Of Muce and Men: Finding success in the digital experience economy

Published on the 10/06/2020 | Written by Heather Wright

Customer experience_Gartner CX report

X marks the spot…

It’s the meeting of the x’s – CX, EX, UX and MX – and it’s spawned a new term – MUCE – and, according to Gartner, it’s a critical factor for success in the digital experience economy.

Jason Wong, Gartner VP research and advisory, says customer experience, employee experience, user experience and multi-experience (itself listed as one of Gartner’s Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2020), are all inextricably intertwined in the digital experience economy, mutually reinforcing each other. Combine all four and, Wong argues, you’re on the winning track.

Customer and employee interactions are more remote, mobile, virtual and distributed – and there’s no going back ­– Wong says. Providing a customer experience is more crucial than ever, but in order for companies to earn their share of positive emotions and memories, they must compete for customer’s time and attention and avoid any wasted motion or non-value-added feature which unnecessarily steals the user’s attention and consumes their time.

“Less effort, fewer steps, faster outcomes and quicker answers are needed.”

“This is why it is incredibly important to design and deliver great experiences by mastering user experience and multi-experience principles,” Wong says in a blog post.

Creating those ‘enduring memories’ for customers, however, requires customer experience across every employee, with Wong arguing that EX isn’t a nice to have – or something that exists in its own silo – but should instead have equal emphasis to CX.

“Customer experience strategies need to generate enduring memories of the product or service by incorporating great employee experience, user experience and multi-experience principles,” The Success in the Digital Experience Economy Requires Connecting MX, UX, CX and EX report, which Wong co-authored, says.

“Leading companies in CX invest heavily in EX, particularly by empowering frontline workers with MX capabilities and great UX in the digital workplace.

“Great UX strategies reduce effort and friction by designing for an MX world in support of CX and EX.

“MX strategies are required to address the architectural and development needs of organisations to support customer and employee UX, particularly the overlapping experiences that are most impactful.”

At its heart, MUCE is a call for companies to put themselves in their user’s shoes – whether the user is a customer or staff member – and start with use cases that are sufficiently visionary, but also consultative with real users, building links between the different ‘experiences’ to delivery business outcome-driven experiences that drive customer value and employee engagement.

The report says for many, that’s not so easy, with business units and IT organisations still operating in silos for customer experience and employee experience strategies, leading to increased technical, process and data debt for everyone.

Meanwhile, the user experience discipline is still maturing in skills and methodologies, and a multi-experience approach to architecture and development is ‘typically lacking’.

“Investing in both areas together can improve business value and agility,” the report notes.

Gartner research shows 82 percent of CEOs have a digital transformation or management initiative in place, with organisations often already working on initiatives such as modernisation of workplace tools, cloud migration, and expansion of customer service channels.

They’re all ‘valid and worthy’, the report notes. But it questions the impact of Covid and the financial crunch which will likely lead to most C-level executives instinctively thinking about cost optimisation, rather than investing in ‘the next great experience’.

“Internal resources will be tightened and stretched thin, while outsourced providers need to prove their value more than ever.

“And customers and employees will have different outlooks individually in the aftermath of Covid-19. Customers may be defecting or trading down, or interacting less, or weighting alternatives. Employees may be anxious about their futures, new ways of working, their safety.”

In such uncertain times, Gartner says IT leaders need to broker the conversations to keep momentum going.

“At the top of the list should be improving the experiences that keep customers and employees engaged. Less effort, fewer steps, faster outcomes and quicker answers are needed.”

And, of course, there’s the issue of investing in the right things.

The 2019 Gartner CX Management survey found 63 percent of organisations which managed to exceed customer perceptions took an aggressive stance to technology adoption, and were willing to adopt emerging tech.

“The pandemic forced organisations to take some MX ideas from ‘nice to have’ to ‘must have’. More remote and mobile app access is expected, such as videoconferencing and mobile commerce. Conversational interfaces, such as chatbots and smart speakers, are becoming essential to key business functions, like customer self-service. Virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality are changing the way people diagnose, collaborate, train and work from home. Wearables and IoT devices are leading to an ambient, always-on digital experience both at home and at work, which might now be the same place for many people,” the report says.

That presents a potential minefield for IT, who will need to apply a MX mentality when creating digital experiences in support of new CX and EX expectations while also dealing with the requirement for new skills and techniques needed for the new technologies.

“Digital transformation and optimisation initiatives require a lot of change to processes, methodologies and thinking, such as adopting enterprise agile, DevOps, and product-centric delivery. These shifts help align and integrate business and IT strategies toward common value delivery for CX and EX outcomes. To implement an MX strategy across both customer and employee UX, IT leaders also need to employ specific and measured practices to connect CX and EX.

“Without understanding and mastering these modern practices, success in the digital experience economy is harder to measure and achieve. You need to change the way your organisation thinks about and invests in these practices because they are critical to the upfront understanding of the interwoven opportunities between CX, EX, UX and MX.”

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