What is Total Experience?

Total experience (TX) is a strategy that creates superior shared experiences by interlinking the user experience (UX), customer experience (CX), multi-experience (MX), and employee experience (EX) disciplines. It is about more than improving the experience of one constituent—it improves experiences at the intersection of multiple constituents to achieve a transformational business outcome.

TX encompasses the complete company experience, from the employee to the customer and the user. The total experience involves more than just taking care of customers—it means providing an excellent environment for employees and users as well. 

The user experiences of customers and employees are connected by specific features and interactions that depend on each other. The conditions of these experiences shape an enterprise’s reputation and affect the quality of their services overall. Through the unification of all the user experience touchpoints, businesses can offer seamless, enjoyable engagement with their brand.

Shaping a total experience involves: 

  • Establishing trust and open communication throughout the customer lifecycle
  • Staying on brand across all channels and through every touchpoint 
  • Always being aware of customer goals and objectives 

Background and History of “Experience” and “Experience Economy”

The idea of the “experience economy”, first written about by Joseph Pine and James Gilmore in the 1990s, involves companies selling more than just products and services to consumers. The idea is that companies need to provide an experience that engages the customer in a deeper way, orchestrating events that are memorable. In this way, organizations can add value beyond their products and/or services. 

Think of Walt Disney. He and the company he founded mastered this concept of selling an entire entertainment experiencegoing beyond movies, developing theme parks and events to make lifetime memories for customers.  

This concept is the basis on which a complete multi-experience is built. As times have changed and expectations risen, we are now invested in the Total Experience of everyone who engages with the business, including those working behind the scenes to make the magic happen.

When the COVID-19 pandemic turned the world upside down, TX became an instant trend. However, it is evolving beyond a function of the time period and is showing its future merit as enterprises invest in a TX strategy to differentiate themselves and shape their reputation.

While it’s not about selling an experience that’s separate from the service or goods, the notion that the overall experience has economic impact and serves to create a network of values is the same. Providing an exceptional total experience elevates a company’s offerings, and their reputation. 

The Importance of Total Experience in the Evolving Marketplace

Traditionally, CX, EX, and UX, have been seen as separate, and have been siloed by businesses. Stitching these disciplines together will give you the competitive advantage. In fact, Brian Burke, research vice president at Gartner, expects companies that offer a TX will exceed competitors in a variety of key satisfaction metrics. As business becomes more remote, virtual, and distributed, a connected TX strategy is a necessity. 

It’s becoming increasingly important to identify intersections between the disciplines for a competitive edge, but it’s also crucial for the survival of an organization post-pandemic. By linking the UX, CX, MX, and EX and improving them as a whole, businesses differentiate themselves from competitors in a way that’s tough to copy. TX allows companies to capitalize on disruptions brought on by COVID-19, like remote work and distributed customers.   

The COVID-19 pandemic greatly constrained and changed tech companies. A remote, dispersed workforce resulted in customer-facing operations that are also more virtual and ubiquitous than ever. This means the customer’s, user’s, and employee’s experience has to be adapted to fit this new reality. 

The distributed workforce model was emerging before the pandemic and its adoption has only been accelerated amid the lockdowns. One great benefit of a distributed workforce is being able to hire talent on a global scale. However, TX is an enterprise’s reputation, acting as a differentiator for talent, as well as consumers. Those companies with a strong reputation—excelling at TX—win top talent and attract customers with their CX. Needless to say, those without a solid TX strategy, lose out on both talent and profit. 

As for customer-facing employees, they need to have the right tools and technology to deliver outstanding customer service. If the tech is too clunky or complex, this level of service cannot be achieved. Consider a contact center. By incorporating a TX strategy, you can design a 360-degree experience that motivates and enables your agents to work more easily, improving customer service, and thereby the customer experience. 

According to data from PwC, after just one bad experience, 32% of consumers will say goodbye to a brand they love. Consumers are looking for speed, convenience, helpful employees, and friendly service, and the companies that are doing this best are utilizing technologies that promote these benefits, rather than prioritizing cutting edge tech.

Addressing Total Experience

The goal of TX is to enhance the customer experience while also improving the business as a whole. Prioritizing total experience will help you ask and answer questions about how your user experience affects the customers’ view of your brand. As well, it will help you identify how to enhance employee engagement and satisfaction, which in turn, affects the type of service and experience they give customers. 

Here are a few ways to address TX: 

Tearing Down Silos

An integrated TX involves breaking down departmental walls. This includes merging front and back offices and utilizing tech that engages and connects all team members. This ultimately makes for a unified experience that is also engaging for customers. 

Customers, users, and employees alike will be more satisfied when teams work well together with integrated team processes. There are tools to allow for this sort of cross-disciplinary engagement based upon principles of composability.

Building user interfaces which combine processes and simplify a user’s engagement with your applications creates an enjoyable experience that fosters positive associations and brings them back time and again.

Branding the Employee Experience 

More and more, consumers care about how organizations treat their employees. 90% of consumers care deeply about this matter. Brand your business with a strong corporate culture and an employee-first attitude and watch internal and external operations improve. 

Consumers reward those corporations that demonstrate a commitment to their workers, take part in beneficial pandemic-era initiatives, and show genuine interest and care for their people. Employees of these types of companies also experience higher levels of satisfaction, which is proven to boost productivity. 

Human Interaction & Multi-channel Communication

Human interaction may look a little different now, but it’s still key to a good experience. In fact, 82% of U.S. citizens want more interaction in the future. Seamless, multi-channel communication drives satisfaction and loyalty. Companies that can provide this will gain loyal customers. 

As for internal operations, communication is just as important. The right solutions need to be in place to connect workers in various geographical locations. So, having the right communication tools is critical to delivering an optimal experience.

Total Experience as a Whole

The aim of TX is to provide an all-around exceptional experience to anyone and everyone that interacts with your brand—pre-purchase users, customers, and employees. Stop thinking of user experience, customer experience, multi-experience, and employee experience as separate silos—they’re critical pieces of the total experience puzzle. 

You need to enlist well-designed tools that can help deliver the best possible experience across all channels and touchpoints. This means using tools that will simultaneously make for an excellent experience for your customers and enable and inspire your employees to provide that exceptional service.

Companies should seek to design a connected customer experience from the first interaction and throughout the entire customer journey. The handoff points, or intersections, between teams and/or departments, (i.e. from sales to onboarding), are often the most accident-prone. These moments are crucial to focus on when developing a TX strategy. 

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