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What's the best digital experience you've ever had?

Most can't answer this question

Tech Research Asia has been doing a series of investigations into the experiences and expecations of Australian consumers and the way CIOs, CMOs and CxOs are delivering n partnership with Sitecore and Microsoft. We've published some of the research here and also conducted a number of roundtable discussions and webinars, including on exciting topics like VR, wearables, location-based services, and connected cars.

As part of the research we've been asking people across Australia what the best digital experience is that they've ever had and which organisation delivered it, whether this be a domestic entity or a global one. Can you answer it?

We found that most can't. Indeed the majority of responses we got were some variation of, "I don't know". Along with a few not-suitable-for-work expressions of frustration with online experiences. The rest were skewed to the services people use most frequently (such as online banking or perhaps an airline portal for frequent travellers) or brands that are associated with technology (large tech vendors, web providers, or ISPs). They weren't, in our view, telling us what the "best" experience was - just the one that came most easily to mind.

This result led us to a few possible interpretations. One is that there are likely a lot of CIOs, CMOs, and CxOs that don't really undertake enough research in the form of trying out digital experiences with a range of other brands across industries in order to discover the "best" experiences.

This was supported by the responses we got from CIOs and CMOs that participated in some roundtable lunches we held during a national roadshow. While the majority of organisations do undertake research and apply data to their approaches, it's very often just looking at what direct competitors are doing and then asking what customers want of their organisation or what they think of already created designs, apps, or sites.  It's not what we'd call adventurous discovery.

Another interpretation is that people are tired of of the term "digital". That's not to say digital isn't important. Everyone agrees it is and that it has to be delivered well. But the fact something is "digital" isn't the key thing. The important thing is the destination or outcome people want from their engagement with an organisation. We'd argue that if we had asked the question differently about specific activities - such as 'What's the best streaming music service?", or "What's the best travel booking service?", or "which retailer has the best service online?" - then most people would be able to provide an answer.

The take aways? Make sure that  your research and discovery  around digital engagement or experiences is adventurous and goes beyond your own bubble of personal preference or industry. There are many great examples to trial that will stimulate ideas and opportunities. And don't talk about "digital"  - just make sure you deliver it to exceed expectations.