We get it. There’s a lot of talk about the ‘customer xyz’ everywhere you look. And for good reason (!). But what’s most important for your business? What should you focus your attention on? Customer experience? Customer service? Customer engagement? Customer ‘insert-buzzword-here’?
Don’t get too hung up on terminologies. Essentially, what’s most important is that your customers get a positive lasting experience of your brand (read our previous article on CX) or business when they interact with you. That means ensuring that every single touchpoint offers the same quality, care, and attention to detail.
In UX parlance (yup, we have to go there), this means that your customer experience needs to be consistent across the entire customer journey. Ask yourself: How consistent is the journey for your customers?
So – what’s a ‘customer journey’?
Think of it like this: you’re going on an epic road trip with friends. It’s gonna be one to remember! You have a hit list of towns, cities, beaches, and national parks you want to visit. You even know what you want to do when you get to these destinations. But you also want the overall trip to be as much fun as the activities you do and the places you visit.
If each place or activity is a customer touchpoint, and the overall customer experience is the ‘pursuit of adventure’, then that need for ‘adventure’ needs to be present right across the customer journey. And it’s down to you to ensure that customers get the same experience consistently; across each and every touchpoint: both on- and offline.
All great journeys start with a map; and the customer journey is no different. However, businesses like yours need to create an individual map; one that’s as unique as you are.
A good place to start is to analyze the overall journey and better understand your customers’ entry and exit points. What touchpoints do they encounter? Do some customers join at different points in the overall journey? Does their experience evolve in the same way?
This is why consistency is so crucial. Because there are so many possible communication channels customers could use, you need to ensure that the same kinds of interactions occur across all of them. No touchpoint is an island; they’re all interlinked. Have you mapped your customer journey yet?
If mapping the customer journey demonstrates the opportunities you have to improve the customer experience, then the next step is to actively make those improvements. Enter ‘customer interaction management’. While this may sound stuffy and formal, all it means is applying your overall communication strategy to digital and traditional touchpoints.
It may seem like fixed touchpoints – like an outdoor ad or a store interior – are easier to manage; as online messaging platforms become standard customer service tools, being able to offer a consistent customer journey in real time is increasingly important.
All things considered, this is just an extension of face-to-face, or telephone, customer service – but with the added benefit that technology such as AI and chatbots, allow more and more companies to streamline these interactions.
A huge part of providing the right experience is giving customers a choice – and this extends to enabling them to use the channels they feel most comfortable with. But although customers expect the companies and brands they shop with to provide messaging platforms as communications channels, they need to be assured that behind each channel is the same company they’ve come to know and trust.
Ultimately, a customer journey involves getting a handle on the overall experience and understanding how each touchpoint can be leveraged to provide that experience in the best way possible. In this way, customers are more likely to perceive the overall journey as a pleasant one; increasing your brand’s reputation, trustworthiness, and helping build lasting customer relationships.
Here at Mesaic, we work with a variety of businesses looking to join up their digital and traditional touchpoints into a consistent customer journey. Drop us a note to find out more.
To be continued... Our next article on Customer Relationships is coming soon!