Digital Experiences Shape Customer Experience

It’s easy to make an experience that is complicated and robust. It’s hard to make an experience that is simple and intuitive.

As customers online, we’ve grown to expect seamless, intuitive experiences when interacting with a company online or in an app. Designing easy-to-use platforms, though, takes intention and consideration.

“It’s easy to make an experience that is complicated and robust. It’s hard to make an experience that is simple and intuitive, but that’s what we’re trying to design for,” said James Kim, managing director of design at Concentrix.

Concentrix is an IT service management and business services company specializing in customer engagement and business performance. They’re also a sponsor of Simpler Media Group’s recent Digital Experience Summit. To follow up on the Concentrix session, SMG spoke with James about the digital economy and how it disrupted customer experience.

New Norms for a New Digital World

Simpler Media Group: What are some of the biggest ways the digital economy has impacted customer experiences?

James Kim: Historically, we talk a lot about shifting consumer expectations or shifting the expectations of people. Technology has impacted the way we do things. As simple as the way we get information, the way we buy things and the way that we interact with each other.

The ways of living have evolved quite a bit, too, which are where we choose to live, how we choose to live and how we choose to break down our time. We learned a ton of hard lessons — and accelerated through the pandemic — things like the ability to more flexibly live the way we want to live and also achieve perhaps more personal ambitions or goals along with work ambitions.

In the not-so-distant past, it was a Catch-22 of focusing on work or home and not being able to bridge those two things. One of the silver linings is that we’ve found pockets of time that we can use differently. We can use it for ourselves, for our family or for work. That’s new and different.

For me, I feel like the digital economy has impacted that and created new brands to grow. We’ve seen a lot of new experiences, new brands coming into the world that are helping us live differently, helping us do things differently and helping us in our lives.

SMG: Are there any aspects of the customer experience that companies often overlook?

Kim: I think companies often overlook all of the experiences, which is to say that because people’s lives are changing, ways we work are changing, ways how we live are changing, a lot of companies just aren’t keeping up. They’re not keeping up with the expectations that people are bringing to their world. It’s really easy for brands to still talk about their competitive set, or their competition with other brands that are similar. And companies still overlook that expectations are created by leading brands, brands that are doing things exceptionally well. We all want the world to work like Uber or Spotify or Netflix or Amazon, and the bar is quite high there.

When we think about what parts of the experience that companies overlook, I think a lot of companies are focused on holding onto the business they have, and not the opportunities that are created by these changes in expectations.

What we see most is companies shifting to talking about outcomes. Outcomes matter and drive the bottom line and change consumer behaviors. Concentrix plays a role in bridging a really big gap: the customer experience is really about the experience of using the thing or engaging with the brand. The other part of the experience that we at Concentrix focus on is the moments where customers need help.

Getting to Human-Centered Design

SMG: How can the customer experience remain human-centric even as so much of the customer journey has moved online?

Kim: The area of the company I lead is design. We’re very human-centered in our design. A few things that it means: We care a lot about making sure that experiences feel intuitive, that they are useful, that they fill a missing void and that they matter to people.

Especially with technology in this online experience, it’s easy to design too much. It’s easy to make an experience that is complicated and robust. It’s hard to make an experience that is simple and intuitive, but that’s what we’re trying to design for.

When we talk about digital experiences, it’s easy to lose sight of what it means. I’ll go back to some design basics. It’s like asking us to design you a chair. We’ll ask you, “Why a chair?” Obviously to sit in it. “Where will it go?” Well, the dining room. “OK! We’ve learned something. We’ve learned the use case of it. Do you care what it looks like?” It needs to fit the style of our home.

The request seems pretty innocuous and pretty straightforward until you get into it. Design problems are naturally these kinds of things where context matters, use cases matter and the people using it matter.

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