Category: Digital Experience Management

Interactive Bots Leverage Machine Learning to Provide Progressively Better Digital Experiences

Posted by on January 22, 2018

ai-machine-learning

Artificial intelligence has been floating around as a topic since the 1950s, so why it is suddenly coming to prominence in the language of marketers? Massive companies such as Microsoft, IBM, Apple, Facebook and Google’s parent Alphabet are making significant investments in the field in the hopes of garnering the additional market share promised by more intelligent user interactions. While messenger bots are still in their infancy, marketers everywhere are starry-eyed with the potential of offering instant self-service to customers in a way that feels very customized — and might even result in larger purchases and more consistent interactions. Are these automated systems a hit or a miss in the eyes of consumers? That all may depend on how well systems are integrated and the bots are programmed.

Types of Artificial Intelligence

Many of us are familiar with AI from hearing about chess matches between human masters and computers, as computers attempted to anticipate our next action. After years stuck in labs at MIT and Stanford, the field of artificial intelligence began to branch to natural language, with computers attempting to recreate the way humans select language to be used in a more conversational tone.

Machine learning is a particular type of AI that involves providing a computer with a vast quantity of data, and asking for predictions based on new data. As computers continue to aggregate information, this process becomes much more instinctive for machines. Another type of artificial intelligence involves programming artificial neural networks, an advanced concept that requires multiple layers of features in order to make better predictions. Machine learning that goes to this level is considered deep learning and it can require a high level of resources to execute it effectively.

Data-based Learning

The timeline for useful AI has accelerated in recent years, with Google and others making leaps in the field by feeding millions of images into a complex neural network, initially programming it to recognize cats within an image. From this breakthrough, Google has been a continued leader in AI by leveraging the functionality to bring enhancements to everything from Gmail to Street View and Google Translate. Google’s research scientists help fan the flame of AI interest by regularly publishing papers on their learnings, which in turn encourages others to continue their work in the field.

Amazon is another top organization utilizing AI in both their distribution center and on their website for enhanced recommendations. Consumers may not realize it, but Amazon’s Alexa uses the data from the millions of daily interactions to continue learning and improving both speech and intuitive customer recommendations.

The Rise of the Chatbots

The focus on AI as a marketing tactic is relatively new, and the explosion of chatbots in the last several years bears out the value that organizations are seeing as customers begin to record positive interactions. Most companies are still in the trial and error stage, but others are leveraging technology that is more mature. For example, the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas hotel now “employs” an AI named Rose who interacts with hundreds of customers on a daily basis via text message — even tossing in kiss emojis when the situation demands. This sassy robotic lady helps extend the brand with customers while quickly solving everyday challenges such as concierge and housekeeping duties.

These chatbots appeal to individuals who are already using Facebook messenger or other programs such as WhatsApp to chat with friends, as they more seamlessly integrate to the tasks that customers need. Facebook now boasts over 100,000 bots that are actively chatting with customers and the continued innovation helps drive market interest and adoption. While interesting for basic needs where the conversation is unlikely to branch, AI is still in its infancy and many organizations are simply in beta testing or playing with chatbots instead of relying on them to perform critical business functions.

Integrating Chatbots with Your DXP or CMS Platform

Chatbots are not only exceptionally cool, but they can also integrate with your Digital Experience Platform (DXP) or website Content Management System (CMS) to deliver the ultimate in personalized experiences. This is especially true of organizations with an eCommerce component, as businesses are seeing double-digit sales and conversion rate improvements from chatbots versus social ads, for instance.

It’s important that chatbots are not treated as a siloed part of your marketing strategy, but instead are fully integrated into the overall experience. Chatbots are another channel for the dissemination of information, and should be fully integrated just as your email marketing and SMS messaging channels are. This is where a thorough knowledge of structured content comes into play. Instead of creating a separate grouping of content for your chatbot, a skilled partner will help you understand how to leverage the content you’re already creating for this fascinating new distribution channel.

Better Experiences?

There may still be some question about whether or not the chatbots offer a truly improved customer experience as opposed to working with a human customer service representative, for example. While chatbots are still relatively limited, they are able to quickly offer status updates, provide balances, let you know of special offers, detail which newsletters you wish to sign up for and complete purchases. As app downloads continue to decline and mobile-first websites grow in prominence, bots are an opportunity to reach customers where they already are: Facebook Messenger with 1 billion users per month, SMS texts and programs such as What’sApp, Slack and Kik. Chatbots do provide the one thing that it can be difficult to deliver in human-to-human interactions: personalization at scale.

 

Digital Experience Platform Trends in 2018

Posted by on January 02, 2018

2018-dxp-trends

The digital experience has changed a lot throughout 2017 and it’s going to continue growing and expanding in 2018. Here are just a few of the trends that companies can expect — and that they should consider following.

The Digital Experience Will Become More Important

Digital Experience Platforms (DXP) are no longer optional, especially for large companies and companies with broad demographic reach. Once only seen in the largest of corporations, digital experience platforms are now filtering down to small-to-midsized businesses that need to remain competitive within their market spaces.

Throughout the last few years, user experience and customer journeys have become key. But many companies have not yet moved over to a unified digital experience. Digital experience platforms are going to become more popular and more important, as businesses work towards developing their strategies and making use of the large volumes of data they have collected.

An Increased Focus on Micro-Interactions

Micro-interactions make it easier to track buyers across their journey. By incentivizing customer progress and breaking up the journey into a multitude of small steps, an organization can better control the path that a customer travels. Smaller, incentivized steps make customers more likely to continue on the journey, in addition to making it easier to determine when customers lose interest and fail to convert.

Just a few years ago, scrolling “one page” displays became a popular method of delivering content media, as companies found that customers were compelled to continue their journey as long as new content was readily accessible. Similarly, micro-interactions feed a customer constant feedback regarding their interactions, thereby promoting continued interaction and avoiding situations in which the customer might have to wait.

Omni-Channel Consolidation

In order to optimize their processes, businesses need to consolidate their data. Companies can no longer track the multitude of different platforms and services their customers may use to interact with them. Consequently, omni-channel consolidation is going to become more popular, with as-a-service consolidation tools paving the path.

Subscription-based, cloud-based channel consolidation tools make it easier for organizations to manage all of their interactions with their customers, rather than seeing their interactions on a granular, per-platform basis. This gives a fuller picture of customer behavior, which leads to sharper, more accurate analytic data.

Agile Product and Service Development

Companies are going to need to pivot faster in 2018. In order to adjust their customer experience, they’ll also need to adjust their products and services in a rapid-fire way. Rather than a traditional, iterative production work-cycle, companies are going to find themselves balancing a lot of moving parts, constantly testing, improving, and optimizing their solutions.

This will create further need for advanced project management and data management suites, as companies are going to have to track not only the changes that they make to their environment and services, but also the results of these changes. Companies are going to have to become ready and willing to immediately respond to customer needs, creating not only responsive platforms but responsive cultures.

“Fog” Computing Will Give Rise to “Fog” Data

On the periphery of every network today are now Internet of Things devices. Not only are smartphones and tablets connected to networks, but so are televisions, coffee pots, and thermostats. These Internet of Things devices are going to broaden and expand in 2018, including wearable devices and augmented reality devices.

“Fog” computing is the term given to computing on these IoT devices, but these IoT devices will lead to something more interesting: fog data. Customers will be able to interface with a number of companies on their smart devices, and these companies will be able to transition the customer experience not only to the fog, but also the cloud.

Smart watches and augmented reality glasses will both represent opportunities for companies to continue to engage their customers, ushering in a new era of responsive devices. And just as companies today can take advantage of special phone features (such as native alerts), these IoT devices will come with additional functionality.

Overall, it’s all going to be about the data. Getting more data, processing it, and consolidating it — all to create a better user experience from start to finish.

DXP Series, Part III: DXP and Data-Driven Decision-Making

Posted by on December 06, 2017

Business team meeting analysis financial chart together at cafe.

Think about how you make important business decisions. Decision-making begins at the point where intuition takes over from analyzing the data.  If your data analysis carries far less weight than intuition, your decision process may not be taking full advantage of available data.

If so, you are not alone. Bi-Survey.com surveyed over 720 businesses. The survey found that 58 percent of respondents based about half of their regular business decisions “on gut feel or experience.” On the other hand, over 67 percent of those businesses “highly valued” information for decision-making, and 61 percent considered information “as an asset.”

The survey showed that when businesses were not using information as the basis for decision-making, it was because the information was not available or reliable. They were either not collecting it or were not using what they had.

KPIs are there, but not the data to read them

Another significant finding involved the role of key performance indicators. There is an important connection between KPIs and the data that measure and drive them. Here is where another disconnect stood out like a beacon: Nearly 80 percent of the companies had defined and standard sets of KPIs, but only 36 percent were using them “pervasively across the organization.”

So there was an obvious disconnect between valuing the information and a willingness to use it. In this post we shall address that contradiction and explore ways to close the gap between valuing the data and using it for data-driven decisions.

How DXP leverages data analytics

The road to data-driven decisions must go through data analytics.  In a previous blog, we discussed how data analytics and other tools plug into the realm of DXP. Data analytics are what help you find meaning in the data you generate and collect.

Those meanings are what drive the decisions and strategies that focus on efficiency and excellent customer service. In terms of business decisions, the ones based on verifiable and quality data are the most beneficial to the business. They are data-driven.

So, data-driven decision management is a way to gain advantage over competitors. One MIT study found that companies who stressed data-based decisions achieved productivity and profit increases of 4% and 6%, respectively.

Two “how-tos” to get on the road to data-driven decision management

#1. How to head towards a data-driven business culture (and benefit from it)

The survey showed that respondents were operating at half capacity when it came to using data-driven decision methods. To unlock the process as well as the data, businesses need to do the following:

  • Focus on and improve data quality.
  • Ease and lower the cost of information access. Break down those proprietary silos and use the best data-extraction tools available.
  • Improve the way the organization presents its information. There are many outstanding presentation products on the market.
  • Make the information easier to find, and speed up the process where users can access the information.
  • Get senior management on board and aware of the value of business intelligence and data-based decision making. Promote a culture of collaborative decision-making.

#2. How to improve internal data management

Data governance (where the data comes from, who collects and controls it) is a major obstacle to taking advantage of data-driven decision benefits. Survey recommendations were that companies should take the following steps:

1. Build an IT architecture that is agile and which can integrate the growing number of data sources required for decision-making. Plug into external big-data sources and start harvesting them.

2. Look for ways to break down barriers to promote cross-departmental cooperation and data alignment. A business intelligence competency center (BICC) can play a major role in achieving that goal.

3. Re-define and use KPIs across the organization and align those measures of success with a focus on data governance.

A strategy for applying data-based decision-making

Bernard Marr in his Forbes online piece, provides the following suggestions for any business to for applying data to decision making:

1. Start simply.

To overcome the overload of big data and its endless possibilities, design a simplified strategy. Cut to what your business is looking to achieve.  Rather than starting with the data you need, start with what your business goals are.

2. Focus on the important.

Concentrate on the business areas that are most important to achieving the foregoing strategy. “For most businesses,” says Marr, “the customer, finance, and operations areas are key ones to look at.”

3. Identify the unanswered questions.

Determine which questions you need to answer to achieve the above focus. Marr points out that when you move from “collect everything just in case” to “collect and measure x and y to answer question z,” you can massively reduce your cost and stress levels.

4. Zero in on the data that is best for you.

Find the ideal data for you: the data that will answer the most important questions and fulfill your strategic objectives. Marr stresses that no type of data is more valuable or inherently better than any other type.

5. Take a look at the data you already have.

Your internal data is everything your business currently has or can access. You are probably sitting on much of the information you know you need. If the data has not been collected, put a data collection system in place or go for external resources.

6. Make sure the costs and effort are justified.

Marr suggests treating data like any other business investment. To justify the cost and effort, you need to demonstrate that the data has value to your long-term business strategy. It is crucial to focus only on the data you need. If the costs outweigh the benefits, look for alternative data sources.

7. Set up the processes and put the people in place to gather and collect the data.

You may be subscribing to or buying access to a data set that is ready to analyze, in which case your data collection efforts are easier. However, most data projects require some data collection to get them moving.

8. Analyze the data to get meaningful and useful business insights.

To extract those insights, you need to plug into the analytics platforms that show you something new. Look for platforms that squeeze out the reports, analysis, and switchboard displays that tell you what you need to know.

9. Show your insights to the right people at the right time.

Do your data presentation in a way that overcomes the size and sophistication of the data set. The insights you present must inform decision-making and improve business performance. Go for style, and substance will take care of itself.

10. Incorporate what you learned from the data into the business.

Here is where you turn data into action. When you apply the insights to decision making, you transform your business for the better. That is the crux if data-driven decision-making. It is also the most rewarding part of the venture.

Summary and Conclusions

1. Business decision-making based on data results in greater reliability, efficiency, and profitability. DXP leverages data analytics towards the goal of more data-based decision making and achieving a competitive advantage.

2. Migrating towards a data-driven business culture requires unlocking the 50 percent of the decision-making and data currently not being used. It requires improved internal data management and governance and breaking down barriers to internal communication.

3. Finally, when those barriers are down, you can begin a strategy for applying data-based decision making. Start simple and focus on what business areas you need to improve and determine what data you need. No data is better or more valuable than any other; the key is to find the data that meets your objective, analyze it, and translate it into actionable decisions and improvement.

DXP Series, Part II: DXP and the Customer Experience

Posted by on November 28, 2017

Multi-ethnic young people using smartphone and tablet computers

Introduction

In Part I of our DXP Series, Is a Digital Experience Platform Right for My business, we highlighted how a digital experience platform (DXP) is a set of tools to manage the customer’s online experience.  According to Liferay, the obsession with customer experience is at the confluence of the following factors:

  • Customers interact with companies on a wide variety of digital channels (web, mobile, social media)
  • Customers demand and expect the same experiences they get from digital leaders like Google, Apple, and Facebook.
  • Social media has become the cheer- (and jeer-) leader as an unstructured way to talk as customers provide feedback and influence public sentiment.
  • Mobile devices are on the scene and immediate. They give companies additional ways to stay in touch with customers.
  • The ability to get deep customer insights provides targeting information for a single person and give that person an highly personalized experience. Those insights come through everything from analytics to scooping up big data on social media.
  • Digital technology evens the playing field. Startups can disrupt traditional industries. Think: Uber and Airbnd. Those upstarts can deliver a better customer experience. Those startups have easy access to a tool kit that becomes a platform, not just dispersed ad hoc applications.

9 pieces in the DXP toolkit

The DXP toolkit can be a platform based on a software bundle, suite, or a single piece of software.  We listed the most common platforms as follows:

  1. Content management—allowing non-technical users to fill and maintain your DXP
  2. Social media—going into the wilds and deeper into the user realm
  3. Mobile website integration—fitting your DXP to the small screens viewed by millions
  4. Portal or gateway—passage and security without the latter inhibiting the former
  5. Search functionality—finding what users are looking for so they will stick around
  6. Rich Internet Application tools (RIA)—enriching the user experience through motion and interactivity
  7. Collaboration and meetings—working together face-to-face where many heads are better than one
  8. Analytics—getting feedback and breaching the gateway to AI
  9. Backend management—maintaining the DXP behind the scenes

In this post we describe those platforms and explore ways in which DXP integrates its technologies, components, processes, data, and people. That integration explains why DXP is keeping up with the push for customer and employee engagement.

1. Content is king, but users must rule

A content management system (CMS) is an application or set of related applications used to create and manage digital content. Think of CMS as a kind of digital word processor or publisher that dumps content into your website. It is more than that, of course.

CMS makes it simpler for content creators—the people who really know the business–to manage a website without developer assistance. In larger enterprises with multiple users adding content on a regular basis, a CMS is the easiest way to keep the site content up-to-date and responsive to search engines. Your platform is only as good as its content and you need a user-friendly way to keep content current.

2. Social Media is a vast channel for exploitation

Plug in social media to a DXP and open your web portal to the data- (and customer-) rich world of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Social media plays a vital part in any migration to DXP. Users want the option to configure their own social media sharing. In addition to the out-of-the-box social media capabilities that often come with modern DXP platforms, there are also a variety of plug-ins available that can further extend and customize these capabilities.

3. Mobile channels reach millions

Your DXP product may look good on the desktop computer screen, but without a mobile platform you are missing out on millions of mobile users. Mobile phones have migrated from voice communication devices to ubiquitous pocket computers. According to Statista, by 2020 there will be nearly 258 million smartphones in the U.S.

Add a mobile version of your DXP platform to fit the small screen and expand your marketing base exponentially. Again, customers expect their mobile applications to be as excellent and friendly as the hardware they use.

4. Portal or gateway access gives users a passport and the warm feeling of security

Web portal software can create the following interface points for DXP:

  • Customer portals to create transactions and access documents and information online
  • Partner/agent portals to help field agents, partners, and franchises become more effective by accessing proprietary and personalized information
  • Business process portals to access and track complex business processes

A cloud-based DXP needs a web portal that both locks out hackers and performs the handshaking crypto-rituals to open the locks.

5. Search functionality adds power to DXP web pages and applications

Pathways to built-in search functions handling customer queries are tools to win the race between customer engagement and the impatience of today’s users. Adding a search application to a DXP portal allows drill down. The drill down must go through content types, tags, as well as categories the user specifies to refine the search. The search application can be placed on a page or be a link to allow users to do a web page content search.

6. Rich Internet Application Tools supercharge DXP

RIAs are web applications having similar characteristics of desktop application software. They add functionality to DXP with tools like Adobe Flash, Java and Microsoft Silverlight. As the name implies, these tools provide a “richer” experience for DXP. RIAs provide movement, user interactivity, and more natural experiences for everyone accessing the DXP. Add a sense of time, motion, and interaction to a DXP, and the users will stick around and enjoy the experience.

7. Collaboration and meetings make the enterprise go ‘round

Collaboration suites can resonate with other DXP apps to promote excellence in communication. They are message boards for team discussions, blog platforms and meeting software to add to your inventory of rich content.

Use document management to collaborate, brainstorm, and produce quality content.  Plug in meeting software for worldwide, real-time worldwide, face-to-meetings and conferences with real colleagues and customers at a fraction of travel costs.

8. Analytics software provides an eagle-eyed view

The best way to improve user experience is to know who, how many, and the characteristics of those who visit your DXP.  You want to know how your site or service is performing, who is back-linking to you, and to be able to dig into gathered statistics for visitor regions.

Analytics also provides a dashboard view to do the business intelligence magic of process measurement and customer behavior. A DXP partnered with analytics is the foundation for moving to artificial intelligence.

9. Backend management is your behind-the-scenes DXP management tool

Backend technologies help you manage your DXP or web application, site server, and an associated database. Backend developers need to understand programming languages and databases. They also need to understand server architecture.

On the other hand, as they say, “There’s an app for that.” DXP users can access backend manager technology in the cloud through MBaaS offerings. 

Conclusion: DXP is not just an eclectic collection of software

The platforms described above can work together to solve the biggest challenge enterprises face in the digital age: customer obsession. Companies are undergoing digital transformation in every area from business process to customer analytics. DXPs can bring all that together and re-engineer business practices to be totally customer oriented.

Digital transformation is the challenge. DXP is the solution.

DXP Series, Part I: Is a Digital Experience Platform (DXP) Right For My Business?

Posted by on November 03, 2017

thinking

What is a Digital Experience Platform?

You may have heard the term “digital experience platform,” or DXP, thrown around before — either by a vendor, tech consulting company, or just by discussing how to effectively manage the customer’s online experience. There are a lot of convoluted explanations of what a DXP actually is, but we would like offer our own definition up and change that. This article will seek to define and provide examples of DXPs, as well as discuss how to know if investing in a DXP is the right move for your business.

Note: DXP is also sometimes referred to as a UXP, or user experience platform, but they’re the same thing. 

Simply put, a digital experience platform is a set of tools that allows a business to manage not only the customer’s experience, but the experience of partners, vendors, employees, suppliers, and more. It can be a software bundle, such as a suite, or a single piece of software, depending on the DXP itself. That being said, the platforms typically include software for the following:

  • Content management
  • Social media
  • Mobile website integration
  • Portal or gateway
  • Search functionality
  • Rich Internet Application tools (RIA)
  • Collaboration and meetings
  • Analytics
  • Backend management

DXPs aren’t limited to the items listed above, though. Many DXPs will include tools unique to that particular platform. Some include customizable forms, video editing, product management, and more.

It’s important to understand that a DXP is not a prepackaged platform — it’s actually the opposite. It’s a platform that allows the building and customization of meaningful applications for managing and enriching your customer’s online experience. Think of it like a massive customizable collaboration suite: it gives you the tools to customize and build it to fit your company and brand. From there, it allows management of the user experience through the company’s website and the mobile rendition of it, as well as through other channels, like email, social media, and so forth. Building a new rendition of any of those channels for the company’s employees or vendor is tied into the functionality, and each channel is managed in various backend systems as well.

The portal portion of the DXP is a “self-service” portal that allows users to sign in and manage their own set of tools and software. For example, employees could sign into their portal and find their email, CRM (Customer Relationship Management tool), documents and files, analytics, and more — all in one spot. They can also customize their portal to their heart’s desire, building it out to suit their particular needs and preferences. Each user can also be assigned a role (administrator, manager, sales, etc.), within the portal system, which tightens security and control.

Many DXPs also have the functionality to link multiple pieces of data from within the DXP together to pull analytics, increasing its capability and usefulness tenfold.

Is a DXP the Right Fit For My Business?

Now that you have a good idea of what a DXP is and what it can do, we’ll discuss deciding if investing in one is the right move for your company.

Ask the following questions at your next meeting:

  • Is your company the right size for such an extensive platform?DXPs are typically associated with larger businesses (enterprise level), but can be the right fit for medium-sized businesses under certain circumstances.
  • Does your company need a way to tie the full user experience together, giving users a way to create and customize their own portals?If you have multiple channels within your company, both from the front end and the back end (i.e., vendors, partners, customers, and multiple employee roles), a DXP might be the right fit for your company.
  • Does your company have a need to tighten analytics and span them across platforms?The analytics component of DXPs often span CRMs, social media, the company’s website, and more.

Furthermore, there are three key components to deciding if a DXP is the right move for your company. We discuss them below.

Technology Environment

The right technology fit is all about deciding what platform is the best in terms of the language the platform was programmed in. If your in-house developers are not trained in the specific language or languages the platform was developed in, they will struggle managing it. It’s wise to check and double-check this component when deciding on the right technological fit. Many DXPs are based on Java, PHP or Microsoft stacks. The language will most likely be different on the front-end, or website end, though. Many DXPs are compatible with JavaScript, CSS and HTML on the front-end, which reduces that portion of the developmental impact.

Functionality 

Even though we’ve discussed the different functionalities of DXPs, we haven’t yet touched upon how they’re typically grouped. There are three different types of DXPs, including:

  • CMS-heritage DXPs
  • Portal-heritage DXPs
  • Commerce-heritage DXPs

The best fit for the company will ultimately fall under one of these categories.

CMS-heritage DXPs are based upon just that: customizing all of the company’s online content. These platforms focus on marketing and analytics, social media, and the website across all devices. Generating interest in the company’s offerings, targeting the right audiences, and creating campaigns are the highlights of CMS-heritage DXPs. They are best suited for B2C companies with short transactions. Some offer user portals, some do not; this component can typically be an add-on cost or can be excluded.

Portal-heritage DXPs are based upon creating that unique experience for each and every user (front-end, back-end), and giving them each a log-in portal. These platforms fulfill the need for bringing the customer back after the sale and giving the salespeople what they need to keep making the sale. It allows employees to see what they need to do to maximize customer retention. It can also help with issue resolution and helpdesk scenarios.

Commerce-heritage DXPs are based almost solely upon shopping needs in an online retail environment. It is based primarily on inventory management, payment systems, and the full user shopping experience.

Budget & Cost

It goes without saying that this will be a category that the company will have to analyze forwards and backwards before jumping on board with a DXP. When talking with DXP providers, discuss costs associated with both one-time integration and set-up fees as well as ongoing licensing and operational costs. Also analyze the costs associated with possibly expanding your IT and development team, or outsourcing this component. Keep in mind that some DXPs are more affordable than others, namely open source vs. non-open source. Liferay is an example of an open source DXP, but several DXPs should be analyzed at length before choosing the right financial fit for the company.

Digital Experience Platforms: Consulting and Integration

Need more help deciding which DXP is right for your company? Give us a call. We can not only help you decide which DXP is the right fit for your company, but help you build, integrate and optimize your DXP after you decide. We have experience with industry-leading open source DXP and CMS software such as Liferay and Crafter CMS.

Streamline Customer Engagement with Digital Experiences That Deliver “Wow!”

Posted by on October 25, 2017

impressed man

Creating a “Wow!” customer experience may be the Holy Grail for marketers, but it truly is achievable when you have the right strategy and tools in place. Customers and employees today have incredibly high expectations, and if your digital marketing isn’t living up to their standards then it’s time to make a shift. The first step in exceeding your customer’s dreams is to work on internal functionality and ensure that your digital strategy and platforms are in alignment. You’re much more likely to have delighted customers when your employees are able to be effective at their daily tasks — something that can be difficult with a variety of disparate systems and legacy technology. See how pulling everything together will help you get to “Wow!” experiences for every customer.

Digital Customer Experience

How can you create an exceptional digital customer experience if you’re not aware of the various facets involved in customer satisfaction? Each time a customer interacts with your brand, they expect consistency of message, offer and interaction. This means that someone visiting your Facebook page, Twitter account and website should all see an offer that’s logical for that particular delivery method — and the same goes for customers calling your establishment. Imagine the confusion if you’re a customer who clicks through a Facebook ad that has a specific offer, yet the link sends the customer to the website homepage and the offer they wanted is nowhere in sight. This is a simple example of a poor digital experience, and one that customers are likely to repeat to their friends and family. In some instances, customers will even take to Google, Yelp, your Facebook page or tag your Twitter account in an effort to get the offer that they wanted. If the individuals responding on each channel are inconsistent in their followup messaging, it’s not inconceivable that you could lose a customer for life. There are simply too many alternatives for most businesses to take a chance on providing a poor customer experience.

Customer Experience Strategy

When you assign a strategic focus at a high level of the organization, you’re more likely to raise awareness of executives and mid-level managers or directions. When you engage at all levels of the business, it’s clear that leadership is serious about improving the overall experience for customers. With a mashup of legacy systems that may or may not work well together, IT leaders need to have a firm understanding of where the business needs to go at a strategic level before introducing additional systems. No digital strategies are the same, but many consultants recommend starting with what you can sunset: perhaps there are systems that only serve a small subset of employees or customers, or systems that are taking more time and effort to maintain with each patch that is applied. These are the low-hanging fruit that can be identified for deprecation while you look for other logical opportunities for consolidation.

Critical Execution

Even the best strategy cannot create remarkable customer experiences if execution is not there. It takes the right people in the right places — and the right partnerships — to take full advantage of the benefits that digital strategy can bring to your organization. While there may be a movement within the business to take things slowly and bring on only a small adjustment at a time, change leaders argue that transformational change happens when the organization as a whole is onboard and focused on how to drive improvements in each customer interaction. As you move through execution, monitor the change through effective monitoring of quality and remediation of any deficits.

Measuring Success

A key challenge that many customers face is ensuring that they’re using the right yardstick to measure success. With the plethora of metrics and data points available, it’s more important than ever to select actionable metrics that will improve customer engagement and happiness when they’re shifted. These analytical measures are different for each organization, but many companies find that metrics such as bounce rates, time on site and pages viewed are effective measures to optimize a website, while time on call or purchase size are good measures for call centers. However, it’s important to note that a low time on a call isn’t necessarily a good thing — this could indicate that customers are not being nurtured in the way that they could be. Each metric should be considered along with others instead of in a vacuum. It may surprise you how many organizations find that different business units are using completely different measures of success for essentially the same metric.

A trusted vendor partner can help you stay accountable to your strategy, maintaining execution timelines and helping solve for the unexpected complexities that will occur throughout the life of the project. At Rivet Logic Corporation, we target all steps leading up to customer experience to help define excellence in each interaction. Contact us to learn more.

How Digital Experience Management Differs from Content Management

Posted by on October 12, 2017

186-1000

When considering Digital Experience Management and Content Management, it’s best to have a concrete definition of both terms to fully understand how they differ.

What is digital experience?

Digital experience includes a number of things, including communications, processes and products from every digital aspect that engages an audience. This includes wearables, use of the web and mobile devices, beacons and recognition. The information gathered is analyzed to provide insight into customer relationships, identity, and intentions as they interact with businesses and organizations. This helps determine how companies deliver these digital experiences for their customers for future success.

What is content management?

Content management is also known as CM or CMS. It involves the collection, acquisition, editing, tracking, access and delivery of both structured and unstructured digital information. This content includes business records, financial data, customer service data, images, video, marketing information and other digital information.

With content management, you create and manage content, finding ways to generate awareness across multiple channels to reach more people. While having content is good, it’s more about offering the entire “experience” to the user that will give them more enhanced, enriched engagement. Content Management Systems have continuously evolved, integrating contextual digital experiences. This requires a comprehensive and effective strategy, the right tools, the right approach, and most of all, the right technology. An optimal digital experience embraces all these elements to provide personalized, responsive, and consistent experiences for every user you engage.

How is this done?

Digital experience (DX) management works in conjunction with content management, but is more comprehensive and fulfilling to the user. Think about the different outlets that engage customers – websites, social media, microsites, text messages, mobile apps and more. All these elements offer a complete digital experience. The processes and technology that provide these customized, consistent experiences is the management of it all.

One of the best ways they differ is that in digital experience management, the distribution channels all have objectives to follow and limitations. These help drive specific requirements for content and how to manage it. For instance, your tone and CTA will be different based on the digital platform you use. Additionally, when interacting with content, users want personalized experiences based on analytics you have determined appropriate for that channel. This allows them to seamlessly interact within that experience.

Web publishing used to be the first line of engagement, but not anymore There are too many channels users interact with that require ways in which publishers can gather feedback to quickly adjust their content. Without this management model in place, the system will not work.

Tools of the trade

There are a number of tools and systems to manage the digital experience. There are options for advanced analytics, to enhanced marketing tools that manage content based on channel. There’s also an emerging breed of Digital Experience Platforms (DXP), which provide businesses with an architecture for delivering consistent and connected customer experiences across channels, while gathering valuable insight and digitizing business operations.

When you have systems that work well together, being able to track successes becomes easier. When determining which tools will work best, you may want to start with product mapping. As a basis, the digital experience tool should include a combination of inbound marketing automation, analytics, and content management. Getting a system developed to meet all your needs is key.

As different avenues of engagement now drive the customer experience rather than the web, delivering a comprehensive and holistic experience is key. The digital experience is more complete, diverse and authentic – future thinking, while integrating content is how it should be done.

11 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade to Liferay 6.2

Posted by on May 28, 2014

A few months ago, Liferay released the latest version of their portal, version 6.2. This version delivers enhanced usability and provides a comprehensive platform for building intuitive, engaging digital experiences for both employee-facing and customer-facing applications. While previous versions of Liferay had primarily focused on backend enhancements, version 6.2 turns the spotlight on the user experience, a crucial capability that many organizations seek in today’s era of customer and employee engagement.

Liferay Portal 6.2’s feature enhancements can be broken into two categories: 1) Usability and Administration, and 2) Development. Usability and Administration enhancements would primarily benefit organizational employees and end users. Development enhancements, on the other hand, would provide extra flexibility for developers, enabling them to be more creative when it comes to customizations and new portlet development efforts, resulting in faster time to market and better efficiency for bug fixes. In short, Liferay 6.2’s wide variety of new features has many organizational benefits across the board.

With everything that Liferay 6.2 has to offer, we highly encourage an upgrade, and have compiled a list of the 11 most useful new features in a white paper. The most talked about and anticipated new feature in Liferay 6.2 is undoubtedly its enhancement for mobile support, which by itself is enough reason to upgrade. However, the rest of the features in this list will also positively impact organizational users, administrators, and developers in various ways, helping to make a stronger case for an upgrade.

To download the full white paper, click here.

What’s in Store for Digital Experience Management in 2014

Posted by on January 13, 2014

2014 is here in full swing, and promises to be an exciting year as the web continues to evolve and new products and trends continue to disrupt the industry.

In 2013, we saw the continued rise of mobile and the age of the customer, where enterprises worldwide re-evaluated strategies to optimally engage with their customers in this digital era. As mobile devices continue to proliferate and have become the new norm, consumers have increasingly higher expectations of the right content delivered to them when and how they want it, resulting in customer experience management skyrocketing to the top of every organization’s priority list.

However, experience management doesn’t just apply to customers, but instead extends to include all organizational stakeholders – customers, employees, partners, etc. We also saw organizations take a closer look internally and focus their efforts on employee community building. Realizing that workplace environments are changing, with a greater need for enterprise collaboration now than ever before, companies are implementing social intranet solutions that offer dynamic and social environments to facilitate community and collaboration.

In addition, many organizations are also building web-based social communities for their external stakeholders for further engagement to improve customer relations and build brand loyalty.

Tackling these daunting digital experience management tasks require careful planning and execution. Organizations need to first determine their business strategies and goals and take the time to really understand their audience to formulate the right messaging. A well thought out strategy sets the right foundation to build your systems – customer experience management, social intranet, customer portal, etc. – upon. The technology should be an enabler of your goals and facilitate your business users to effectively carry out your business objectives.

At Rivet Logic, we believe that software should be agile systems that can easily be customized to fit each organization’s unique needs. There’s no one-size-fits-all tool, and your underlying system must be flexible and developer friendly to allow various customizations and integrations with other existing enterprise applications. In addition, your system must be user friendly for business users. As we’ve seen over the past few years, there’s been a shift from IT to Marketing as Marketing’s responsibilities have expanded to include multi-channel web content management, customer experience management, and more. The tools we employ must be easy to use for non-technical business users.

In 2014 we’ll continue to see these trends evolve. Organizations will continue to put a large emphasis on customer experience management and creating a seamless omni-channel experience as mobile continues to grow. Businesses will also focus more on big data. The explosive growth of social media and mobile devices has generated an enormous amount of user behavioral data that can be harnessed to provide organizations with valuable insight on how to better address the needs of their customers and employees.