Last updated: What is Total Experience: Definition, benefits, tips

What is Total Experience: Definition, benefits, tips


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Buckle up, y’all – we’ve got a new experience acronym to unpack, and it’s the total package. I’m talking, of course, about total experience (TX). Recently featured in Gartner’s list of strategic tech trends for 2022, TX is the next step in the experience evolution.

Total experience is based on the idea that no experience operates in a vacuum. Employee experience impacts customer experience. User experience impacts employee experience, and so on.

They are interconnected and interdependent, and yet because of how they evolved as business disciplines, they are rarely treated as such. More often than not, companies have teams and software solutions dedicated to a particular experience (customer experience, user experience, etc.), and those teams and solutions run independently of one another.

That’s a bit like a personal trainer saying they only train arm muscles, and referring a client to another trainer for legs and just hoping the experience is consistent.

Total experience is about treating experience as a whole body.

What is total experience (TX)?

Total experience is a business strategy that aims to create a better, holistic experience for everyone who engages with a brand (customers, employees, users, partners, etc.).

It does this by combining four key experience disciplines:

  • Customer experience (CX): How a customer interacts with and feels about a brand
  • Employee experience (EX): How an employee interacts with and feels about their company
  • User experience (UX): How a user interacts with and feels about a product or experience, especially in the digital realm
  • Multiexperience (MX): How an experience is enhanced and delivered simultaneously across multiple devices, modalities, and touchpoints

We’ve discussed the first three in depth on this site. But to understand all of what TX encapsulates, it’s worth taking a closer look at the fourth: MX, or multiexperience.

Multiexperience vs. omnichannel

Multiexperience (MX) became a buzzword after being featured as one of Gartner’s Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2020. It describes a strategy for designing digital experiences across multiple devices (websites, mobile apps, smart TVs, wearables), modalities (voice, touch, gesture), and touchpoints.

It’s not to be confused with multichannel (or omnichannel), which seeks to unify an experience across different channels. In fact, MX all but ignores the idea of channels completely. Instead, it aims to create or enhance multi-touchpoint engagements.

Or, put another way:

Multiexperience replaces technology-literate people with people-literate technology. It moves the burden of translating intent from the user to the computer.(Gartner, 2020)

Apple Fitness+ is a prime example. Users can access workouts from their desktop or smart TV, or app-enabled device and have a consistent, seamless experience. If they also activate the Fitness app on their Apple Watch, the experience becomes more immersive. Their personal progress is displayed on the screen alongside their workout video. And if they choose, they can skip the video entirely and do a separate workout using only their watch.

Each touchpoint is designed to be fit-for-purpose, but can work together for an enhanced experience.

Total experience is the total package

The trend towards total experience is a direct result of COVID-19 disruptions. Everything got very digital, very fast. And, societal shifts had people rethinking their priorities. Suddenly, people started paying a lot more attention to how companies act in times of crisis, and how quickly they can adapt.

Total experience pulls CX, EX, UX and MX under a single approach to make a better, holistic experience for everyone. That’s because, as we said earlier, none of these disciplines operate in a vacuum.

They all impact each other, as Jason Wong, a distinguished VP analyst at Gartner, explains.

“While excellence in one area is valuable, the organization as a whole can be further strengthened if these four disciplines are intertwined as a Total Experience (TX) strategy so that they mutually reinforce one another,” he wrote in a blog post.

And, even if each experience is effortless and idyllic on its own, issues can arise at the points at which they intersect. By approaching experience collaboratively, as a whole, it becomes easier to smooth those transitions for a better overall experience (and sustainable competitive advantage).

Gartner predicts that By 2026, 60% of large enterprises will use TX to transform their business models to achieve world-class customer and employee advocacy levels.

How to take a total experience approach

Total experience asks us to reframe how we approach experience management altogether. But, don’t worry! You don’t have to transform overnight. There are a couple ways to adopt a TX approach now.

  1. Treat employee experience as a branding experience 
    Consumers care deeply about how corporations treat their employees. Delivering a great EX not only sets your team up to deliver a great CX, but it bolsters your reputation, which is increasingly important to customers. A great employee experience is one that makes it easy for employees to do their jobs. So, approach your EX through a CX lens.
  2. Break down experience silos
    Just as CX challenges companies to break down silos between channels, TX challenges them to break down the barriers between experience management teams and solutions. Have experience leaders work together on (and be equally accountable for) experience-related initiatives. Especially those that intersect with each other.

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