A few weeks ago while I was on our family holiday over at Rottnest Island one evening before we sat down for dinner I jumped online and bought a house.

That’s right, a house. A real bricks and mortar piece of home sweet home. It took all of 15 mins via an online auction and my legs were shaking in fear the my connection would drop out but then after only placing 2 bids streamers came up on the screen, alarm bells and a digital applause screeched from my laptop with a loud voice over then announcing “Congratulations, you are now the owner”!

If you told me last year that I’d be purchasing a home online I’d be doubtful. The process still involved attending home opens but it simplified the buying steps with price transparency and ease. There was no guess work about other offers and or the uncertainty of being coerced by an agent to up our price, more than required.

The search phase in most industries has certainly been dominated by the online realm. It was not that long ago the real estate search process made the home open pages in the Sunday Times irrelevant. But where organisations could be losing out is in the rest of the customer journey. In this instance the digital experience has been extended to the purchasing phase of the consumer journey.

Let’s take a look at another example of what’s happening in the car industry. Most people probably want to sit in a new car before buying it, but they might prefer to complete the rest of the car buying process online. Tesla, Subaru and Toyota, all accept online orders to varying extents and as of last year Audi, Kia and others also started accepting online orders due to the COVID lockdown.

James Voortman, CEO of the Australian Automotive Dealer Association, said while the percentage of sales conducted entirely online in Australia was still small, local dealers were seeing a rising number of people purchasing without an inspection.

“We are seeing more consumers willing to buy a car sight unseen and anecdotally COVID-19 has accelerated this, but it still is a very low proportion,” Mr Voortman said.

Volkswagen Australia had record web site traffic last year but in the UK, where lockdown has been felt much more than here in Australia Audi reportedly recorded a 59 per cent increase in online inquiries.

The pandemic triggered a wave of projects to improve digital customer experiences: for example, universities extended digital support for remote students; Services Australia streamlined myGov services to help Australians apply for welfare; Bunnings launched apps, introduced a ‘click and deliver’ service and fast-tracked a New Zealand ecommerce store; Coles revealed it was unifying customer IDs across its digital stores; and the Department of Education, Skills and Employment contracted a company to provide initial planning and design services for a new digital platform for job seekers.

Examine your customer journey

To meet customer’s changing needs, it’s not simply about quick deployment of digital experiences. Often organisations put in place a new technology and new experience design and then miss the key opportunities lying in ongoing review and improvement. Ideally, customer experience designers should be continuing to look at and test products even as other teams are building them. 

“It’s no longer enough to have a digital presence and automate digital interactions,” argues Danny Housseas, Partner at Digital Delta, KPMG Australia’s digital transformation practice. 

These issues should no longer be just the domain of CX developers and marketers, Housseas argues. They may seem like CX issues now, but in years to come they may change the way some businesses operate. Just look at Tesla, which has shaken up the car sales model by only selling cars online.

“This needs to start with the leadership at the top – in the boardroom – and then cascade through the organisation so that it is observed in how digital experiences are delivered and optimised,” Housseas says. “Be lean, agile and ready to move and adapt.”

Improving your customer experience through journey mapping will unlock endless opportunities for your organisation. Whether its increasing customer acquisition or improving customer retention and loyalty mapping out improvements in your customer journey will pay dividends.

Need more information? If you want to drive your Customer Experience for better results contact Liv for a coffee and a chat.

This article was written by Olivia O’Connor founder of Liv By Design consultancy. If you’d like to look at ways to improve your organisations customer experience or you’d like to start understanding how to get started with customer journey mapping, let’s chat. Olivia has worked with the likes of Ability WA, RAC and many more.

The full article of Rethinking digital experiences written by William Maher for ITnews is here: Rethinking digital experiences in 2021 – Reimagine the Future with Confidence – iTnews

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