What Digital Customer Experience Is & Why It’s the Job of the Future

Customer experience is no longer limited to inside the four walls of any company, or even a phone. It stretches online through anything with a digital interface, from a computer to a tablet or a smartphone – all of which encompasses what is called digital customer experience. And it is, as you may expect from your own dependence on such devices, the service of the future.

Many companies now have customer service divisions dedicated solely to the digital space, and that includes Blue Shield of California . In fact, digital customer experience is so important today and for the future that Blue Shield is ramping up its hiring in this division, the company says.

It might seem odd that a healthcare company would invest in creating a robust, even warm, digital customer experience. But not to Blue Shield, says Pooja Jmath, the senior director of digital customer experience at Blue Shield of California.

Health care is emotional and very personal,” Jmath says. “Every single user interaction carries powerful emotions because our members don’t just check the Blue Shield of California app or member website for fun – they’re interacting with us because they need help. They engage with our digital products when they need services, care or information that will help them live a healthier life. Understanding this, our digital customer experience team designs experiences that acknowledge the needs of our members as both users of our products and human beings.”

How do they do it? Blue Shield uses empathy and personalization, even in the digital space.

As Cecilia Sun, the vice president of digital customer experience at Blue Shield of California, explains, “We combine insights with data insights to deliver data-driven, personalized digital interactions at scale. Everyone in DCE wants to do work that is impactful and makes a difference in people’s lives. Each of us has a personal story that connects us to the company’s mission … to ensure all Californians have access to quality care at an affordable price. Our members are all individuals with unique needs, and to build trust we have to deliver experiences that are relevant, timely and reflect the individual user’s needs.”

When Blue Shield hires employees for its digital customer experience team, it searches for people who can easily show compassion and empathy to its members, says Sun.

“The term ‘digital customer experience’ takes on new meaning when it translates, in real-life, into the ‘new mom experience,’ ‘cancer patient experience,’ ‘wellness experience’ or ‘mental health experience,'” she says.

Blue Shield wants digital customer experience employees who can put themselves in their customers’ shoes, anticipating their needs and meeting them. For example, Sun recalls customer feedback in which a patient expressed frustration when her health plan wasn’t more proactive with providing information about a new diagnosis. “We’re working to anticipate these needs as we design digital experiences,” Sun explains.

What’s more, adds Jmath, Blue Shield wants digital customer experience employees who are willing to push the envelope – or the webpage, so to speak.

“In DCE at Blue Shield of California, it’s like we’re a little operating inside a big company,” she says. “When we bring somebody on, we want someone who’s not afraid to challenge the status quo and drive change in a meaningful and collaborative way. Our team shares a passion for making an impact on people’s lives, and we look for people who understand the gravity of the work we do.”

Digital customer experience employees at Blue Shield are also diverse, explains Jmath. “Our organization understands the value of diversity within a high-performing team,” she says, and “that includes diversity of experience, opinion, gender, race and ethnicity, as well as other personal characteristics that make us who we are as individuals.”

Part of that means welcoming team members with experience in other industries beyond health care. “We have team members with a wide variety of backgrounds, in industries such as financial services, entertainment, retail, technology , consumer electronics, professional sports, food and beverage, energy and of course health care,” describes Jmath. “We’ve deliberately built in this diversity of experience because in order to bring health care into the digital age, we need expertise from industries that are further along on this journey.”

With a great team behind it, Blue Shield can work on creating the best digital customer experience possible – starting with understanding its users. “We know that one size does not fit all when it comes to health care,” Jmath says. “Each segment has unique needs and challenges, so we’re taking the time to understand who our users are and drill down into what they need and expect from these digital experiences. By really listening to our user feedback and directly asking for their input before launching something, we demonstrate that our focus in on our members, and becoming their trusted advisor.”

For example, the team is even trying to make the digital customer experience – as it applies to billing – better. “In recent digital surveys, a top issue for many of our users was the lack of mobile payments through the Blue Shield of California app,” Jmath explains. “As a direct response to our user feedback, we delivered mobile billing this year through the app, and also went a step further; we sent communications back to the members who had brought this issue to our attention, letting them know we’re listening and that we’re responsive to their needs. This kind of member-centered work builds trust and creates a positive experience both for the users and the DCE team.”

Interested in working for a team that embraces the future, pushes the envelope and welcomes diversity? Check out open digital jobs at Blue Shield of California here!


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