The “digital experience” is one of the biggest trends in marketing today. Although the concept defies easy definition, it essentially refers to all of the interactions a customer has with a company’s digital presence. This could range from browsing a website to making an online purchase to using a mobile app. It also involves touchpoints such as in-store digital displays and kiosks, location-based services that deliver personalized content, and communication technologies such as online chat.

Obviously, the digital experience has a direct impact on a company’s brand experience. If a customer’s digital interactions are simple, streamlined and personalized, the customer will likely have a positive view of the company. If they are confusing and cumbersome, the opposite is likely to be true.

Not surprisingly, then, the digital experience is a high priority for marketers. In a recent Adobe Digital Marketing Survey, 41 percent of respondents said they were focused on the digital experience, and 81 percent said the maturity of that experience had a real impact on their organization’s business. However, just 7 percent rated their digital maturity as “advanced,” with 52 percent saying they lacked the skills and resources to make significant progress toward digital maturity.

At a recent Adobe Customer Experience Forum, Microsoft’s director of customer experience said that the digital experience comprises four “layers”:

  • Data on the customer, which should be collected in one place
  • Customer-focused business processes and workflows
  • Employees who are trained and empowered to optimize the customer experience
  • A feedback loop that supports continuous process improvement

While data analytics, artificial intelligence and other technology tools can help organizations improve the digital experience, the human element is critically important. In fact, experts say that you must transform the digital experience of your employees in order to deliver the ideal digital experience to your customers.

Adobe’s CIO, Cynthia Stoddard, clearly agrees with that perspective. When she first joined the company, Stoddard took a hard look at all of the technology tools in use within Adobe with an eye toward enhancing employees’ digital experience. She also takes a marketer’s approach to in-house IT, developing “personas” to better understand the needs and desires of various user groups.

Collaboration is naturally a focal point of these efforts. If you think about it, digital collaboration tools represent one of the primary ways that employees interact with each other and with customers. According to a recent report from Webtorials, more than two-thirds of the typical workday is spent on communications-related activities. However, almost 15 percent of total work time is wasted because those activities are inefficient or ineffective, costing companies more than $15,000 per employee per year.

But it’s not just a matter of productivity. Today’s employees have consumer-like expectations with regard to technology, and become dissatisfied if they’re required to use tools that aren’t efficient. And dissatisfied employees have a direct correlation to dissatisfied customers.

There’s no silver bullet to all of this. It requires research, data analysis, focus groups and other activities that can help drive the development of a comprehensive collaboration strategy. But the effort is worthwhile. By enhancing their employees’ digital experience, organizations can recoup millions of dollars in lost productivity and lay the foundation for enhancing the customer’s experience.