The Digital Demands of the Modern Customer: Meeting, or Exceeding?

At CxO Disrupt Perth, Some of Western Australia's Leading Executives discussed what it takes to engage customers on digital platforms in the modern era.


Providing a great digital experience is not a differentiator in most industries now, it’s a necessity. Without having everything available at the touch of a finger, customers will quickly find another business which provides that mobility.

In modern times, digital should not be segmented to one department or merged with the IT functions, instead digital needs to be adopted by the whole organisation and implemented where it suits, whether that be HR or marketing.

At CxO Disrupt Perth, the panel ‘Great Digital Expectations: The Next Phase of Engagement’ discussed how digital has a role to play in every facet of a business, and what it takes to engage customers by providing the best user experience possible.

Will Customers Ever Be Happy? How to Set The New Bar

Consumers expectation has risen tenfold in recent years, as forward-thinking companies like Amazon and Netflix have taken advantage of new digital technologies to provide a seamless user experience.

“It’s worth noting that details matter in the user experience. Users expect the same experience, whether it’s government, utility or with mobile apps like Facebook.” – Steven Preston, Akamai Technologies

It’s raised the bar for organisations that aren’t traditionally oriented towards digital, as Steven Preston, Head of Marketing – ANZ at Akamai Technologies, described that every company now needs to match the likes of Facebook when it comes to user experiences.

“It’s worth noting that details matter in the user experience. Users expect the same experience, whether it’s government, utility or with mobile apps like Facebook.”

The crucial factor in achieving a seamless customer experience is by first recognising that digital is not a completely alternative technology or feature for a business. Instead it’s simply a different platform that helps businesses maintain an omni-channel experience.

Aaron Collyer, Head of Digital and Creative at the University of Western Australia, says that it’s time we stop creating a gap between digital and physical, and treat them as the same.

“If you really want it to be a seamless experience we need to stop treating it like a completely separate piece and bring it together,” Aaron advised.

Finding Your Unique Value

When products are just as easily as available and affordable to buy internationally than locally, it’s essential that businesses realise how exactly they can find their own value through digital channels.

Preston remarked that with the challenges of digital transformation, it’s important to focus resources on products and capabilities that add the most value through online platforms.

“Delivering a great digital experience with the complexity of mobile devices and applications is difficult. So what we try to do is figure out what the unique value is through digital channels and make sure that’s a good digital experience.”

However, this can be a challenge for those within the organisation accustomed to doing things a certain way as is “tradition”, promoting a culture of change where this is considered is difficult.

Seven West Media’s Head of Digital in WA, Dan Stinton, believes that the key to finding value is by encouraging employees to test new waters and not stick to legacy processes.

“The challenge is getting people who have operated in a way for a long time to now all of a sudden doing things completely different.”

Ultimately, it’s clear that the best way to find how a business can best improve their services by trying new things and discovering what works and what doesn’t.

Digital Isn’t Always The Answer

Sometimes people like the physical presence that humans bring, so it’s important to remember that just because you can digitise it, doesn’t mean you should.

Organisations then, must research into what processes are better off staying like they are and which operations can be further improved through digital channels.

Louise Scott, Executive Director Strategy, Brand and Marketing Services at Tourism Western Australia echoed this, saying that things have changed from when digital meant website management.

“Digital is covering all aspects of what we do now. In the past our digital team would just focus on the web. Now we have a greater focus on social media and in our work significantly more.”

Although digital plays a great part in providing the best digital experience, finding out the intricacies where people prefer a physical product or service is where the real experience is found.