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A digital experience is when a user has an interaction with a digital touchpoint provided by an organization. A digital touchpoint may be a mobile application, a website, a SmartTV app, an ATM, an airport check-in kiosk or similar. The most important things to have in mind, and measure KPIs for, when working towards delivery of excellent Digital Experiences are:

  • Availability: Is the touchpoint available when the user wants to use it?
  • Functionality: Can the user achieve what they want to do?
  • Look & feel: Does the UI meet user expectations? Is the functionality available frictionless?
  • Performance: Is the interaction seamless and fast as possible, or does the user always have to wait to achieve their goal?
  • Errors: Are there any errors hindering the user to interact with the touch point?

Why is delivery of zero friction digital experiences key?

With accelerating digital transformation, delivery of zero friction digital experience is essential. You have to be aware that at any of your digital touchpoints, the digital experience is measured against the best-in-class available coming from Google, Facebook and other digital leaders. These heightened digital expectations are applied across the board, whether government, banking, insurance, ecommerce, travel or any other industry.  The price of failing to deliver zero friction digital experience is high!

Poor digital experiences result in lost business as digital has made it easy to switch to a competitor. And if that competitor delivers a better experience, you’ve lost not just a transaction but a once-loyal customer. You may think you can rely on customer loyalty, but be aware that since the start of the COVID pandemic in March 75% of U.S. consumers have tried new brands or outlets, diminishing the loyalty factor (Source McKinsey). This means having an excellent digital experience is more crucial than ever.

Working on a customer win-back strategy is cost intensive and not always fruitful. The company’s brand reputation is another piece of the puzzle that is at risk. One could argue having a mobile app that sits in the app store with a 1-star rating is worse than having no app at all. Some start-ups rebranded entirely to get rid of the negative brand image created by a single mobile app deployment to the app store. Can your corporation afford this?

What ruins a digital experience?

There are a lot of reasons for failing to deliver the right user experience. I want to start with a hard fail.

Digital touchpoint outage:

There is nothing worse than your well-designed digital touchpoint to simply not load, to be unavailable. Detecting an outage was easier in the past when all the services where delivered directly from your hosted datacenters. But cloud transformation makes this much more challenging as outages can be caused by your cloud provider, your third party helping you deliver personalized experiences, your content delivery network (CDN), and many other services you are leveraging.

It’s also from a brand perspective highly relevant. I tend to lean towards social media for evaluating this. You know you made it when you have a personalized hashtag like Instagram – #Instagramisdown

Specifically, social shares referring to your mean time to repair (MTTR) like on this tweet below.

tweet complaining about slow MTTR of Instagram

…but how long does it actually take your team to detect such an outage? If you now think this is the IT team challenge – wait till you read the next paragraph – superior user experience is a BizDevOps driven team effort.

Broken functionality on a critical user path

Everyone is now probably thinking about something like the checkout funnel of an e-commerce store, but I’d like to dive into a different example from the car insurance industry.

Today, every car insurance company provides a mobile app. The app should help you in very rare situations like a car crash or if you need roadside assistance. In these critical moments, everything must work – no excuses. But what happens when it works out differently? If you fail, you are confronted with a complaint on the Google Play store like in the example below. The really bad thing for you is that on the right-hand side Google displays the list of competitors mobile apps that are performing better than you are. The window of opportunity to save this customer as yours is now very small. Do you really need to ask them to send an additional email to your contact center? Take a look at “Customer complaint resolution in today’s digital multi-channel world”.

Play store review pointing out that app failed the moment the user needed great digital experience the most

Besides the hard fails, there is an endless list of soft fails impacting user experience. Some of the majors include:

  • Web performance not meeting the users expected experience
  • Over complicated user flows
  • Annoying “pop up” messages distracting the user
  • Web screens not displaying on a mobile device correctly
  • On mobile – UI controls too small to tap them
  • Menu entries not reachable because they disappear on hover
  • Overlapping text on browser window resizing
  • No error feedback in form inputs
  • No constraints in form input fields
  • Mixing horizontal and vertical scrolling on mobile

What can you do to make sure you’re delivering excellent experiences?

You must develop the right culture and mindset. No technology, tool, or practice can accomplish this for you. But thinking about delivery for people and stopping thinking in silos have a chance to bring frictionless experiences to the world. What does that mean? Should I not follow a practice? Should I not use certain tools? – No, you will require them, but you need to be open-minded. For example, I was on a call with a company talking about BizDevOps collaboration and their collaboration couldn’t start because the marketing, business, and IT teams could not overcome the ownership question for a tool supporting them. For those using a tool, it shouldn’t matter who owns the tool as long as it fosters the collaboration.

Embraced the collaboration mindset? Then start thinking about what matters to all of you and define your core KPIs, or, as the Site Reliability Engineering practitioners say: What are your SLOs? It is important that you agree on what to measure and find one solution to how you measure it, not have each team measuring the same thing with different tools– if you do so and don’t agree on what is the single source of truth, you’ll end up in meetings discussing the metric value and which one is the correct one but you will not work on helping your users.

The Dynatrace Software Intelligence Platform has a very unique position as best of breed for engineering and operations teams. The platform has rich capabilities like Digital Business Analytics, Session Replay, Real User Monitoring,… that allow you to capture the right metrics and communicate without friction.

The four screenshots below are examples of a single user session through the lens of four different stakeholders. The insights span from which marketing campaign brought the user to the touchpoint, over visual representation of an error, waterfall analysis of a bad performing interaction to the stack trace of the error message detailing out the technical issue the customer was facing.

Digital experience visualized for unique user session in Dynatrace from 4 different stakeholder perspectives

The ultimate win is that all the data can be used to roll up into meaningful metrics for the teams and the business stakeholder, easily giving an overview of what the digital experience and business success look like.

What are KPIs you want to look at?

The Dynatrace platform has most of the KPIs listed above included by default, and if there’s a metric you can’t find then simply chat with a member of our team and we can make it part of the platform. If you’re not already using the Dynatrace platform, download our free trial to get you and your colleagues started today.

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