Deliver a customer experience that matches your customers journey

Deliver a customer experience that matches your customers journey

When I was a child, if we wanted to buy something new then we would:

  • Go shopping down the local high street and ask the shop-keepers for advice;
  • Speak to a door-to-door salesman;
  • We would look in one of the catalogues that my Mum used to get; or
  • We would ask family and friends.

Back then, that was the start of our customer journey.

Now, before we do anything we, more often than not, ‘Google’ what we are looking for. That is the start of our new customer journey.

In doing so, what we look for is signs of trust, quality, price, reputation, recommendations, information, reports and other signs that will help us make up our minds about who to talk to next.

The signs are similar to what we used to look for, it’s just the way that we are accessing them and spreading news, information and feedback has changed and is being accelerated by social media and other tools.

These changes are presenting challenges for many businesses.

Recently, I’ve come across this as I have been doing quite a bit of work with companies on their strategy and growth plans.

Our discussions usually start with their understanding about how they do things, how things are changing and the challenges that they face. Challenges like:

  • Traditional marketing, advertising and media methods are becoming more and more difficult to make work
  • Customers have a voice and brands live or die by their reputation
  • Internet advertising spend has overtaken TV, radio and print advertising spend
  • Customers have greater choice and tools with which to make informed decisions
  • Customers are sharing memories and viewpoints more easily than before
  • Google and other search engines are the new high street and your location and ranking will be driven by your reputation

Whilst this changing reality is not a shock to many businesses, it can present some challenges as it doesn’t fit with their models of how they do things.

What I am finding is that many companies that are quite a few years old can get stuck in a certain way of doing things as it has worked for them for many years and they are only just starting to see the need to change.

These challenges are common and businesses that don’t respond can lose business or miss out on opportunities because of a mismatch between what they do, what they deliver to a customer and what that new and potential customer is now looking for.

To grow we have to be adaptable, we have to change, we have to be aware and respond to the changing needs and habits of our customers.

It’s not an excuse to say that lack of skills in blogging or twittering or being on Linked In or of the use of video or customer service or whatever is holding you back. All of those skills are available and can be hired, outsourced or bought on a project basis. What is key is that you need to start to think of these skills as elements in your marketing mix, these are elements that will help build that ‘Google’ trust, that will help build a better customer experience and match the experience that we deliver as businesses to our customers journey.

If you are finding that your market place is changing and that you need to respond to the changing needs of your customers, below is a simple process and a few questions that will help you deliver a customer experience that matches your customers journey:

  • What experience do we want to deliver now and in the future?
  • What are we delivering today?
  • Where are the gaps and what needs to change to create the desired experience?
  • How will we test the changes and measure customer reaction?
  • What training and collateral needs to be created to facilitate the change?

Would you add any other steps into this process?

Thanks to rAmmoRRison for the image.


17 comments On Deliver a customer experience that matches your customers journey

  • Deliver a customer experience that matches your customers journey http://bit.ly/aSutSr

  • RT @adrianswinscoe: Deliver a customer experience that matches your customers journey http://bit.ly/aSutSr

  • RT @sakr: RT @adrianswinscoe: Deliver a customer experience that matches your customers journey http://bit.ly/aSutSr

  • RT @adrianswinscoe: Deliver a customer experience that matches your customers journey http://bit.ly/bk5Z9e

  • Great points Adrian.
    Customer experience is something we should all spend more time on.

    Most salesman (and companies) are so preoccupied with new customers that we forget to think about creating repeat customers.

    By following through and creating a funnel that starts with a positive experience and then continues until they have become a large account and repeat customer, we will increase our profits substantially.

    • Hi Daniel,
      As someone who is close to sales, you are exactly right. Many companies become preoccupied with acquiring customers that they forget about the ones they already have and they can be their best asset.

      What do you think company sales people can do to improve a business’ customer experience and improve retention?

      Adrian

      • Hi Adrian.
        From my experience it is mostly about caring about your customers. It is the little things that count, calling them once in a while to see how things are going, sending them an email with statistics or an article that might help them do their job better.

        Getting repeat customers doesn’t have to be all that hard, you only need to care enough to do it 🙂

        • Hi Daniel,
          I think you are right on target with saying that’s all about how much you are.

          I think Zig Ziglar said it best when he said: ‘Help enough people get what they really want and you will get what you really want’.

          Enough said, don’t you think?

          Adrian

  • Hi Adrian,

    The journey is a great metaphor to work with! For many people the initial concern at the beginning of the customer journey is whether they can access the information they want to make informed decisions best suited for their needs and desires. What the internet, the web, google and other search engines have done is quickly change the challenge to one of managing, organizing and effectively leveraging the vast information available regarding any journey. Those who are overwhelmed go back to past habits, either asking a friend, or conducting a much more limited search of the information available – hence the rise of a mini-industry around search engine optimization.

    If we really want to be advocates of enhancing the customer journey, we should be looking for online resources to increase in their transparency and usability. Easily navigable site and site maps, tools/apps that more easily allow for product/feature comparison (typical of many electronics web sites), and access to on line user communities are illustrations of planning the journey with the customer as the highest priority.

    Let’s also remember that there are individual differences in preferences and styles for approaching each journey. Some of us take in information in different ways, with some needing to process carefully on our own first, whilst others need to engage in dialogue and respond to the stimulation and experience of others on a similar journey. So this might be another step…how do you design the journey to best accommodate different learning styles, shopping preferences and the way we make decisions.

    • Hi Marc,
      Thanks for your comment and for pointing out how differences in communication styles and preferences need to be taken into account in order to optimise the journey/experience for different types of customer. You just made our jobs more complex and exciting at the same time! 😉

      However, I think that you are right and that we need to pay more attention to how people communicate. I think that we will see a rise in the use of video, streaming video for demos and calls, live customer help, integrated call and web service and other innovations that will all add to the customers experience. Do you think these elements would add to the experience or just complicate it more?

      Adrian

      • Hi Adrian,

        In response to your question, “will these increased elements add to the experience OR just complicate it more?”, I think the answer is “yes, it will add to the experience AND it will complicate it more” 🙂

        When the different elements are thoughtfully integrated or allow customer control and choice over what they access, the customer experience will be enhanced for sure. When the elements are just put out there, at least some customers will have another ‘joyful’ experience of not knowing why they are being exposed to so much information, if they need to go through it all lest they miss something critical.

        There will be many ‘guides’ for the customer journey – designers, marketers, app developers, etc. I suspect we will all benefit from some type of ‘community guide to being a good guide’! You post is one step in that direction.

        Marc

        • Hi Marc,
          That’s my suspicion too that it could go both ways. And, that is our challenge if we are to really ‘add’ to the experience and not just throw more options at the poor customer in the hope that something sticks.

          I think you might be onto something re: ‘community guide to being a good guide’ and it would be great to discuss this in greater detail. Will send you an email about this and, perhaps, we can collaborate on fleshing this out?

          Adrian

  • RT @adrianswinscoe: Deliver a customer experience that matches your customers journey http://bit.ly/bk5Z9e

  • Yep — what your customers says about you is so much more important that what you say about your brand. Makes managing the customer experience a little more interesting.

    • Hi Michael,
      Agreed. New technology is changing the dynamics of brand management and providing challenges for business that we are only just starting to get our heads round. I would suggest that empathy is becoming a central element to conceiving and delivering a customer-centric growth strategy.

      Would you agree?

      Adrian

  • RT @adrianswinscoe: Deliver a customer experience that matches your customers journey http://bit.ly/bk5Z9e

  • RT @adrianswinscoe – #RARE_Remix:: Deliver a customer experience that matches your customers journey http://t.co/M0TG7PBK

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