicate.”
Audette said that “hearing the voice of the customers in their own voice is truly inspiring.” It’s best to make video feedback optional where possible and fine-tune its application based on how customers use it.
For more digital experience lessons, watch these 4 sessions:
You can watch more recorded sessions of Experience 21 on demand.
This article previously appeared on medallia.com.
Liam is a content marketing specialist. He supports Medallia’s steadfast thought leadership commitments to experience management by acting as a content evangelist.