What is experience optimization?
Experience Optimization (EXO) is the ongoing process of understanding your customers and providing the best possible experience for them across all touchpoints. EXO allows businesses to improve the experiences of their customers through controlled experimentation and dynamic experience delivery. Using Experience Optimization, businesses are able to vet and quantify the impact of their ideas with real-time customer data in ways that were not possible before.
The goal of experience optimization is to discover the best experience for every customer.
However, the “best” experience varies depending upon the audience. Businesses serve myriad audiences members that are unique in their interests, needs, and motivations. Detailed understanding of the customer allows for tailored, highly relevant, and engaging experiences that are connected across any and all touchpoints where they may interact with a business.
The measurement of the best experience is—whether it is also the highest-performing experience or not—an aspirational goal, but essential in order to ensure that businesses are continuously updating their understanding of their customers and improving their business goals in the process.
Businesses practicing EXO focus on a data-informed view of their customers. Understanding what motivates, delights, and engages customers, and what motivated them to arrive at a touchpoints are key to making informed decisions about what to optimize to deliver the best experience.
Why EXO matters
In the offline world, an understanding of the customer comes naturally, but slowly—you learn a customer’s preferences over repeat visits, pick up on their habits, make assumptions about their demeanor based on initial interactions.
In the online world, customers are almost anonymous at the start of an engagement with a business. Savvy experience optimizers capitalize on the opportunity to deliver relevant, targeted experience to their customers based on who they are and what they do. Not only does this ensure the best possible experience for individual customers, but it enables delivery of a targeted and personalized experience at scale.
The benefits of experience optimization are enormous and include:
- Expertise: deep theoretical and practical knowledge of your customers, partners, and prospects
- Confidence: the ability to make decisions based on by real user data, relevant statistics, individual user insight, and behavioral analytics
- Speed: the capability to quickly implement those decisions based on real-time testing and live results
- Ease of use: having the competitive advantage of providing your customers with better experiences with intuitive design and functionality
How experience optimization is accomplished
Experience Optimization driven by a process that includes A/B testing, multivariate testing, user research, analytics, and personalization. This can be augmented by synchronously incorporating many sources of data, and by delivering a wide array of experiences through the use of a digital experience platform.
These changes are having a cross-industry impact:
- Media: increase ad impressions, time spent on site, and engagement.
- Ecommerce: increase revenue per visitor, average order value, and display relevant products to different types of visitors.
- Travel: improve booking rates, increase social sharing, and drive more ancillary revenue.
- B2B: companies convert more visitors to leads, improve the performance of their nurture programs, and rapidly iterate through product development and enhancements.
For the first time, channel, campaign, and product owners can measure, learn, and take action on experiences that they deliver. This shift in business practices towards distributed, empowered decision-making by employees closest to customer feedback and interactions allows them to uncover low-performing experiences, propose informed solutions, and quickly collect data to understand the impact of their changes on the customer experience.
Enabled decision-makers at every level of an organization is a transformative change to the way individuals within companies interact, challenge one another, encourage transparency and discovery, and allow their previously held beliefs about their customers to be proven wrong. This necessitates the following:
- Challenging the status quo is not just encouraged, but required—continual surfacing of ideas from a variety of perspectives on the customer experience is essential to a robust, forward-thinking strategy
- Questioning assumptions is necessary—’common wisdom’ for one digital experience may not translate to another; there are no universal best practices
- Measurement and analysis is a first step to understanding experience performance, but creative approaches to the multifaceted customer experience drive EXO forward without falling into repetition
Why you must optimize continuously
Technology and how people interact with it constantly change, and businesses must constantly reevaluate how they engage with their customers. As a result of these changes, EXO is an ongoing endeavor. The rapid expansion of devices and marketing channels, evolution of customer expectations, and changes in business practices create a dynamic environment in which businesses must innovate to capture their audience’s attention and engagement.
Regardless of whether a customer engages with a business on a particular device or channel, the business must consider one cohesive view of their customer interactions.
Commitment to finding the best experience for every customer touchpoint also requires persistence in creativity and discovery. However, this search for the best experience is not in vain; instead, the iterative nature of Experience Optimization guarantees that many discoveries will be made with each experiment. These discoveries might include:
- Visitors from different browsers convert at different rates on a webpage’s primary CTA
- Customers engaging with social media convert on offers including visual content, while mobile visitors convert better on text-only offers
- Customers based in cities value free shipping over a price discount