Want to create the perfect customer journey so that nobody will ever want to go anywhere else? We’ve gathered several important conclusions to consider when planning your customers’ journey.
We’re all different. But one of the things we share is our affinity for experiences, thrills and moments that create meaning. Good brands understand this and create a customer journey comprised of experiences and moments that will be remembered afterward. We’ve compiled several important points to help you plan, but first, it’s important that you understand what a customer journey and customer experience are and how they should look.
The starting point of planning a customer journey that offers a perfect experience is the understanding that your customers are very different people. The product or service you offer fulfills a certain need for them, but not necessarily the same need for everyone.
Therefore the path that each customer walks with you will look a little different: They first encounter you on different days at different times and in a different state of mind. It’s very difficult to satisfy everyone, but there are a few principles you can learn from – basic rules that are important to keep in mind.
TLC – No, not the girl group. TLC stands for “think like a customer.” The key to establishing a successful customer journey is to put yourself in the place of a customer. Don’t be lulled into focusing only on what you want to accomplish for your brand – consider what the customer is experiencing at any given moment and point in the process. What are your customers looking for and how can you modify your solution to accommodate them in a way that will make your business goals a reality?
Consistency and continuity – The impression you want to leave your customers with should be built over time. If you communicate different or conflicting messages along the customer journey, you’ll create a confusing experience that doesn’t leave behind an impression that’s strong enough to have an impact. That’s why we always recommend that you organize all your marketing messages under one umbrella as described here.
Personalization – Familiarizing yourself with audience lets you know what drives them, what they like, what they are currently looking for and what they don’t want to see. The more you successfully create personalized messages, the more likely you are to achieve more ambitious goals. In today’s world, there are an ever-increasing number of tools to accomplish this personalization.
Aim to create an experience, not make a sale – Many brands do themselves a disservice by making sales their primary goal because that motivation is communicated to and felt by consumers in different ways. It’s important to remember through the entire process that the point here is just to create a positive experience. There’s not need to push; customers who like you will buy from you.
More than just messages – A customer experience needs to be created not only in the written messages themselves but in the presentation of the entire process as well. Start with technical aspects like user experience, how customers can contact you in the middle of the process and the speed and quality of customer service etc.
Gradation – A good customer experience begins with a point of contact with your brand that builds interest, but isn’t too aggressively focused on making a sale. Then it moves forward down the marketing funnel. Whatever you do, avoid aggressive marketing at the beginning of the process (and pretty much at all other times).
The goal is to adjust the messages and the experience to match the current state of mind of the customers – where they’re physically located, when the best time is to reach them, what tone and words to use and more.
Retention – Many brands invest in the process but quit after making a sale – and that’s a mistake. The customer journey is meant to create loyal customers and the first step to getting there is to give them the feeling that you are also there for them even after they scanned their credit card. It begins with a text message after the purchase, the packaging, and experience of delivery, the ease of return and your willingness to continue communicating.
Language – A positive customer experience also relies on how the messages are communicated and presented. In other words, language. At each communication point with the customer – whether it be visual ads or verbal contact – always take note of what can be read between the lines of what you’re saying. Stick to a uniform and consistent brand language and adjust yourself to the customers and the stage of familiarity they are at.
Feedback – Because each customer is different, one of the most efficient ways of learning what works is to simply ask for their input. Listening is one of the most important principles in building a relationship. Amazon, for example, is excellent at it. Integrate feedback into every one of your points of contact with your customers. Not long, exhausting surveys – just one or two answers. You’ll learn lots that you never would have thought of yourself.
And of course, embrace every word you hear from them, both the compliments and the criticism. Beyond helping you improve, criticism creates direct contact between you and your customers. A customer who contacts you with a complaint a suggestion for improvement and gets a thoughtful answer or even a little gift is a customer that will definitely be back. That’s how you create a successful journey.