What’s omniexperience? Hint: It’s not about you!

What's omniexperience
What's omniexperience

What’s omniexperience? An omnichannel strategy harmonizes the customer’s path into your organization. It’s about unifying the customer’s experience within your organization’s processes (often a sales or customer service process).

Today’s digital natives are the “experience” generation — and they demand more.

At Axway, we call more “omniexperience,” and it means creating a portfolio of experiences that have empathy for humans, their device and platform choices, and their moments in the customer journey.

READ MORE: Customer Experience and HIP: Serving the heart of digital business.

What’s omniexperience?

In short, it puts you in the service of your customers. Taking your company’s value (often expressed as a process) to the customer engagement point, rather than optimizing for the customer who walks in the door, clicks on your website or calls on the phone.

When said differently, whereas omnichannel unifies the experience of your process for your customers expecting them to come to you and express their need in your language, omniexperience fragments your process (your value) so it can be delivered to your customer at their moment of need in their context.

I’m borrowing language from customer journeys and, importantly, from jobs-to-be-done theory to explain this. It’s simple to understand when we think about some examples. My favorites are retail banking and healthcare because they’re two things most every reader of this post will interact with as a human (a customer).

Do you want to go into debt? How about hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt? Well, that’s what you are “buying” when you get a mortgage.

If I asked that question differently… would you like to own a home? A place where you can raise a family, lay down community roots and create memories that last a lifetime?

It’s likely, you have two different answers, first “no” and second “yes.” Omniexperience is about respecting your customer’s “yes” and taking your offering into their process. In my example, integrating the mortgage process into the home buying experience instead of having the customer step out of the experience to go to the bank and get a mortgage.

WATCH: “Creating Customer Experiences in a Multiexperience World” | Brian Otten @ API World 2019

Multiexperience vs. omniexperience

Some are using the word multiexperience instead of omniexperience, but they’re not the same thing.

Multiexperience is the idea that customers choose the device and interaction model they want. Omniexperience is the strategy that companies need to pursue to put their offerings where their customers are, in ways that align with their customer’s experience.

That’s where empathy comes in

It’s not just about the device or interaction model, it’s about the human and their behavior. These humans might, of course, be customers. They might also be employees or partners.

For the experience generation, there are three critical considerations for delivering delightful experiences:

  1. The human
  2. The moment
  3. The job

Here’s another retail banking/personal finance example that I like to use.

I think we can all agree that some people are good with numbers, and some not as much. Some are detail-oriented and some not as much.

Why then do so many banking apps still revolve around the metaphor of a register? The banks are still thinking about their process, the checking account or the loan payment schedule. Not the human experience. Thinking about the human experience, you might make it easier to prepay a loan or give someone confidence in their ability to maintain their lifestyle.

Someone in university is at a different moment than someone preparing for retirement, or a family putting their first kids into school. Each of these moments has specific needs. Each of these people has different requirements.

So why do they all use the same banking app?

And, of course, my favorite way of thinking about “the job” has to do with retail. Order something online and pay attention to how different companies deal with shipping. It’s clear which companies consider the transaction to be completed when the purchase is complete (my mail-order prescription pharmacy), and which companies consider the purchase complete when you receive your item (Apple, Amazon).

Do you want to buy something, or do you want to receive it?

Every time we think about a human, a moment and a job, we have a new set of experiences that can be created to satisfy a need. It’s like thinking about product extensions in the old world. First, you make a product, then you package it in lunch size, end-of-the-world size and in different colors.

In an omniexperience world, you create a core value and then find ways to deliver the experience to different people, at different points in time, for different jobs.

What’s the challenge in an omniexperience world?

How are the experiences delivered? At least in part, through software.

Most companies, I think it’s fair to say, aren’t good at writing lots of software.

Most companies prefer to “write once, run anywhere.” That doesn’t work for the experience generation.

Put the app in a browser and it’ll run anywhere. Until the device doesn’t have a browser (AppleTV, Watch).

Instead of a notification, send an email with a link to get more information. It works great until the idea of a link doesn’t work (think voice computing).

Companies need to design for:

  1. Native device experiences
  2. A variety of interaction models

At a minimum, if you write an app that makes compromises so that it runs on both iOS and Android… but your customer only uses iOS or Android, it becomes very clear to your customer that you’ve optimized for your own experience over theirs.

And it’s not just OS’s, it’s devices. Apple just announced that as of March 2020, Watch apps should be separated from iPhone apps. You need to think about the capabilities of the Watch separate from the phone and from a tablet or TV.

Relatively few do.

It continues because it’s not just OS’s and devices, it’s an interaction model. There are rich notifications, business chat with integrated e-commerce, voice interactions, and augmented reality. There are so many opportunities to create software and engage with new experiences.

Finally, it’s not just for your customers but for your employees and partners too. Want to hire the best people? Partner with the hottest companies? You’re going to have to create an experience that draws those people and companies to you.

Each of these is a multiplier for how much software you need to create. Devices x OSs x interaction models x customer/partner/employee persona. That’s a lot of software, especially when your business model counts on “write once, run everywhere.”

What to do?

Though there are a lot of examples of successful experience-driven companies, we’re really just at the beginning of this computing evolution. Even the Box discussion about the hidden cost of sharing code between iOS and Android is from mid-August 2019.

I believe we need to put some good thinking into what is actually happening. What is this transition about?

  1. Awareness; helping people understand what’s new about omniexperience computing.
  2. Change how you measure success; you can’t only react when the complaints are too loud to ignore, but current ROI models don’t suffice. They don’t value consumption, only production, and that doesn’t seem to justify action in the right direction.
  3. Realize that old words don’t reflect new realities; specifically, how we define things like “notifications” (they’re not emails that come 18 hours after an event happens) or “supports” (maybe your app runs on my new device, but if it doesn’t optimize for my device features, it doesn’t really support my device. Want to test this? Open your retail banking app and see if it supports your iPhone’s accessibility features around font size.). It means in part being more thoughtful about the words we use, and what we accept as “good enough.”

A final metaphor to frame the challenge

Have you ever thought about learning to play an instrument? When you start, you’re playing notes. At some point along the way, after lots of practice, those notes become music.

Making music eventually happens with practice, even if it’s low-quality music because there’s some connection between the musician and the instrument. It happens with practice, perhaps unintentionally, but it’s never about “just play the notes more correctly.”

You can’t just keep “making the software more correctly” and have it transform into an experience. There has to be intent and that’s not a technology problem – though words and culture without the technology building blocks won’t do it either. The culture, intent and technology have to go hand-in-hand.

Discover more information: The difference between being digital and being digitally transformed.

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