Holistic Experience Management - Deep Dive with Arnie Guha

During his June 2, 2022 presentation “Reuniting with the X: How to Deliver a Winning Experience Across Channels & Constituencies”, Phase 5 Partner Arnie Guha  described how User Experience, Customer Experience, and Employee Experience should be reviewed and assessed holistically to identify specific initiatives that will work together to deliver a better experience overall. The presentation was delivered at the Insights Association X Event, an annual forum which brings UX, CX & Insights professionals together with content and conversations to foster development of a unified voice of the customer. It inspired further ideas and discussion related to the various stakeholders of and contributors to experience.

After the presentation, Arnie took a few minutes to sit down with the Phase 5 Insights team and dive deeper into the topic. We had the opportunity to further explore the concept of experience design from multiple perspectives, and to have our additional questions answered by the expert himself. Read on to learn about the incremental insights gathered during our follow-up conversation.

Arnie Guha Interview Excerpts

Q: Can you tell us a little about what inspired this presentation, and why you think it struck a chord at the X Event?

A: We work with many large corporations, and a recurring theme we see is the challenge of creating a unified experience for the customer across various transactions, services, business lines, and/or regions. When you consider a global organization with a multitude of businesses, the processes, roles, workflows, and even KPIs used to manage each of these businesses can be very different. And then when mergers and acquisitions happen, the complexity can increase even further with legacy systems to integrate as well.

The London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) is a great example of a complex multi-national organization. Headquartered in the UK, LSEG operates several different companies across the spectrum of financial markets infrastructure, from capital markets and trading, to tech platforms, data, and analytics. How do they create an overarching brand experience for their customers with the breadth of products and services they provide, and with a very diverse workforce that is spread across the globe? This is the type of question we tend to see corporations asking.

 

Q: So where / how does one begin the process of creating a unified experience?

A: This question could (and does) generate great academic debate. But I will say this:

One very important step is to collapse any organizational wall between UX & CX. The wave of digital transformation that we are currently experiencing has accelerated this need. Now, when interacting with a brand is typically digital on some level, good Customer Experience requires thoughtful User Experience, and experience design should be informed by what is important to the customer. The best organizations are making this happen, sometimes brand by brand, or product by product.

However the Employee Experience impacts the Customer Experience as well. If you create an omni-channel map of your customer experience, you will see how customers and employees and systems cross. This exercise can provide a very good view, enabling us to see universally the customer touch points that are most impacted by EX and UX.

As an example, we worked with one of Canada’s largest insurance companies and wanted to improve customer experience for a particular aspect of their services. We mapped the customer journey and also overlaid the advisor’s journey for this service, allowing us to identify gaps and opportunities in both, and generate a comprehensive set of recommendations to improve the overall experience.

 

Q: Is there a particular sequence that you’d recommend when digging into UX, CX, and EX together?

A: Yes – first understand whose journey are we mapping? For whom are we creating the experience? So: understand the customer first, quantitatively, through segments, and then, elaborate through personas, before digging further into the experience. The best experiences today know the customer well enough to be anticipatory.

Once personas are established and understood, think of experience in the broadest possible terms – covering interactions across channels and touchpoints. Once again however, it’s important to identify and assess the intersections with employees and systems across the touchpoints, as with the insurance company example above.

 

Q: In the Future of the Interface paper, Phase 5 identifies 4 key metrics for evaluating UX. They are Efficiency, Discoverability, Memorability, and Accessibility. Do these 4 metrics apply to CX and EX as well?

A: Those 4 pillars of experience did originate from the world of UX, but can have a broader application today.

Take Discoverability for example. Think back 10 years to a time when the web was mature, there was e-commerce and online banking, but still lots of bricks & mortar transactions happening. The division between online and offline experiences then typically hinged on self-service versus a managed or aided experience: In the online experience of that time, you were typically on your own, vs. the offline experience when you typically had someone available to help you (e.g. a salesperson). Discoverability online was key because there was no human support and the user needed to be able to find what she needed independently.

Fast forward to today. The online experience has changed, and the user may actually have human (or AI) intervention to help find what she needs. Discoverability is still important, but how we measure it is fundamentally different. Instead of asking, “How easy is it to find the button on the screen?”, we might ask, “How well did we anticipate the user’s needs and present them with a solution?”, which could apply in assessments of UX, CX, or EX, especially as each of these is increasingly supported with technology. And the burden of improving these metrics is now on the app, and by extension, on the brand.

One potential metric that ISN’T in the 4 listed above is the “degree of anticipation” of who the user is and what her needs are. In order to anticipate, however, one has to understand who she is, as mentioned in the answer above.

 

Q: How often do you recommend taking the pulse of CX, UX, and EX? How similar and different are they in terms of their rate of change?

A: The pulse check should be regular and ongoing. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Some of our clients do brand, customer, and employee monitors annually or semi-annually, and they tend to happen at a very high level; i.e. the results give you a number and you can see where things have gone up or gone down. The overall number often changes very little, but the attendant analysis indicates where you should look under the hood / where you should do a deeper dive such as a qualitative UX study for example.

 

Q: Is there one X that most often gets neglected? Is there one X that is typically the biggest driver of overall X?

A: Based on our own observations, we have sometimes seen EX get treated differently, and passed off to the HR group to manage in isolation. When organizations are striving to be customer-centric while simultaneously working to maximize profitability, the temptation is to limit scope and focus only on the outward experience, i.e. UX & CX. However we have seen the impact that the Employee Experience can have where it intersects with the other two, and managing them holistically leads to a better experience overall.

 

Contact us to discuss how we can support your organization’s journey to becoming more customer-centric.

Written by Stephan Sigaud

Stephan Sigaud, MBA, is Phase 5’s EVP of Marketing. Stephan is passionate about partnering with clients to address their challenges and opportunities around customer centricity. Stephan has more than 25 years’ experience in Market Research and Customer Loyalty and Experience and is a Board Director of the Insights Association. He has also been volunteering with the Customer Experience Professionals Association (as past Chair of the CXPA Toronto Network) and the Canadian Marketing Association (as member of the Leaders Network and past co-Chair of the CMA CX Council).