Skip to main content

The Importance of Building a Total Experience

Catherine Canary, Appian
September 7, 2023

Maya Angelou once said, “You are the sum total of everything you’ve ever seen, heard, eaten, smelled, been told, forgot—it’s all there. Everything influences each of us, and because of that I try to make sure that my experiences are positive.”

Experiences matter. They matter to us in our personal lives but also in our work lives as employees, customers, and software users. That’s why total experience is such an effective business strategy.

A total experience is about recognizing the interconnectedness of all stakeholder experiences across all mediums. This naturally creates a more strategic and comprehensive approach to managing interactions, leading to improved outcomes, sustained growth, and a competitive edge in the market. 

Let’s go a little deeper and explore what total experience is and the best way to deliver it.

What is total experience?

Total experience (TX) refers to the sum of all interactions and touchpoints that a user has with a product or service. In the context of business software, total experience includes not only the functional aspects of the software (such as features and capabilities), but also the user interface, performance, and overall user experience.

An effective total experience strategy addresses customer experience (CX), employee experience (EX), user experience (UX), and multiexperience (MX). Multiexperience refers to the full range of software touchpoints and modalities, including web and mobile apps, visual interactions, voice interactions, etc. 

Why is a total experience important?

In an environment where pressure to innovate with technology is intense, it’s easy to let your focus narrow to just the technical aspects of a product. But effective total experience that considers human factors is critical for successful business software, as it can make the difference between a solution that is widely adopted and one that is ignored. A software solution with a poor total experience will be frustrating for users, leading to low adoption and potentially even damage to the company's brand reputation. 

Considering the total experience of employees, customers, and users in your solutions is critical to:

Create brand loyalty: People remember how a product or service made them feel. If using your technology consistently brings frustration, confusion, or disengagement, customers are unlikely to return. On the other hand, a well-crafted total experience promotes user satisfaction, making them more likely to embrace the technology and integrate it seamlessly into their workflows. Employee engagement is also likely to rise when employees are supported with strong technologies that are designed with their experience in mind—technologies that make their day-to-day work easier and faster.

Set your company apart: In a competitive marketplace, offering a superior total experience can be a powerful differentiator. While features and functionalities can be replicated, a unique and captivating experience is much harder to emulate. By investing in creating an exceptional experience, you position your product or service as a standout choice in a sea of options.

Future-proof your offering: As user expectations evolve, so should your approach to delivering value. A total experience mindset ensures that your product remains relevant and appealing as preferences shift. This adaptability is crucial in an ever-changing technological landscape.

How to deliver a total experience.

The first step to delivering an excellent total experience is to know your audience. To meet your users’ needs, you first need a strong understanding of what those needs are. Then, when developing your solution, you’ll need to consider all aspects of the software, including usability, performance, and aesthetics. 

This requires a focus on user-centered design and testing as well as ongoing monitoring and optimization to ensure that the software continues to meet the potentially changing needs and expectations of users.

Get to know your users: To create a total experience, start by gaining a deep understanding of your target audience—whether they're customers or employees. Conduct user research, surveys, and interviews to uncover their pain points, preferences, and expectations. This insight will guide your efforts in crafting an experience that aligns with their needs.

Focus on user-centric design: Once you have a clear understanding of your users, translate that knowledge into user-centric design principles. Develop intuitive interfaces, streamline workflows, and prioritize ease of use. Aesthetic appeal and functional efficiency should work hand in hand to create an experience that is not only practical but also visually appealing and emotionally satisfying.

Listen for continuous feedback: The journey toward a total experience doesn't end with the initial implementation. Regularly gather feedback from users and be open to iterating and refining your solutions. Monitor how users interact with your offering and adjust based on their evolving needs. Continuous improvement ensures that the experience remains relevant and effective over time.

By focusing on the total experience of your software solutions, you can drive adoption, increase employee productivity and efficiency, and improve the overall customer experience. Development teams also benefit from this unified approach, saving hours of work and additional version deployments by providing a seamless user experience with the initial product.  

Deliver a total experience with the Appian Platform.

Total experience is complex and wide-ranging—there’s a lot to keep in mind! Trying to deliver a total experience using a collection of separate technologies is a recipe for chaos. Appian lets you do it all in one place. Our unified AI process platform engages your employees, customers, and other users across touchpoints. And because Appian is a low-code platform, developers save tons of time and can build mobile apps without needing to have any specialized skills. 

To see how you can use Appian to create your next total experience application, watch the on-demand webinar, Unify Customers and Employees in a Total Experience.