Total experience: A trend for future business

A digital image of a person working through HR controls.
(Image credit: Alexander Supertramp / Shutterstock)

The 2023 socio-economic outlook is being defined by rising costs, a battle for talent and impactful shifts in the workplace, which is having an indelible effect on UK businesses. Ambitious digital transformation plans are coming face-to-face with new realities. At the same time, employee dissatisfaction caused by burnout and stagnant wages is becoming increasingly commonplace.

Unsurprisingly, engagement strategies have been pushed to the top of the agenda for many enterprises. In turn, business leaders are taking a hard look at their existing digital capabilities, aiming to drive greater internal and external efficiencies, retain customers and keep employees engaged.

The impact felt by customers and employees has been compounded by the realities of hybrid working. More than three quarters of organizations operate on hybrid working models; the distributed workforce is here to stay with the majority of employees working remotely at least part of the time. Navigating this state of play and delivering seamless interactions across devices requires a new approach.

If the past few years have taught us anything, it’s that enterprises which strengthen their customer and employee relationships have a better chance of overcoming unprecedented challenges. This is where the total experience (TX) proves vital, driving shared, supported experiences for all users.

What is total experience and why is it important?

Put simply, TX is the combination of customer and employee experiences. This requires all touchpoints to be identified and connected, promoting greater synergies throughout the business.

Currently, only one in four workers rate their experience as excellent. Customer expectations are also higher than ever before, with many feeling the pinch of ongoing socio-economic pressures. As a result, the TX market is growing rapidly as many enterprises invest in new ways to engage users.

It is no longer about focusing on the customer or employee experience in isolation, but rather a new, unified perspective. With the right technology in place to facilitate seamless interactions, organizations can break down silos and deliver high-level experiences for anyone that engages with the business.

Gartner predicts that by 2024, enterprises offering TX will outperform competitors by 25% in satisfaction metrics for both customer and employee experiences. Additionally, by 2026, 60% of large organisations will use TX to transform business models and achieve "world-class advocacy levels."

Keith O’Kelly

Keith O’Kelly is Global Chief Revenue Officer of Enterprise Service Management at IFS.

The role of ESM in improving TX

Building a strong TX involves getting the right tools and technology in place to drive optimization, which is particularly important for companies who have shifted to a hybrid working model. This includes investing in new ways to speed up workflows and streamline back-end processes.

Enterprise service management (ESM) is a great way to achieve this, simplifying routine tasks for employees, regardless of where they are based or the device they are working on. It does this by applying principles of IT service management (ITSM) to all departments, including standard technologies like automation and incident request software, as well as self-service capabilities.

The reality is that over 40% of employees spend their time carrying out repetitive and mundane tasks. ESM can help organizations to move key business functions away from manual ways of working, opting instead for automated digital methods. This helps employees to efficiently manage high volumes of workflows, reduce errors and provide higher-quality outcomes, anytime and anywhere.

In fact, the business benefits of ESM are huge. It allows HR teams to effectively handle internal processes, including onboarding, training and staffing, while finance teams can reap the rewards of a faster and more efficient way to approve expenses, monitor payments and send invoices. For those in customer service roles, automation helps employees to answer high volumes of requests.

If an employee is unable to receive relevant customer data, it will have a knock-on effect. A customer’s experience is only as good as an employee’s experience. We must also consider the wellbeing of staff. By reducing stress and driving greater internal efficiencies, employees will be more inclined to bring their best selves to work. In turn, they will deliver a better service to their customers. The role of ESM is engineering trust and sculpturing change is paramount to success.

The future of business

Doubling down on TX and implementing ESM principles is quickly becoming a top priority for business leaders looking to respond to the evolving needs of their industry and people. The tough socio-economic landscape has increased pressure on organizations to keep employees and customers happy. Embracing a new era of innovation is therefore critical – and business leaders that implement ESM across all areas of the organization will be better placed to thrive in the coming years.

This won’t be a one-day job and will require an iterative process, taking the time to build the right foundations from the start. Collaboration with subject experts to truly grasp the needs of different departments will be key in today’s increasingly complex and competitive business landscape.

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Keith O’Kelly

Keith O’Kelly is Global Chief Revenue Officer of Enterprise Service Management at IFS.