Designing Immersive Customer Experiences
We live in a digital-first world where technology is evolving faster than ever.
This brings immense customer experience opportunities for brands as well as pressure to keep innovating and designing great CX amidst constant change.
So, how can you create immersive customer experiences that wow people in today’s landscape? What are the latest strategies and success stories?
I recently sat down with customer experience leader Joe Wheeler to get his insights on these pressing questions.
Joe is the CEO of CX Digital and author of the new book “Immersive Experience Design: How Leading Brands Are Using Technology to Create Real Magic for Customers.” With decades of CX expertise advising major brands globally, he has a wealth of hard-won lessons to share.
In our conversation, Joe revealed proven ways leading companies intentionally design immersive CX while balancing meaningful human connections. Let’s dive into a summary of discussions.
Key Actions With Brand Examples To Design Impactful Immersive Customer Experiences (CX):
1. Solve Important Customer Problems (Don’t Just Push Tech)
“The best companies that we work with don’t have a mission; they’re on a mission,” Joe emphasizes. “So when you read about Nike, you know, their mission is to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete.”
Having a clear purpose beyond profits is crucial. But just as key: Ensuring your tech solutions truly relieve “pain points” in your customers’ lives. Don’t fall in love with whiz-bang technology for its own sake.
Joe cites the cautionary tale of Zoom Pizza, which raised $350 million to deliver pizzas at warp speed using robotics and AI.
Yet they went bust after 2 years because, as Joe puts it, “I didn’t feel like I needed it any faster. 30 minutes was fine.”
Customers didn’t have a burning problem that demanded solving. Zoom Pizza focused on their tech solution, not real value for people.
2. Adopt Agile Experimentation with Continuous Customer Feedback
Rather than big, rigid product launches, Joe advocates adopting Agile development with continuous small tests and improvements.
“Agile has replaced that. And thank God, because companies that really seem to be successful today, they test and learn. They do incremental changes. They get feedback.”
For example, Mexican construction giant Cemex introduced a “completely touchless experience” called MXGO in 2017-2018. As Joe describes, “As they took different interactions and digitized them, they watched how customers behaved. If the customer was taking a long time to adapt to their bot, or adapt to a digital channel, they kind of pulled it back a bit.”
By iterating based on how real customers responded, Cemex incrementally shaped experiences that worked.
3. Look at CX Through a Digital Lens First
In Joe’s view, traditional journey mapping is no longer enough. Leading brands take a digital-first perspective to reveal more opportunities.
He explains: “What you see leading brands do these days is they simultaneously understand what’s happening with technology. They begin by benchmarking companies like Amex, the world’s biggest bank, with how they do customer onboarding. Because before they wanted to talk to customers about their problems, they wanted a lens that was digital.”
This outside-in digital lens helps uncover possibilities that customers may not imagine themselves. You see their pain points in a new light.
4. Orchestrate Omnichannel Human + Digital + Logistics
Truly immersive CX artfully combines different elements across channels and touchpoints.
As Joe puts it, “It’s this combination of human, digital, logistical interactions that designs an experience across channels, kind of seamlessly, so you can pause and resume, that exceeds expectations on those moments of truth that really matter.”
For example, Cemex coordinates complex logistical operations to deliver concrete on time, digitally tracked. They mix digital efficiency with human problem-solving when needed.
Omnichannel CX recognizes customers fluidly switch between channels – don’t make them repeat themselves. Meet them wherever they are.
5. Invest in AI / ML Talent and Skills
As Joe highlights, talent has become tougher to obtain: “The competition for talent is on steroids now… There’s talent on the street and if I was an entrepreneur, I would be going to get that talent.”
Especially seek people skilled in emerging technologies like machine learning and AI. These areas represent huge opportunities but scarce expertise.
Joe predicts a huge divide between companies who build these capabilities – and those who don’t.
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About Joe Wheeler
A bestselling author, speaker, and consultant. He is the CEO of CX/Digital and the author of three best-selling books on the topics of customer experience, digital leadership and corporate culture. His latest book, The Digital-First Customer Experience – Seven Design Strategies from the World’s Leading Brands describes the design strategies of leading brands including Nike, Amazon, CEMEX, Starbucks and others. He has held executive roles at Bank of America, The Forum Corporation and earned an MBA from Edinburgh Business School.
About Stacy Sherman: Founder of Doing CX Right®
Customer experience and marketing global keynote speaker, journalist, co-author of two books, advisor, and host of the award-winning DoingCXRight podcast. Known for her Heart & Science™ framework that helps you gain profitable clients and brand loyalty–fueled by an empowered workforce. Stacy’s been walking the talk for 25 years as a strategist and practitioner at companies of all sizes and industries, i.e., Liveops, Verizon, Schindler Elevator Corp, Wilton Brands, and AT&T. She’s also a board advisor at multiple universities, featured in Forbes and other top-rated publications.
Her Why: To cultivate loyal relationships and meaningful experiences that enrich people’s lives. Contact Stacy for DOING Customer Experience (CX) and Service Right, not just TALKING about it. Continue reading bio >here.
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