Building Customer-First Digital Experiences
Whether data, business logic, or content is at the core of your business, there has to be something extra you can add to spice up the experience of your customers and make them stick around for longer.
Is there a shortcut to happiness? Few companies, if lucky, can become overnight successes. For the majority of businesses, long-term strategy, vision, and hard work are what pays off.
Being stuck in the moment — only focusing on your core business metrics — and not putting customers first is just like looking in a mirror. You can hardly see the change until you look at a photo from years back. Customers have grown to expect more. And, by no surprise—your organization can offer them the experience they demand. If only you looked beyond the isolated website, the ecommerce store, or the one-way communication—by composing your digital experience around your core business—you can continue to lead.
In these unprecedented times, many companies have suffered setbacks, and yet they have kept their commitment to improving the experience for their customers, partners, or employees. If you look at where they have arrived, it may be hard to see what it took them to get there. It will start to make sense when you trace back their steps or reverse engineer their success and how they evolved.
Digital-savvy businesses realized their online potential early on and have combined multiple silos to deliver intuitive, personalized, and elevated experiences across the businesses. Whether they have done it by using a monolithic system or through the agility of the easy to customize, extend and manage platforms, they all have one in common. They are building bridges and breaking down walls to deliver better experiences.
Data Silos and the Digital Experience
Ask anyone who is part of a midsize or a large enterprise, and they will tell you — data silos are a given. Such silos result in a lack of visibility across channels, platforms, and applications. This leads to Insufficient data, ineffective reporting, and inconclusive results. Many organizations try to remove these impediments ad hoc, resulting in manual data integration projects that are time-consuming, costly, insecure, and/or non-compliant.
Think critical business systems sitting in silos—and the time wasted while waiting for your team to prepare and deliver a report that combines data from multiple sources.
Naturally, enterprises with data sitting at the center of their business will try to combine scattered data lakes and seamlessly pipe data from critical business systems to a centrally managed reporting or data management hub.
The obvious aside, there might be hidden benefits and opportunities waiting to be found. Combining data silos can free up additional resources to invest into growing the business. Data-centric organization can open data lakes to enrich existing experiences, introduce self-service or improve visibility. And while data can remain the focal point, personalization, multichannel delivery, content discovery or chatbots, can be utilized to enable organizations to compose an elevated experience that sets them apart from the competition.
Content is King. Or is it?
"Content is king" has been the mantra for many years, but many businesses who solely rely on marketing content may be missing the opportunity to gain key insights into how their efforts are turning out.
And, with even more customers and partners demanding increased levels of self-service, the ability to merge content and data into a consistent user experience can deliver benefits far greater than ranking high on your favorite search engines. After all, content that was developed to attract attention should be spiced up with a pinch of data and even something else—to keep visitors coming back and happily engaged.
Relying solely on your website simply does not cut it anymore.
Without data, making critical decisions by relying on gut feeling can have a detrimental effect on the business. But data is only just another piece of the puzzle of their composable digital experience platform.
With channels, devices, touchpoints galore, and the increasing demand for better content discovery, your marketing department will also need to solve more complex challenges.
Delivering personalized content, measuring content performance, or tracking key marketing KPIs is easy with Sitefinity Insight. More mature organizations will also need to define further data integration points and requirements and execute on a strategy for merging content with business data.
And, while the base of your DXP could be content, how about adding advanced search to improve content discovery? Or perhaps integrate ecommerce to try new sales channels? With consumer habits changing, it is becoming mandatory that you look beyond the web brochure and start a conversation with your prospects, or at least try to understand their behavior. Chances are they would be looking for more than just nice pictures and sweet words.
I had to pack a huge bag of all sorts of sports equipment recently and still fit within the luggage allowance of the airline I had booked a trip with. But, instead of researching cool destinations, exotic places to chill and relax, or where I could find the best food in town, I found myself focusing on a bigger problem—how not to overpack.
Armed with a baggage scale in hand, I kept packing and repacking. Then ate, slept, worked (out), and repeated the same routine.
Now, they would probably let you get away with 1-2 pounds over the limit. After all, you did try hard to fit that extra pair of golf shoes. But what if you were an organization that had to make thousands of tiny (and not-so-tiny) decisions? What if all employees had to manually calculate risk or evaluate input from multiple sources?
Let’s agree; it is not feasible. Many businesses are smart enough to utilize business rules management systems (BRMS) to support their core activities. Savvy companies complement business rules or business logic with content and data to deliver rich experiences to their existing customers and help attract new ones.
A lot of things can happen behind the scenes — millions of calculations, data points intersections, tiny decisions, and risk assessment are at the core of major ecommerce marketplaces, airlines, insurance, travel, and logistics companies.
Instead of an Epilogue
I now work remotely. I have not been to the office for like 388,820 minutes and counting. So I took the plunge and booked an open ticket to a remote island in the Indian Ocean. I packed my surf, board shorts, and a pair of flip-flops and went airborne.
To summarize the booking experience with the airline of choice, it was
- Equally pleasant across all devices I used—desktop, mobile, tablet
- Beyond the usual ticket purchase, seat selection, and the ridiculously high prices for flying first class, there were options to specify meal preferences for each segment, add family members and track my baggage at all times — the stuff you’d expect and demand
- And there was information about potential travel restrictions, COVID-19 updates, visa regulations, and even some practical on making sure you stay healthy and away from danger
- There were a gazillion suggestions for must-sees and local trips
- And, then there was a virtual 360-degree tour of the aircraft, local weather information, airport map, and turn-by-turn directions in the airport, so you can easily find THAT gate at which your connecting flight was departing. Run, Forrest, Run!
For the first time, I caught myself coming back to the same app, to the same site, to the same brand. For it really offered me everything I needed, nicely packaged in a personalized experience. Whoever designed the app, they earned my time (and money).
So, whether data, business logic, or content is at the core of your business, there has to be something extra you can add in order to spice up the experience of your customers and make them stick around for longer.
We are seeing it across the board: how Sitefinity customers are delivering value through technology to their customers, partners and employees — regardless of the vertical they operate in and the focus of their core business.
So, where will your digital experience take you? Talk to a Sitefinity engineer—digital experiences are a strategic decision, and we will help you make a smart one.
Now, hand me that fresh coconut.
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