Leo McCloskey, Chief Customer Officer for Actual Experience, on the importance of digital quality experience for the success of businesses.
Global acceptance of digital commerce, cloud, managed, and networked services and the resultant need to rapidly conduct business across a constantly changing landscape of providers, applications, and services has businesses scrambling to keep up.
Businesses are transforming into smart users of connected devices, applications and technologies and yet the metrics that are used to monitor performance of call centers and retail outlets are not being captured for on-line systems and automated services that perform those same functions.
As each new service or application is launched, monitoring and management solutions are added to ensure the quality of the digital service, and while that is absolutely necessary, there are visibility gaps being created between the experience that the user sees and the infrastructure that these systems affect. That gap is preventing the capture of important digital experience metrics and the business is being adversely affected.
Attempts to align the views from individual monitoring systems to understand the end-to-end performance and quality of digital services only widen the visibility gap and create blind spots that become more prominent and more difficult to minimize as more of the business goes digital. The tools available to track and improve the health of the underlying infrastructure and services are critical, but those tools are meant to manage and improve the digital experience – not measure it.
The measure of end-to-end performance of networked systems for customers, employees, and partners is known as digital experience quality. Understanding the quality of a digital experience can improve employee productivity, help IT solve problems faster, and keep customers from leaving.
You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know
Businesses are awash with data; yet measuring digital experience quality remains difficult. Executives at every level are investigating and investing in strategies to improve access to and analysis of this data, yet the return on that investment remains elusive.
Business leaders overwhelmingly believe that digital experience quality is important to their customers and employees, yet only 22% believe they are actually delivering a consistent experience.
Based on a survey of 403 business leaders conducted for Actual Experience, the strategic focus for many companies looking to understand and improve the quality of the digital services they use and provide includes three things.
57% Data and analytics – More than a trend, businesses of all types are embracing the possibilities created by complex analysis of large quantities of data. When it comes to managing the applications and infrastructure used by customers and employees, the business is only as responsive as the data allows. Having the right metrics and analytics in place to support decision making is a top priority for executives as they determine budgets and identify priorities for the business.
51% Quality – If the systems don’t work, the business doesn’t work. Every hour of every day there are critical connections with suppliers, customers, partners, and employees that depend on the quality of the applications, systems, and networks being used. And many of those applications, systems, and networks reside outside the business. Top priorities are having digital interactions that work consistently well, combined with the ability to make continuous quality improvements.
42% Culture – Understanding the end-to-end experience is only possible when the whole business is joined up and focused on customer and user experience. Creating that culture starts at the top, but executing on that culture requires reliable and capable management systems to deliver an end-to-end view of the digital interactions that support daily operations. While 78% of C-level executives believe they are responsible for digital quality, less than half believe they can identify the specific quality issues that need to be improved.
While core functionality may be solid, the ability to navigate the visibility gaps between management systems and create a seamless end-to-end view of what users are experiencing is missing. Metrics that describe the performance of each component of the user transaction are valuable, but without a reliable measure from the user’s point-of-view, the picture is fragmented and far from clear.
Improving Business Outcomes
When serving customers, executives want the experience to be fast, reliable, and frictionless. Measuring and analyzing all the pieces of the customer or user journey is a daunting task. There are numerous connections to dozens of things that can go wrong all along the way. At any given time, a transaction can be disrupted by a wide variety of factors that might be a one-time occurrence or an indication of a larger problem. How do you know?
Establishing a digital user and executing a process the way they would, constructs an outside-in, end-to-end measurement of what happened, when, and whether it matters. Doing this for multiple processes enables rapid response to problems and, over time, measuring digital experience quality reveals performance bottlenecks that show where technology investment would add the most business value.
Something as minor as spotting a slow responding timekeeping system can improve productivity and reduce the frustration of employees who should have more important things to do. Improving the systems used by those closest to the customer ultimately improves the customer experience as well.
From the first customer inquiry to the final delivery of products and services, there are multiple systems and providers that make up the digital experience. Understanding the view from the outside-in for every type of user is digital quality experience and that measurement is critical to your business and your brand.