How to provide a five-star digital customer experience

Improving customer experience is a top priority for almost 70 per cent of organizations, but many find it challenging to achieve a five-star rating.

“Customer experience is everything because the real disrupters are the users,” said Bryan Whitmarsh, senior principal product manager with CA Technologies at a recent IT World Canada webinar. “They’re going to pick where they purchase based on their experience.”

However, an ITWC survey showed that organizations are having difficulties providing a seamless customer experience, measuring end-to-end performance and dealing with technical complexity.

To provide a five-star experience, it’s critical to be able to address these issues, said Whitmarsh. The webinar, which was sponsored by CA Technologies, provided advice on how to deliver a better customer experience in an omnichannel world.

What omnichannel really means

The channels for delivering applications are proliferating, adding to the problem of complexity, said Whitmarsh. As an example, he noted that there are expected to be 500 million wearables in use by 2020.

The term “omnichannel” is not only about being able to support all of these channels, but the ability to retain the context across them, said Whitmarsh. “There’s nothing more frustrating than starting a transaction on one device and finding out that if you switch to another, you have to start all over again.”

To win in this environment, Whitmarsh said that organizations need to understand what’s important to their users. He cited statistics from the Zogby Report showing that speed is a high priority for consumers who are unwilling to wait for slow load times. Ease of use and security were also identified as important for users. Thirty-eight per cent of mobile users say they’re frustrated by application security issues, he said.

The steps to five-star success

“Business intelligence can make you the hero,” said Whitmarsh.  “Getting the golden nuggets about the customer journey will tell you where to invest to get a five to one return versus what you get today.”

For organizations seeking to improve their customer experience ratings, collecting the data is the first step. Then the data has to be normalized in a central repository. By ensuring that all of the data correlates to the customer, rather than providing separate views of that customer for each channel. Finally, the data has to be analyzed to provide insights about the customer’s behaviour. “Traditionally, this has been done by running ad hoc reports,” said Whitmarsh. “But now, the tools can provide recommendations on how to improve.”

Whitmarsh said a good approach is to walk through the five “Ws”:

  • Who is using your applications?
  • Where and when are they using them?
  • What are they doing and what are your goals?
  • How can you improve their experience?

Understanding the answers to these questions will empower your organization in the omnichannel to create compelling personal experiences, said Whitmarsh. For example, it can allow the organization to do targeting based on geography or time of day and to provide more of what customers like, and less of what they don’t find valuable. “This is what builds customer loyalty,” said Whitmarsh.

“Gaining true business insights out of data will help your organization drive revenue, achieve customer satisfaction and retention. Those are the difference-makers that are going to separate you from the competition.”


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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Cindy Baker
Cindy Baker
Cindy Baker has over 20 years of experience in IT-related fields in the public and private sectors, as a lawyer and strategic advisor. She is a former broadcast journalist, currently working as a consultant, freelance writer and editor.

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