Don’t Miss Out, Learn the Secrets of Experience Makers

Don’t Miss Out, Learn the Secrets of Experience Makers
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Did you know that experience-driven businesses (EDB) outperform their peers by 1.6x in customer satisfaction ratings and 1.7x in net promoter score (NPS)? A recent study by Forrester Consulting examined the characteristics of an EDB and found that organizations that prioritize and invest in digital and customer experience initiatives are more likely to achieve key performance indicators, and will experience a greater return on their investments than businesses that are not prioritizing digital and customer experience.

The study found that performance improvements for EDBs extend across the entire customer journey from discovery to post-purchase support. All of this can translate into significant business value: 1.6x brand awareness, 1.9x return on ad spend, 1.5x employee satisfaction, 1.9x average order value, 1.7x customer retention, and 1.6x customer satisfaction (Forrester).

One thing for sure is that experience-driven businesses produce great customer experiences.   We know what a great experience is when we encounter one. But for those of us responsible for creating great customer experiences, a deeper understanding of the essential elements that comprise the best experiences is needed. So, we decided to dig deeper and reveal top experiences and then insights into the inner workings that make these experiences possible.

Key challenge: Consistent experiences

In many cases, we know that corporate websites are often created by teams working in different departments, locations, and geographies, and externally (for example, agencies or consultants).   These teams create content that is being consumed by customers, and, more importantly, prospective customers, through different touchpoint and channels. It is very important that this content is created following the corporate standards and guidelines to ensure branding, accessibility, responsive design, and legal compliance are being respected.

There are three major reasons why corporations find creating a consistent user experience challenging:

  1.     Enablement and training
  2.     Governance and workflow
  3.     Flexibility and extensibility

All these reasons are typically a result of an aging CMS solution that is not able to handle the agility and demands required for an experience-first culture. The modern CMS solution does not just need to be able to deliver the best customer experience through the latest JavaScript libraries, newest web design patterns, or latest experience innovation, but it also needs to be able to adapt and deliver the best experience to the content creators.  A state-of-the-art CMS needs to be:

  • easy and intuitive to use with limited training,
  • flexible and extendible to the needs of the ever-changing digital experience with limited developer support,
  • full creative authoring but still with governance and standards enforcement,
  • web based and not requiring a desktop installation, and
  • fully responsive web design for authoring and final website.

Enablement and training of large disparate global teams are challenging, especially when many of these content creators are infrequent users of the system. They may only be in the CMS monthly or quarterly to perform content refreshes, so the CMS authoring experience needs to be intuitive and guided. The CMS also needs to be able to restrict the author from breaking branding and compliance rules but, at the same time, offer the flexibility to assemble and create a compelling experience. With an experience-first culture, the design and IT teams are always evolving and enhancing the corporate experience guidelines and standards. Furthermore, the solution needs to be seamless, rolling out new capability yet ensuring that the current content is not affected. The author should be able to adopt these new capabilities without additional training. The CMS uses a consistent user interface language that the author can easily understand, similar to how a person entering an elevator knows which button will close the doors.

With Adobe Experience Manager, brand managers and content leads can create intelligent templates with restrictive content structure and layouts, but with flexible content wells and areas of the template where authors have the freedom to assemble approved components like Lego blocks (see Figure 1).  These templates ensure that the authors with basic training could easily and quickly create content that complies with the corporate standards and guidelines, but still allow them to deliver a compelling user experience.

Figure 1.

These templates are constructed from a single base template, and various structure and authoring components that are developed by IT — which are then approved by the corporate design and legal teams. The structure components are what the brand managers and content strategists use to create the templates for the authors.

  • The structure components include headers, footer, navigation, search bars, content wells, and other page features that are static on the template however authors maybe allowed to configure but not remove them (as noted in Figure 1).
  • The authoring components are the components that are available to the authors to add to the content wells. The template creator configures each content well with which authoring components and component features that would be available. Authoring components include image, text, list, call to action, and any other components that would allow authors to create the experience.

The component features are functionality that authors could configure as part of the authoring component — i.e., for a text component that could be rich-text-editing, spell checker, styling tags (H1, H2…). See Figure 2.

Figure 2.

Here are two examples (Figure 3) where an Experience Manager template would guarantee a consistent user experience. In the first example, the template and structure components will ensure the search bar remains on the top of the screen regardless of the content scrolled position and screen size.

In the second example (Figure 4), the template layout remains consistent between geographies and content categories.

Figure 3.
Figure 4.

In the examples below (Figure 5), we show a more enhanced template functionality where the author has the ability to control styling within a template.

Figure 5.

With Adobe Experience Manager, the template creator has the ability to associate approved CSS styling with authoring components without having to define different templates or components. The template creator can configure the associated styling like they configure component features at the component and template level. The stylings can be combined or mutually exclusive in grouping to provide flexibility. Like CSS, the stylings are based on hierarchy and can be overridden at the child lever (i.e., if an author specifies a styling of red font color at the page level, all the text in the components will be red unless otherwise overridden in the component level styling).

The examples below (Figures 6 and 7) show how the author has direct control of styling of the components, and doesn’t need go back to the IT and design teams for a component update or new component. This empowers the author to make design and layout decisions on the content using approved designs that are compliant with the brand.

Figure 6.
Figure 7.

With large teams of content authoring working in disparate regions and areas, it’s hard for the brand to ensure a consistent customer experience and brand compliance. Adobe Experience Manager can simplify how the different teams manage and coordinate their activity and ensure a consistent and intended brand experience.

To learn more about how Adobe can help you design and deliver awe-inspiring experiences time and time again, visit the Adobe Experience Manager page.

Thanks to Kyle Chau  for his contributions to this article.

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