Sitecore Symposium - Customer expectations impact digital experiences

This year's pandemic accelerated digital transformation beyond all expectations. Paige O’Neill shared perspectives about the changes brands and businesses need to make in their thinking if they're going to evolve fast enough to keep up.



This year’s challenges didn’t stop Sitecore from holding its annual Symposium – they simply moved the event online. And kicking off for us with her keynote presentation, “Moments that Make Experiences,” Sitecore CMO Paige O’Neill set the tone for her virtual audience.

O’Neill reminded us that now, more than ever, customer expectations for digital experiences drive both their spending and their brand loyalty – from retail to healthcare to banking…and beyond. But here’s the kicker, as O’Neill shared:

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While 84% of brands think they’re delivering a great customer experience, only 68% of their customers agree.

What many companies don’t understand is that making a sale isn’t the same as creating an experience. In fact, consumers in the digital experience economy are moving beyond transactional relationships with brands and seek to build trust. And that requires businesses to adopt what O’Neill calls a “moment to moment mindset” which will measure not only how well they understand customers’ needs but also how quickly and seamlessly they can deliver on those needs.

O’Neill went on to say the three things brands need to create exemplary customer experience are empathy (informed by data), relevant content (to make a personal connection), and agility (or responsiveness). To illustrate her point, Aaron Watkins of Johns Hopkins Medicine joined O’Neill to talk about how they adapted to the pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic with a winning content strategy.

“When it comes to our content strategy, we’re really trying to meet people where they are…and, very often, we know that’s a search engine,” Watkins told us. The Johns Hopkins content team knew they needed not only to make their content engaging, informative, warm, and understandable to the people who needed it, but it also had to perform well in search.

And they succeeded. Their website saw a 4x increase in visitors and a 370% increase from social – and their content ranked first on Google for COVID information.


  1. The “new” CX requires a “moment to moment mindset,” quickly adjusting to and delivering on customer needs.
  2. Top-notch CX requires empathy, relevant content, and agility/responsiveness.
  3. Agile companies generate 30% more revenue than slower-moving companies – but only 25% of companies can adapt quickly enough to hold off their competition.

Bill Levy - Alpha Solutions


Director of Interactive Services