In this new decade that has begun with COVID-19, customer and employee interactions are more remote, mobile, virtual and distributed–and there is no going back.
The “experience economy” was first described in a 1998 article in the Harvard Business Review by two professors, Pine and Gilmore. Their position is that businesses over the past centuries have evolved from agrarian to industrial to services to experience economies. The experience economy is what we are in the midst of now and it continues to change rapidly, driven by generational, economic, cultural and societal change. Today, their book, “Experience Economy,” is in its third edition, but the need to focus on digital experience is more important than ever. Digital has become the common currency in the terms of how transactions and interactions are experienced.
In the experience economy, the memories, emotions and feelings that customers take away are ultimately what matters most. Products and services become commoditized over time; they are copied by competitors and lose their differentiation and value. The shift toward digital business can be seen as largely being about creating new business models and innovations that allow companies to alter their products and services through information and digital technologies. Not only must digital be a building block of CX (customer experience), it must also be foundational to your EX (employee experience).
In this digital experience economy, in order for companies to earn their share of the positive feelings, emotions and memories, they need to compete for attention and time. Attention and time are precious because we, as customers and employees and users of technology, only have so much time in the day and we can only give so much attention at any given moment. Any wasted motion or non-value-added feature unnecessarily steals the user’s attention and consumes their time. This is why it is incredibly important to design and deliver great experiences by mastering UX (user experience) and MX (multiexperience) principles.
To create these enduring memories for customers, it is going to take a team effort in its most extreme form: CX must become the job of every employee at your organization. One customer going through just one journey — returning an item, for example — will in actuality involve multiple departments. These departments will need to work in close collaboration with one other, and this is no place for organizational silos. So CX is increasingly determined by EX. To take that one step further, construct your EX to provide the right work environment for employees to build outstanding CX. Strengthen it with thoughtful UX, and customize it for customers via flexible MX. This is how to provide enduring memories for your customers in the digital experience economy.
MX, UX, CX and EX (or simply “total experience”) are inextricably intertwined in the digital experience economy.
While excellence in one area is valuable, the organization as a whole can be further strengthened if these four disciplines are intertwined as a Total Expereience (TX) strategy so that they mutually reinforce one another.
I have worked with my Gartner colleagues–Michael Chiu, Brent Stewart and Gavin Tay–on a special report research document that provides a guide to curated Gartner research containing important concepts, insights and best practices to help IT leaders connect these four areas in order to be successful. I encourage you to read and share this important research: “Success in the Digital Experience Economy Requires Connecting MX, UX, CX and EX“. (And please rate it, too. Thank you!)