The 4Es of Building an Effective Digital Customer Experience Strategy

Net Solutions
  • Date Published
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Digital Customer experience strategy is an important mechanism to increase customer loyalty, higher retention, and increased revenues.

You know that Digital Experience is important, but do you have a strategy for it?

Businesses are focusing on digital channels over traditional ones like physical stores and call centers to make digital customer experience improvements, they struggle because of the following reasons:

  • Disjointed Experiences: They don’t have a defined approach for multi-touchpoint digital experience.
  • Unclear Expectations: They don’t clearly understand customers’ expectations.
  • Diluted Brands: They don’t know how to represent their brands.

Evidently, they need a digital customer experience strategy to ensure that they build the right experiences to meet customers’ expectations, and invest in the right technologies to deliver these personalized experiences.


A Digital Customer Experience Strategy Addresses Who, What, Where, and How

A Digital Customer experience strategy should flow from the overall Customer experience strategy that comes from understanding customers, partners, internal stakeholders, and the market. While defining a Digital customer experience strategy, we should look for a sweet spot where business value, customer value, and opportunities align together.

There is a unique framework called 4Es, which businesses can leverage to improve upon or enhance their digital customer experience:

  • Explore the current state
  • Evaluate the current  experience
  • Experiment to arrive at your ideal future state
  • Engage with your customer continuously

Let’s delve into each in detail.


Explore the Current State

Here, exploration methods are utilized for understanding the current state. This is helpful before building a product or adding a new feature to an existing one.



The following methods are used in this type of framework:

  • Interviewing Stakeholders: This will help identify business requirements and key challenges.
  • Interviewing Sales and Support Staff: This will help understand the users’ pain areas.
  • Creating an Ecosystem Map: This will help analyze your business’ ecosystem as well as supporting user journeys.
  • Prioritizing Digital Touchpoints: This matrix includes factors such as business benefits, user benefits, and data of the affected users.


Evaluate the Current Experience

In this phase, usability testing of existing digital touchpoints is conducted to ensure that the systems work well for users.



The below-mentioned methods are employed under this framework:

  • Expert Evaluation: This type of evaluation helps identify issues related to user experience (UX). In this process, heuristics methods are adopted to evaluate:
    1. Presentation: Effective presentation of the user interface via effective layouts, grids, white space, graphical elements, typography, and color palettes.
    2. Interactions: Here, users can achieve their goals via in-page interactions (for e.g., form interactions, controls, and responses to users’ inputs) and multi-page interactions.
    3. Value: Here the user interface is measured based on time, effort, data, and money to gauge their ability to meet the users’ requirements.
  • Run Competitive Tests: This helps identify strengths and weaknesses in competitors’ products as well as gauge users’ requirements.
  • Qualitative Usability Testing: Here, tests are conducted with diverse sets of users. This is to gauge as to which aspects of the digital touchpoint benefit users and which do not.
  • Quantitative Usability Testing: This involves tests to determine the time taken to complete the task, the success and error rate, etc. Further, users’ feedback on usability, as for example, ratings, is another test that is conducted.


Experiment to Arrive at a Future State

In this phase, the output obtained in the Explore and Evaluate phases is utilized to resolve the existing issue or to improvise new solutions.



Following are the methods utilized in this phase:

  • Using Paper Prototypes: Here, tangible prototypes can be used both in paper-form and browser-based. This is then presented to the users – both internal and external – for their feedback.
  • Card Sorting: In this method, users are asked to place items under various categorized groups. In doing so, users’ mental mindsets are revealed.
  • Test Interactive Prototypes: This test is conducted to observe and analyze users’ receptiveness towards the prototypes presented.


Engage with Your Customers Continuously

This framework involves observing the research and design cycle to understand existing problems and identify new issues. The data from multiple channels is monitored and analyzed to understand patterns and trends.



Following are the methods used in this phase:

  • Surveys: Surveys are conducted on existing customers and prospective users.
  • Monitor Analytics and Metrics: This is done with the purpose of capturing users’ purchasing behavior on the various digital touchpoints.
  • Analyze Search Logs: This will help understand what users are actually looking for as they contain relevant information.
  • Analyze Incoming Feedback Channels: This needs to be done periodically to identify issues with the usage and improvement areas. Using this medium, observe what users are looking for, and what the hindrances that impair their understanding are, to name a few.
  • Pay Attention to User Sentiment: Social media channels play an important role in capturing real-time feedback from users on a product or a feature, both good and bad. They also serve as a medium to gauge competitors.



To elevate your digital customer experience while working within existing resource constraints, you may need to make hard choices about where to focus your efforts; and this decision-making does not end when the improvement launches. Companies that take an iterative approach to their development efforts are well-positioned to react to customers’ feedback and usability results.

Take testing, research, and feedback from your digital customer experience improvement project, and use it as the starting point for your next effort. What other areas can you improve? How will your customers benefit?

Adopting this approach creates a cumulative effect where you consider the entire experience rather than engage in individual one-off projects.