Keys to designing a virtuous customer journey
1995: Every company is a customer company.
2005: Every company is an internet company.
2015: Every company is a digital company.
Any self-respecting innovative or competitive company now has the digital in its DNA: Digitalization engulfs and filters through all its processes, business areas and operations.
However, if we evolve Priestley’s quote further for 2019, we might speak of another trend present in all today’s companies: placing the customer at the center of everything.
Will this be the year when the digital is associated with customer experience?
Many companies with the desire for customer centricity find that technology is a great ally. The digital often gives them greater reach and more points of contact with customers, beyond the sphere of the physical store, and allows them to address processes like brand knowledge, evaluation and the purchase process, or subsequent loyalty-creation.
This route is what we call the customer journey, a path with several different stages or points of contact with a brand and its product or service.
Being present at all those stages, while offering a memorable experience, is a complex process with several rough edges that need to be smoothed over, with specific considerations and peculiarities at play.
Empty chairs? Your customers’ journey does not only rely on a good product.
But that is also terrain that deserves attention. Firstly, because if we don’t pay attention to it, our potential customers may seek other brands, and our current customers may feel attracted by others. And secondly, because it is a profitable venture: McKinsey states that organizations who invest in the design of their customer journey obtain up to 15% more income and reduce costs by 20%.
The following are, according to the consulting firm, some of the steps to build a virtuous circle and create loyalty among customers.
4 factors for the perfect customer journey.
1. Think and collect.
The starting point for an outstanding customer journey is not the improvement of inefficiencies detected in the existing one, but a design from scratch, considering all possible channels and the latest consumer trends. Therefore, the first step is getting to know these, and something that can help us here is quantitative market research, for example, through the acquisition of insights from large consumer groups.
2. More, faster data (test, rethink).
Traditional market research techniques like focus groups, apart from being expensive, are not quick enough for a digital model, which enables the swift capture of massive volumes of information, both quantitative and qualitative, from large groups of audiences.
Arriving at conclusions regarding what should be integrated in our customer journey will be the first step towards its launch. As mentioned, technology enables an accelerated process to detect needs and reach the market with basic, feasible assumptions. Once on the market, we must be swift: measure each point of contact, check its efficiency and repeat as many times as necessary. Being at a standstill is usually an enemy of creating customer loyalty.
3. Bring consumers to the playing field…
There are several reasons, according to McKinsey, for which clients do not adopt the digital channels suggested by a brand. Standing out among these is the absence of a personalized experience that addresses their needs. Hence the need for a customer journey that integrates the customer’s voice (VoC, Voice of the Customer) as a natural part of the process. And for that purpose, brands may explore new digital channels that bring the brand to the consumer through a dialogue of equals that focuses on the customer. This also nurtures the feeling of belonging to the brand.
4. … and encourage them to stay there.
It is of little or no use to create and promote new channels if consumers do not decide to stay there once they are familiar with them. User experience plays a fundamental role here. As do reward and loyalty-creating mechanisms, such as prizes–tangible or intangible–or gamification, which helps to draw customers in and participate voluntarily in these channels, while creating customer loyalty.
Quantitative and qualitative research: gathering impressions from the journey.
Collecting insights from large consumer groups in the digital medium is a swift and profitable way to detect needs and market trends. Digital communities allow free participation among large audiences, and act like a magnet for brands, enabling organizations to gather quantitative information on current and potential customers. Also, thanks to its co-creative dynamics, under which users and the brand collaborate in the selection of ideas with the greatest value, a qualitative investigation of proposals is made possible. [Find out how to co-create a virtuous customer journey for your customers here].
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