The Experience in a “Digital Experience Economy”

virtual digital experience

In today’s digital landscape, businesses must use big data and AI technology to provide immersive, hyper-personalized user experiences.

I am a big proponent of the Experience Economy, a concept suggested by Pine and Gilmour in a 1997 article in the Harvard Business Review. As enterprises progressed through several economic phases—agrarian, industrial, and service—the nature of what they offered changed. While in the agricultural economy, products were sold in their raw form (for example, coffee beans), in the industrial economy they were pre-packaged and sold as a finished product (instant coffee). The service economy has seen the creation of firms that have constructed a variety of services around these products (cafes). Customers paid more and more with each passing stage.

In an experience economy, the objective is to leave a lasting impression on the minds of participants by creating a series of experiences.

The rapid adoption of the experience economy has been sustained over time. A new notion, known as the “digital experience economy” expands on the “physical experience economy” by picturing goods and services as both physical and digital experiences (exclusively too).

With Facebook’s makeover to Meta, a virtual world development business, the advent of the digital experience economy is both more plausible and more imminent.

Enhancing the digital experience

It’s going to need a lot of data to bring the experience economy online. Personalization is an essential part of the experience economy. It may be necessary to go much farther in a digital environment to achieve hyper-personalization. Because of this, AI and real-time behavioural data are becoming more relevant. For this reason, businesses must not only provide consumers with multichannel access but also monitor and analyse each customer’s activity across all channels in real-time.

Ultimately, the transition to a digital experience economy calls for a deep understanding of each customer. Having this knowledge enables businesses to provide the type of hyper-personalized, unforgettable experiences that create more value for their consumers (both internal and external). To achieve this, the presence of systems that will collect data and knowledge is mandatory.

Comprehensiveness of experience

There are several technologies that enable the many ways in which customers (both internal and external) engage with your business, and they are all included in the broader concept of “comprehensiveness of experience.”

While most firms have been focusing on web-based communication (email) to generate customer experiences, and more recently, mobile, these two platforms alone just won’t cut it today. This realisation led Gartner to examine the advent of multi-experience creation platforms in 2018. The experiences of today need video, chat, and, in the near future, augmented and virtual realities. Modern consumers have a say in the forms of communication they expect from businesses, and if they don’t receive what they want, they go elsewhere.

Communication over several or even all channels is not the focus here. In reality, experience systems tailor their output to each individual channel, taking into account their specific characteristics. It goes against the idea that “one size fits all.” Additionally, it develops further. All the channels’ experiences need to seem cohesive, even if they’re all unique. because consumers expect seamless channel switching. Inconsistencies in service quality across channels are detrimental to the brand.

Customer Expectations

Technology, as such, means nothing to customers. For them, a great experience centres around factors like:

  • A multisensorial experience
  • Immersive
  • An atmosphere of belonging or community, when customers feel they are a part of something bigger than themselves.
  • Easy to use with the least complexity.

From a company perspective, this should achieve the main objectives:

  • Find ways to boost sales.
  • Enhance the experience for customers.
  • Enhance employee satisfaction by enhancing their experience. ( I am a firm believer in putting employees first, even over customers). However, this is often disregarded when designing experience-based technologies. According to a Gallup study, organisations with highly engaged workers beat their counterparts by 147% in earnings per share.  So it is not a cliché to say that happy employees result in happy customers.

Connecting staff engagement and consumer engagement within a company’s overall system of experiences is one approach used by modern businesses to address this issue. Reasonable, especially considering the needs of fields like customer service.

A lack of functional processes is cited as the source of the issue. However, 92% of respondents agreed that integrated communications and collaboration solutions—platforms that closely combine messaging, video, phone, and customer experience—would be helpful.

While the digital experience economy may seem to be a logical progression from the experience economy, it is important to give serious thought to the experience systems required to sustain it. Your brand’s interactions with customers will be more straightforward, powerful, and consistent thanks to the rise of cloud communications technology, which will serve as a central hub for collecting, storing, distilling, and exploiting interaction data. Integration of such systems with other technologies, such as AI, will become more important.

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