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Want to be a digital leader? Here's why you need consistency

Think about the best digital product or service that you use. It may be an online retailer or a streaming service, a business app or tool that helps you do your job. Why do you rate it so highly? Is it the design? Or, perhaps, the range of functionality and how effectively it helps you achieve your task, whatever that might be.

I can almost guarantee that you weren’t thinking about consistency. Yet you expect it to work perfectly every time you use it, don’t you? You have to know you can rely on it.

If your 'best' product or service wasn’t reliable or didn’t work well every time, you wouldn’t rank it as one of the best or use it regularly, let alone think about its design and functionality.

As digital consumers, we demand that digital products and services work as they are intended to, each and every time. That consistency in how the end user experiences a digital product or service is how digital quality is defined.

The demand for digital experience quality

Our recent Digital Experience Quality report has shown that meeting that demand for digital experience quality from customers, and employees, is business critical. We asked senior business leaders in the Canada, Ireland, the US and the UK about why digital experience quality is important to their business and what challenges they face in improving it.

Almost all business leaders believe it is important to deliver digital quality to their customers (93 per cent) and their employees (89 per cent) and that it will still be important in the next two years. Business leaders can also see what the consequences of failing to deliver digital quality are. They are reported as customer churn (56 per cent), customer complaints (43 per cent) and loss of revenue (39 per cent) and reduced productivity (46 per cent).

When it comes to improving digital experience, business leaders are focusing on getting the data and analytics they need and on achieving quality.

So far, so good. The problem is that the research also highlights gaps between what business leaders understand as good digital experience quality, what they deliver and, most importantly, what their customers demand.

Only 54 per cent rate their customers’ digital experience as excellent and only 63 per cent rate their employees’ digital experience as excellent. More than a third (36 per cent) report that they deliver digital quality that scores of less than 70 per cent. That is not a great score. Nor is it acceptable in this day and age that 78 per cent of business leaders admit that the digital experience quality their company delivers is inconsistent.

Nothing highlights the gap more than this simple finding; 78 per cent of the C-suite say that they will switch brands because of poor digital experience quality but only 56 per cent expect their customers to do the same thing.

Inconsistency is a key issue

I believe that the brands and companies that can deliver consistent, high-quality digital experiences to their customer and their employees will become the brand leaders globally. Currently unheard of brands will emerge to dominate based on their ability to deliver a consistent experience. Why would anyone persist with an inconsistent product when consistent ones are available?

Every dollar or pound that those digital quality leaders invest in the digital experience, in the design of their digital products and services and the digital customer journey, will deliver a return.

The most savvy business leaders are thinking about how they can use digital quality to differentiate their brands from the competition. They are clear that digital quality will give their businesses a competitive edge in the coming months and years. The question that they are wrestling with is how to achieve that consistent, high quality digital experience.

Delivering digital experience quality is not an easy challenge. Most digital products and services are complex with applications, databases, and third party services that have to be integrated. They are delivered to the end user over a mutable series of data centres, routers, switches and nodes.

These elements together create a digital supply chain and the Internet is usually a key part of that digital supply chain. Many business leaders think that it impossible to deliver a consistent digital experience over the Internet, there is simply too much that is outside their control. They need to change their attitude to this. Our analytics show that some some digital experience leaders are already achieving that consistent, high quality digital experience.

The Digital Experience Quality report reveals that half of business leaders are prioritising getting the right data and analytics to improve digital experience quality. There are plenty of tools out there that will monitor the performance of applications and networks in the digital supply chain. However, none of them will be able to tie that performance to actionable insights that will help companies improve digital experience quality across the whole digital supply chain.

My advice to those leaders would be to make sure that the digital quality analytics they adopt take the only perspective that really matters; that of the customer or employee.

Dave Page, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, Actual Experience

Image Credit: Wichy / Shutterstock