How to Make Your Customer’s Journey a Five-Star Experience
So, what exactly is a customer journey and why is it important to your business? Well, it’s how your customers are getting to your location. It’s how they interact with your brand, your associates and purchase your products. And it’s every moment in between. In short, it’s an experience. And in today’s dynamic, digitally-connected marketplace, it’s (almost) everything to your business.
“The biggest and most successful customer-facing companies are competing on value and… the customers experience. You can only make it look easy and seamless to the customer by doing a lot of work behind the scenes,” said Jonathan Jackson, a digital marketing strategist and a member of the teaching faculty in the College of Business at Florida State University.
“A customer journey is a customer’s experience…brands like Uber, Amazon and Starbucks are setting the bar really high. It’s the umbrella under which everything else fits,” says Kerry Baldwin, vice president of advertising performance for Web.com for Enterprise.
One Destination? Or Many? The Rules of the Road are the Same.
- A consistent, fully integrated experience, regardless of the location or channel.
- Detailed knowledge of their preferences and habits when interacting with your brand/product.
- Understanding their pain points along the customer journey– and eliminating them – before they ask.
Even though customers’ expectations don’t change much between Amazon and your business, there are still some subtle differences and helpful tips to consider for single-location and multi-unit operators:
- Single locations can have more control in terms of experience because you consistently deal with a particular customer set and geography. There’s one location to know and one set of team members. This sets the challenge of retention, as many consumers are much more transient today.
- As a multi-unit operator, your customer is experiencing your brand in different contexts. Therefore, you must have excellent CRM programs in place so that you can “know” them even if they haven't visited a specific location or interacted in a particular channel previously. This makes it critical to have your associates integrate data from CRM into one-on-one interactions that are genuine and credible to reinforce brand loyalty.
So, Let’s Map it Out.
All Journeys Have One True North: The Customer “It’s difficult to know where to begin,” admitted Jackson. “However, you can’t go wrong if you start with the customer,” he asserted.
“The power has shifted to the customers’ hands,” said Baldwin.
However, they vote with their feet. “When your customer detects friction on the journey, it turns them off…and it’s easy for them to switch,” she added.
Until you explore every moment of your customer’s experience, you don’t really know what they go through to buy your product. Often, these maps can have more than two dozen steps – and you can’t change the steps if you don’t measure each one. Every single one. Seriously.
It’s important to note that starting an in-depth exercise in journey mapping – and measurement scheme – may seem a bit tedious to your associates if they don’t understand the intention of it. It's vital to explain to your team members why you are measuring individual steps in the customer journey and what the ultimate goal is.
To reduce friction, focus on three things:
- Where are the customer pain points?
- How can I use tech to relieve pain?
- Because every step is an opportunity to gain/lose a customer, where can I lose or combine steps?
You may be wondering, who gets to take a crack at this new-age customer cartography? Technically, everyone in your organization is needed for mapping and delivering upon a great customer experience, but here a few key players who simply have to be at the table:
- Voice of the customer: Research team and/or insights from the field, e.g. social media analytics
- CIO/tech partners: They’ll likely be the ones needed to smooth out the process and bring it to life.
- CMO/marketing experts: They’ll help drive awareness and demand once the journey is improved
Interested in More?
There’s still plenty to learn about the Customer Journey, so if you’re interested in seeing the entire presentation from our Customer Insights Summit, simply click here. Or watch Professor Jonathan Jackson’s Customer Journey video here.
Our mission is built around helping multi-location businesses like yours excel online; check out some other helpful articles we’ve written by clicking here.
And if you want to connect directly with someone on our team, we are ready, willing and able to help you out too: just call 855-973-8003 or email here.