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Challenges for DX leaders in a post-COVID environment

How can DX analytics help businesses make sense of changing customer behavior due to the pandemic?

COVID-19 has had a dramatic effect on how we all shop, socialize, work and play. The migration online has changed everything—and businesses lacking a strong digital presence have had to scramble. Formative digital plans have been accelerated to try and keep up. As the digital experience (DX) becomes the new customer experience (CX), how have enterprises coped with this sudden shift? What are the new challenges for DX leaders, and what will help them overcome these issues?

It’s a series of questions that can’t be underestimated. McKinsey reports that 80% of companies believe that their core business model should be digitized to remain economically viable. The experiences that enterprises offer the huge number of new online visitors and customers will dictate how successful they are in the months and years to come.

Challenge 1: Overcoming out-dated thinking and data silos

Historically, a number of departments would share responsibility for CX. Each looked after specific areas of the customer journey. For example, marketing handled brand comms, customer services took care of customers with problems and sales managed the onboarding process.

Different tools would be used by each function to measure success. With each team working independently, data and knowledge would be siloed. Information picked up by one department would not be formally shared with the rest of the organization.  

The shift from physical to digital offers opportunities for enterprises to replace unstructured customer knowledge with rich and accurate datasets. Managed correctly, data can be a valuable asset that serves the entire organization. 

The challenge for DX leaders now is how to consolidate data and align teams behind an agreed set of business objectives. Instead of focusing solely on team metrics, departments can see how their improvements impact the entire digital customer journey. With the right technology in place, the business can seamlessly capture and share vital behavioral data that allows the enterprise to act as a whole, not as siloed departments. 

As McKinsey says: “Now is the time for executives to invest in the data, technology and systems required to deliver exceptional experiences. Organizations able to understand customers better—and do it faster—are likely to be the next customer-experience leaders.”

Challenge 2: DX immaturity 

While some businesses have been on their digital transformation journey for a while, others haven’t even had it on the roadmap. These businesses will have to learn fast. 

To create frictionless digital journeys, organizations need to understand how customers are engaging on their site or app. Businesses can only resolve user struggles if they know they exist in the first place. Digitally immature enterprises will not yet have answers to these questions. For them, there are no data-driven insights; just guesswork and intuition. 

In addition, new online customers don’t necessarily know what they’re doing. According to Adobe, 63% of B2C organizations saw an unusual growth in digital customers due to the pandemic.

With new customers navigating through new online pages and services, there is no previous history or knowledge to use as a benchmark. The only way to know how customers are engaging and whether they’re struggling is to capture and analyze user behavior as it happens. This needs to be the starting point for organizations. 

Knowing what has happened is the first stage in digital maturity. For example, how many visitors were there to your site? Who clicked which links? What were the abandonment and engagement rates? These are all useful metrics, but understanding why they acted in that way is even more valuable.

What was the source of their struggle? Was it technical or behavioral? Did something go wrong behind the scenes or did the customer not find what they were looking for? This gives the business the data it needs to determine which journeys delivered the best results and the commonalities between successful sessions. As a result, organizations understand the behaviors that lead to positive outcomes and can optimize DX to try and make them happen more often. 

For example, an enterprise could use visualization tools such as an automated journey map to see how customers are engaging and track results as the digital journey is continuously improved. The journey map will highlight the reasons for conversion drops, user struggles or technical issues, with AI revealing how an issue at one part of the journey impacted later behavior.

Challenge 3: Using DX analytics to overcome bureaucracy

The word “bureaucracy” is often used to describe a slow, cumbersome process that adheres to a rigid process. The German scientist Max Weber defined bureaucracy as, “an organization that has a defined hierarchical structure and clear rules, regulations and lines of authority which govern it.”

In practice that means relying on senior decision makers to dictate the direction of the business. Decision making is often time-consuming and inflexible. Rules and processes need to be followed at all times, which impacts speed and agility. 

The relatively recent evolution of data-driven businesses has shifted decision making away from the experience and instinct of senior executives toward data insights. However, the challenge for DX leaders is that many technology solutions require data engineers to create tags to track specific events, and then data scientists to structure and interpret the data at the other end. Delays are still caused by a reliance on a small number of experts. 

DX analytics removes bureaucracy by making data insights accessible and easily understood. Data consumers can get complete and accurate behavioral data on demand, producing faster and more agile decision making. 

Enterprises can place more trust in more people to analyze data and take appropriate action rather than relying on a select group of individuals to take action. DX analytics democratizes data and empowers decision making. 

Weber’s hierarchical structure and pre-defined rules are put to the test by seismic events such as a pandemic. When there is such a noticeable shift in consumer behavior, businesses that suffer the least impact are those that act fast to understand what is happening. Speed and agility to experiment with new ways of engaging and measure how customers are reacting gives a competitive advantage. Bureaucracy limits an organization’s ability to do this. DX analytics is the only way to truly monitor activity and understand behavior.

This is as much a cultural shift as a technological one. Overcoming bureaucracy requires support from the top down so that everyone understands the role that DX analytics plays. 

The answers lie in DX analytics

We can’t predict the future. We don’t know what events are around the corner or how customer behavior will evolve in response to changing circumstances. But powerful DX analytics will give us the accurate and complete behavioral data needed to quickly make sense of customer activity and take the necessary steps to optimize every digital journey.

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