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What does “digital” customer experience even mean anymore?

At a recent meeting with a chief marketing officer (CMO) of a customer experience (CX) analytics company, he presented a slide about his company. It contained three bullet points and four uses of the word “digital,” including digital transformation, digital channels, digital customer experience, and digital-first.

Let’s ignore the lack of editing for a moment, and think about the overuse of the word “digital” not only in this slide, but with all customer engagement technologies.

When I asked the CMO what he meant by “digital,” he rattled off various customer interaction channels, including web chat, SMS, video, social media, chatbots, and more. The better question, which I then asked, was: “What’s not digital?”

After a few seconds of silence, he realized he didn’t have an answer.

Has “digital” become meaningless?

The problem with digital everything is that people use the word to mean, well…everything. It’s always posed in a positive, innovative light, as well. Heck, decades ago, we watched phone calls move from analog to digital—yet going digital still is supposed to be innovative?

In my conversations with technology vendors and IT/CX leaders, they define digital in one of the following ways:

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Robin Gareiss

Robin Gareiss is CEO and Principal Analyst at Metrigy, where she oversees research product development, conducts primary research, and advises leading enterprises, vendors, and carriers focusing on customer experience and engagement, digital transformation, and contact center.