Updated: Aug 28
I know it sounds like marketing talk, but it’s really that no-so-common-sense, common sense that can help you succeed in business. Customers like to be valued, they like to feel like they matter, and like to support businesses that value their dollar. But at the same time, customers expect a seamless experience, whether it’s on their phone or computer or in your store. Paying attention to these details is what omnichannel marketing is all about.
When it comes to adopting an omnichannel marketing mindset, your strategy is committed to the customer in all facets of their experience with your company. An omnichannel customer journey involves key dealings across multiple touchpoints between your company and your customers or prospects. It provides your customers with an enjoyable, cohesive experience providing a more pleasant shopping experience that is integrated across all channels that visit during the purchase decision process.
As a refresher, when mapping out your customer journey, you have to consider each phase – awareness, consideration, purchase, retention, and advocacy. Customer journey mapping starts by understanding the motivation of your target audience and your products or services that align with that motivation. This is your opportunity to uncover, understand, and optimize opportunities to provide greater value and improve customer satisfaction. You can further segment your analysis by mapping a specific customer group (a persona), a prospect (a target), or a customer segment.
The tricky part is actually building your map from the perspective of your customers – not you. The journey map should reflect on how customers act and feel. It should also describe the different “touchpoints” where customers interact with your company. For example, when a customer visits your website to look for information, what page they visit is customer action or touchpoint.
It’s important to look beyond just the touchpoint and evaluate your customer's feelings and emotions. Research has shown that emotion plays a significant role in the decision-making process. Spending time evaluating customer-service commentary, talking to customers and your sales and support staff, looking at what customers are saying online; each of these tactics can help you to gain a better understanding of your customers.
When it comes to talking to internal staff, don’t just limit to customer commentary, look at analytic data, what channels and processes are customers using to communicate and interact with your brand, what devices are they using to view your website, what operating systems are they using to view your content, are there peaks and valleys of interactions. Analyzing this data provides important insights as well.
Don’t forget to create customer personas for key target segments. Personas help all departments in your company to understand who your customer is and ‘personalize them.’ Talk through with a cross-departmental team to brainstorm and outline the most common steps your customers take to research, evaluate and decide to purchase your products or services and then what their post-sale experience entails.
Once outlined, visualize the journey of your customer or even try it out. Perform your own undercover boss or job-swap with front-line workers to experience first-hand customer interactions and company processes. One example of an organization known for its ability to master customer experience is Starbucks. Starbucks has detailed journeys that calculate the customer’s experience, as soon as they walk through the door.
There is no better time than now, with the customer journey disruption of 2020, to revisit this past pandemic year and pre-pandemic practices to start preparing for 2021. Looking at data, customer sentiment, and soliciting internal and external feedback will help you to deliver on customer-centric strategies.