In today’s data-driven marketing department it is easy to get sucked into a complete focus on the customer’s next move. Marketers can find themselves chasing a sale, a e-book download, a click — trying to elicit that next action that signals marketing success.
But what happens when marketers lose focus on the larger vision while they are chasing that next customer interaction? What if, in all the fervor for clicks and impressions and downloads, you end up delivering a degraded customer experience?
The focus has to be on the customer journey, creating an experience that results in a long-term relationship with your customer, not just a sale or a click. This might require a re-wiring of your marketing department and organization as a whole, but it will be rewarded in repeat purchases and loyalty — the true indicators of marketing success.
Here are three ways to shift from a touchpoint-based marketing strategy to a customer journey-based strategy.
Take the Time to Observe
You can’t leap right into a customer journey-based approach without taking the time to see where you are and where you need to go. Understand that customers interact with your company on many different levels — billing, customer service, sales, fulfillment. All of these are influential in determining customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Take the time to fully explore the current customer experience and begin outlining the optimal customer experience. This is not just about sales or leads, this is about the complete customer experience from start-to-finish. Learn where customers drop out of the sales cycle, whether they come back again after a single sale, and whether they move from regular customers to brand ambassadors and why.
You might find some very useful information. Your sales time might be stellar but your fulfillment might be in shambles. Your billing department might be firing on all cylinders but your customer support is lagging behind. Any of these weak points are enough to damage the customer experience and interrupt the customer journey.
Shape a Unique Journey
Your customers are unique and your customer experience needs to be unique to match. Make sure you understand your customers’ wants and needs. Are you a luxury brand targeting customers who expect the utmost care and precision. Are you delivering perishable food, and your success depends on a logistics network that is nimble and quick? Each company demands a unique customer journey.
Avoid the temptation to fall back on easy but shallow solutions like aggressive ad retargeting or repeated push notifications. These can be part of the strategy, but they are not the cure. They must be integrated into a complete end-to-end customer journey that looks beyond sales to experience.
Make sure all your observations from the first step are taken into account here. One lagging department can bring the whole experience down. You want to make sure you are fulfilling your customers’ needs from first contact to repeat sale.
Create a Culture Dedicated to the Customer Experience
This is no quick and easy process. You need to rally the troops and make sure they are all aligned with the vision to deliver an exceptional customer experience. This means empowering your front line staff and your back-end fulfillment employees. In the marketing department, this means spending less time focused on retargeting and push notifications and e-book downloads (which can all be good) and making sure you are connecting with consumers in true, authentic ways. Are you bombarding potential customers with impersonal messages or are you connecting in meaningful and valuable ways with your target consumer?
Make sure your brands personality is pulled through from marketing and sales to customer service and fulfillment, presenting a consistent brand personality to the customer. Don’t be humorous and irreverent in advertising and then buttoned-up and overly professional in other interactions.
Give yourself the time to get it right, and make sure to follow the data to confirm your progress along the way.