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Walking Two Moons in the Customer’s Moccasins

If you are asked about the last time you delivered impeccably outstanding customer experience, one that was acknowledged by her? And if you are at a loss of words thinking about this query to be platitudinous at best, and cliched in general, then read on.

Would she too, your customer, be non-committal about giving you a thumbs-up for her experience with you?

If the answer to the above questions bears a hesitant “I dunno” or a yes, then you need to rethink your multiple Customer Journeys that lead to an aggregated Customer Experience?

Today’s predominant industry focus is on “Experience Commerce” constituting Customer Experience (CX) and Customer Journey (CJ) – which in principle is to understand and improve each and every interaction that she; your customer has with the business in question. The foundational tenet here is to understand and act on the cumulative impact of multiple interactions over time, many of which occur outside of traditional growth hacking boundaries.

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The picture above determines her; your customer’s feeling of a real relationship with an organization. In a recent blog advocating contextual marketing, Forrester Research postulates that it is marketing’s job to identify and use the context of these ongoing interactions with her to create a repeatable cycle of connections, foster deep engagement and apply what is learned during the process to make her future interactions equally engaging.

So what is Customer Experience (CX)?

Customer Experience is the phrase used to describe the relationship a customer has with a business. Customer experience refers to the total of all experiences the customer has with the business, based on all interactions and the resultant thoughts about the business.

Recent Forrester data confirms that 72% of businesses say improving customer experience is their top priority.

“Until you understand your customers, deeply and genuinely, you cannot truly serve them.” — Rasheed Ogunlaru, life coach and author of Soul Trader

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And Customer Journey (CJ)?

The Customer Journey encompasses optimal customer engagement through proper management and credit attribution of touchpoints and channels through which the customer interacts with an organization or a brand. The necessity of such an approach arises from the realization that all interaction points and mediums have value in the process and should be stimulated appropriately. Moreover, it tries to create a more holistic view of customers’ behavioral patterns – understand emotions, desires, and needs as well as influences of the company’s endeavors on them.

“As a brand, I find that predicting what a customer wants means that I’m in control and I’m trying to define your customer journey, but when I anticipate, I’m trying to create as much flexibility for you to be in control of your customer journey.” – Jerad Zoghby, Global Personalization Lead & Southwest Agency Lead at Accenture Interactive.

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Customer Journey Mapping entails all the touchpoints of a customer’s interactions with a brand. If a company plots this map diligently and empathetically they could create a “magical experience” for her and for themselves increase revenue by providing the necessary information, personalization and engagement by harnessing transactional opportunity at various Moments of Truth along her Journey.

Some of the benefits of Customer Journey Mapping for businesses are:

  • helping you see where customers interact with your business
  • focusing the business on particular customer needs at different stages in the buying funnel
  • identifying whether the customer journey is in a logical order
  • giving an outside perspective on your sales process
  • showing the gaps between the desired customer experience and the one actually received
  • highlighting development priorities
  • allowing you to concentrate efforts and expenditure on what matters most to maximize effectiveness

Does It Matter?

Customers don’t just buy a product or service, they perceive the entire Journey as an Experience or memory they recall when doing business with the company again.

Irrespective of the location of your playground, every single company generally has an idea about how they want their customers to perceive their brand. This perception defines the ethos and essence of the business.

But when the ground reality hits, the kind of experience a brand envisions is not always what the company is able to deliver. In most cases, it is merely getting the job done.  However, the stalwarts of CX know that their level of customer experience far surpasses anything their competition will remotely be able to conjure.

So when she; your customer compares her experiences she will not do it in really quantitative or percentile manner, she will do so in simple but impactful terms like Awesome, Amazing or Harrowing, etc. these words register immediately and creates a tremendous recall when a person referred by her is going to buy a product or avail a service.

Championing Experience Commerce

Capitalizing on these moments, the moments of now, requires that businesses shift their focus from simply understanding what discount and which promotion to  offer to her, at various points of her Journey to truly understanding the context of her interactions – what is her intent, how can I engage her, and how can I provide value? And this is the epitome of delighting her.

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Google calls these “micro-moments”, which enrich the Customer Experience much fold and although they are not exclusively experiences, new experience platforms have ratcheted up the need for immediacy of recognition and response.

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