The experience offered to a customer is nowadays one of the most critical elements of the business to business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C) interactions. Customer experience (CX) is not restricted to a single transaction between an organization and its customers, but rather extends to the full range of interactions between the customers and the organization during the course of their business relationship. Likewise, customer experience is driven by all interactions between an organization and its customers, encompassing all the events that happen during the purchase. It is therefore related to customer acquisition, upselling, cross-selling and other activities that create new revenue streams.
Enterprises care about delivering an optimal experience to their customers across all the above activities and interactions, as a means of maximizing customers’ engagement and ultimately their lifetime value. This is the reason why the design and delivery of customer experience require the engagement of all departments of the enterprise, including sales, marketing, production and IT departments. In this context, personalization becomes an excellent tool for providing exceptional customer experience, since it allows interactions that are tailored to the customer’s profile.
Nowadays, most interactions between customers and enterprises take place through digital channels, including web, mobile and social media channels. These channels provide a host of data and services that enable the delivery of exceptional and engaging customer experiences. Management of these data and services, along with the means of effective implementation are carried out based on Digital Experience Platforms (DXP).
Introducing Digital Experience Platforms
The delivery of effective customer experiences hinges on the harmonic interaction and collaboration of multiple people, processes, and technologies. The coordination between stakeholders and their processes is a key to attracting customers, engaging them in interactions with organizations and building relationships of trust between stakeholders. This coordination falls in the realm of marketing and customer relationship management, which are increasingly supported with the aid of digital channels and tools. The main goal of Digital Experience Platforms (DXP) is to facilitate the management and coordination of people, processes and technological resources towards personalized, engaging, effective and improved interactions between enterprises and their customers. DXP platforms can be classified as enterprise software products, yet in several cases, they are not a single product but rather a suite of integrated products and toolkits. Moreover, DXP platforms are a central element of enterprise software architectures, given that they interact with multiple internal and external IT systems such as enterprise applications (e.g., Customer Relationship Management (CRM)) and social networks. DXP platforms are also used to drive the re-engineering of enterprise processes towards more personalized customer-centric processes. As such, they can also facilitate the digital transformation of modern enterprises in the direction of delivering more personalized and customer-driven services.
A DXP integrates or interacts with multiple enterprises IT systems and their databases, including:
- Social media platforms, which enable customer engagement and provide information that (if analyzed properly) can be used for personalizing services and interactions.
- Mobile devices, which provide information about the customer’s location that allows companies to provide personalized services to customers with respect to the time and the place they are located.
- Customer databases and data analytics systems (e.g., CRM warehouses), which enable segmentation of customer databases as a means of offering personalized experiences to specific customer groups.
- Profiling Engines, which facilitate the creation of customer profiles based on a batch of customer data including demographics and the customer’s past transactions.
- Marketing tools, which boost the design and execution of personalized marketing campaigns towards specific customer segments.
Based on DXP platforms all major digital services that we use every day (e.g., from Airbnb and Facebook to Amazon and eBay) are highly personalized. End-users are inclined to receiving personalized services and could hardly use “one-size-fits-all” services. At the same time, the personalization has become a key differentiator between a company and its competitors. Therefore, personalization has become a key prerequisite to doing digital business. Nevertheless, companies that deploy and operate effective DXP platforms gain many other business benefits, which are outlined below:
- Improved Customer Loyalty and Reduced Churn Rates: DXP platforms enable companies to implement loyalty programs, reward customers about their past purchases and overall keep them satisfied. This is a foundation for customer loyalty and reduced churn. Companies know very well that acquiring new customers is costly and time-consuming than retaining existing ones. DXPs provide great help in this direction.
- Upselling and Cross-Selling: A proper DXP platform can boost customers’ engagement in a company’s products and services. This is done through various means, such as presenting relevant products (e.g. “what was purchased by other buyers of a given product”) and delivering valuable content that may be appealing to the customer (i.e. content marketing). In these ways, companies upsell and cross-sell products to customers, as a means of increasing revenues and the average value of customers’ transactions.
- Community Engagement: DXPs provide the means for creating vibrant communities of users around products and services. They support the presentation of product reviews and the management of community services such as forums, chat rooms, and blogs. Hence, they facilitate customer engagement, the formation of customer groups and the delivery of targeted content. Community engagement is an excellent means for retaining the customer and increases stickiness to the company’s products and increases the average customer lifetime value.
- Brand Management and Increased Brand Value: Through a DXP, companies can deliver personalized digital experiences, which increase brand awareness and drive customers to become advocates of the company’s brand name. Hence, DXPs can become a powerful brand management tool that consistently communicates the proper messages to specific customer groups.
- Customers’ Education and After Sales Support: DXPs can aggregate, manage and distribute personalized digital content, which considers the customer’s profile and the product they (intend to) purchase. Such digital content provides the means for educating buyers and helping them in “do-it-yourself” and other after-sales tasks. Hence, DXPs can also boost a company’s technical support services, by reducing the cost of their delivery, while increasing customer satisfaction at the same time.
- Focused Marketing that meets customer’s expectations: DXPs facilitate targeted marketing that considers a customer’s profile, including his/her country and language. It also enables the cost-effective creation and delivery of digital marketing campaigns across multiple countries and company sites. Hence, DXPs facilitate the management of content and experience at global (i.e. brand-wide), national (i.e. country-wide) and local (i.e. local site specific) levels.
- Single technology platform and reduced technology costs: A DXP enables an ecosystem of different IT platforms that interoperate effectively. This reduces technology integration and operation costs, as companies end-up managing a single technology infrastructure for customer data management and customers’ experience.
Overall, DXPs are internal productivity drivers and revenue generation tools. As such, companies cannot afford to ignore them. Rather they have to take advantage of their capabilities in order to increase customer satisfaction. In the digital era, the quality of a company’s services is directly associated with the quality of the customer experience that it offers. Success is no longer only about the product and/or the shop’s location, but mostly about the customer experience that an enterprise can offer to the customer.