Designing digital customer journeys used to entail a relatively simple decision: you’d go web, you’d go mobile, or you’d go both. But as technology has evolved, so have customer expectations. To satisfy these increasing expectations, businesses need to shift from omnichannel-focused customer journeys to multiexperiences ones.
But what does this mean exactly?
What Is Multiexperience?
As customer-obsessed digital disruptors are entering every industry, they are forcing companies to fundamentally change the way they do business and interact with customers. Because of these new players and the new technologies they leverage, customers are unforgiving and expect the businesses they transact with to put their needs first and serve them effectively and easily. After all, switching providers is now as easy as clicking a button.
Multiexperience is a concept put forward by Gartner in 2018 (see Multiexperience Development Has Arrived) that addresses this fundamental shift in how companies should design their digital strategies to engage with customers. It is about moving from a traditional inside-out, channel-focused mentality towards one that focuses on delivering an optimal customer experience. When developing digital products, services and experiences, multiexperience essentially means two things:
- Interacting across multiple touchpoints: Mobile and web are no longer enough. Application leaders need to develop experiences for an increasing number of touchpoints to serve their customers (and employees) effectively, including chatbots, voice and personal assistants, wearables, and augmented and virtual reality. Being truly multiexperience, however, is more than just having a presence on those touchpoints—you can’t get away with just duplicating functionality from one to the other. The end result should feel and behave “native” and natural to that touchpoint.
- Ensuring a seamless experience across touchpoints: Customers want to get things done with as little effort and friction as possible, using whichever device, touchpoint or interaction modality (or combination of them) is most convenient to them. A multiexperience approach ensures that all touchpoints of interaction with your business are consistent, and that customers can transition seamlessly between them without having to relearn or duplicate steps.
Going Beyond Channel-Thinking: From Multichannel to Omnichannel to Multiexperience
The concepts of omnichannel and multiexperience may appear similar. But just like omnichannel is the next evolution of multichannel, multiexperience is the next evolution of omnichannel.
Multichannel was all about giving companies the ability to connect with customers on various channels, like a website, Facebook, Instagram, and a physical store, for example. But each channel was often independent of the other, managed in isolation and reflecting its own corporate silo, which often resulted in a poor experience for customers.
Omnichannel, as the next evolution of multichannel, seeked to address this by ensuring that, not only could the customer reach the company via a multitude of channels but that these were also connected. When the customer switched channels or devices, the information progressed to the next channel or device, somehow unifying the sales and marketing experience.
But while omnichannel has been seen as the holy grail of digital customer journeys, it has not lived up to the promise. Why? Because it still reflects an inside-out mentality that focuses on channels, and in which the company establishes where and how the customer engages with the business. The thing is, customers don’t care about which channel they are in, they just want to get the job done in the most convenient and effortless way. So instead of chasing channels, businesses should focus on optimizing the experience itself.
Multiexperience has moved the focus from technology and channels to thinking about how people will use applications and interact with a company. It seeks to provide optimal experiences that are tailored to the individual customer or user, their context and the touchpoints and interaction modalities they choose to accomplish any given task.
A good example of a successful multiexperience strategy is Domino’s Pizza. Customers can order pizza in 15 different ways from their favorite devices, using whatever interaction modality is most convenient—voice on google home and messenger, text, smart TV, you name it. Domino’s did a 180º company overhaul, turning critics into fervent brand advocates and achieving a 90x increase in stock value. Key to this success was an obsession for making it more and more convenient for customers to order from them, and leveraging technology to make it happen.
Consistency Across Digital Customer Journeys
Now, while you should ensure your company gives customers experiences for multiple devices, touchpoints, and interaction modalities, and that they feel natural and tailored to them, there is an element that is also critical to ensure the end-goal—your customers’ experience—is truly outstanding: consistency.
But that entails more than just using the same branding guidelines and tone of voice. Consistency means that how I order a pizza or get a quote for my new insurance should be more or less the same, no matter the touchpoint or device. If for some reason I need to change devices in the middle of the task, the switch between touchpoints must happen naturally. Take a look at UberEats, for example:
On a normal day, you’d pick up your phone, open the app, choose the restaurant you want to order from, make the order, and pay for it. But imagine that your phone is dead, and you decide to use your desktop to place your order. You open the app, choose the restaurant you want to order from, make the order, and pay for it. The experience in the way you order is pretty much the same. You also don’t have to create a new account, or add your credit card and address again, because you already did that in the mobile version.
Consistency of the digital experiences allows people to move seamlessly from one device and experience modality to another, while preserving context and progress. There is no need to relearn and everything feels familiar.
We discussed in a previous post how creating an “Experience System” can help you achieve consistency. In summary, by developing a set of re-usable experience components that comprise all the layers that make up a digital experience—not just design and UX, but also business logic, data and integrations—expansion to new channels and touchpoints becomes easier and you become intentional in ensuring consistency across all of them. If you’d like to learn more I encourage you to read our blog post on Experience Systems.
So, how do you make your multiexperience strategy a reality? That’s where multiexperience development platforms come in.
Multiexperience Development Platforms
Multiexperience development platforms (MXDPs) give you the tools that allow you to create multiple applications across various touchpoints and interaction modalities.
The advantage of MXDPs over pre-packaged, off-the-shelf, or SaaS software, is that they give you the ability to continuously create without limits and deliver truly unique experiences. They also save you the hidden costs and extra integration effort that usually comes with pre-packaged solutions.
In 2019, Gartner published the Magic Quadrant for Multiexperience Development Platforms. Many vendors listed in this Magic Quadrant are traditionally mobile application development platforms that have extended their use cases and offering to meet evolving business’ needs. This includes capabilities to develop:
- Mobile and web apps, including iOS and Android native mobile apps
- Progressive web apps, and responsive web apps
- Smartphone and tablet apps
- Wearable, AR/VR, IoT, AI apps.
According to Gartner,
“By 2023, more than 25% of the mobile apps, progressive web apps and conversational apps at large enterprises will be built and/or run through a multiexperience development platform (MXDP)."
By default, MXDPs are not “build once, run everywhere” solutions. However, some vendors offer low-code capabilities that allow you to reuse existing pieces of the experience—i.e., UI, business logic, data or integrations—across channels and avoid having to recreate them in different technologies.
Choosing the Right Multiexperience Development Platform
If you’re considering multiexperience development platforms for your business needs and customer demands, Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Multiexperience Development Platforms is the perfect place to learn more. And to discover what users have to say about the leading MXDPs, complement your research with Gartner Peer Insights ‘Voice of the Customer’: Multiexperience Development Platforms.