Why is less than 20% of marketing customer-centric?
At the foundation of every existing business, is a strategic blue print that is designed to move consumers through a series of experiences, ultimately leading to one single goal. This could not be possible without Customer Journey Mapping, which allows you, as the marketer, to improve Customer Experiences whenever and wherever possible. In fact, without a Customer Journey Map, Customer Experiences could not be accurately mapped out or executed. So why haven’t all companies jumped on board and adopted this customer-centric thinking?
With each Customer Experience, the level of interaction and interest must be elevated and nurtured at all times, which evidently requires more resources. However, when carried out properly, you can actually convert your customers in advocates, leading to the beginning of the virtuous cycle. At the heart of this virtuous cycle is customer service or “the make and break” of positive customer experiences. The level of empathy a business has for its consumers will ultimately determine the amount of positive word of mouth that gets circulated and the quality of their brand advocates. The most successful companies recognize that the customer experience doesn’t die the minute after money is exchanged. In fact, that is when the adventure of a lifetime begins! But without a plan like a Customer Journey Map, such intentions often fall to the wayside, leading to loss opportunities and Customer Experiences.
How do you know if your customer experience is good enough?
The first thing that you must realize is that one metric will not give you the input and information that you need to determine whether a company is customer oriented or whether they’re only interested in the bottom line. Statistics pertaining to sales and customer growth are merely indicators that cannot depict the whole story. As such, you will need to assemble several metrics to garner a true reflection of what is happening on the front line. These statistics will then be compared to competitors across various business operation times in order to gauge whether business is excelling or not.
Mapping the Customer Journey, and furthermore, Customer Experiences, begins with realizing that a customer’s decision-making process and memory retention is heavily rooted in his/her emotions. It can be said that recalling memories is simply sharing the experience of how a customer felt during an interaction with a business as opposed to the actual story surrounding the memory. Recognizing that customers will always have an experience (be it good, bad or indifferent) is a crucial step in mapping out how you’d like each of your Customer Experiences to look.
The Limbic System, the emotional part of the brain, plays a vital role in forming the Customer Experience in the brain in 95% of all instances, whereas the rational portion of the brain will only be involved in 5% of cases. This means that a business could be doing everything right on a rational level, however, if there are subtle things that don’t appeal to your target audience, the emotional part of the brain will pick up on it, leaving a person with a bad Customer Experiences.
What you have to do to create favorable customer experiences
To ensure that your customers leave with the best Customer Experience possible, trust and control must be established at the very beginning. Consumers are much more receptive than you might think, to the point that if a business possesses certain values that don’t align with theirs, trust will be lost rather quickly and they will likely find an alternative company to purchase products from.
As much as it might be daunting, it’s also beneficial to empower customers with control of their own when it comes to their own Customer Experience. Why? Because the reality is that customer’s are going to do it anyway, based upon their needs and preferences. Consumers want to engage with companies that give them the freedom to make decisions and change them if and when necessary. In doing so, customer’s feel like their opinion truly matters and that the Customer Experience is catering to their needs.
Understanding that the Customer Journey starts at the moment a potential customer first hears about your business – this is your first opportunity to integrate a memorable Customer Experience. Understanding that the relationship must be nurtured for an extensive period is second most important thing when It comes to mapping out the Customer Journey and Customer Experiences. When this line of thinking is incorporated into your business and Customer Experiences are prioritized every step of the way, you will have differentiated yourself from your competition drastically.
To foster a positive Customer Experience, the following goals should be in place:
- To connect emotionally with customers
Since we have already established that the emotional parts of our brain make up 95% of experiences, it stands to reason that a successful business should be connecting emotionally with their customers from the very beginning in order to forge long lasting relationships. Connecting on an emotional level means that, instead of distributing generalized messages aimed at a mass, messages will be tailored to each individual based upon their preferences, which is generally more well received. Often this requires gathering an abundance of data on a person before they even walk into a store. Fortunately, the Internet makes this easier for us as we can determine user’s interests based upon the things they like or click. Once this information has been gathered, goods and services can be marketed towards them more accurately.
- To foster a sense of control
Your business should also aspire to give your customers a sense of control or ownership over the entire process of engagement with the company. In doing so, your business will act as a mentor or a guide that will help the customer move closer to their desires, be it a product or service. By putting the customer at the centre of the Customer Journey, you will undoubtedly create a lasting positive impression on each customer you encounter.
- Build trust and relationships
Put it this way, the more you can blur the dividing lines between a business and a consumer, the better. We want to be approaching customers as partners in a lifetime relationship – warmly, friendly and welcoming. Customers don’t like to feel like they’re simply contributing to your revenue; they want to feel like they are a part of a community, something bigger than a business in itself. In other words, your interaction and engagement should be at the same level after the purchase as it was before the customer bought anything from you, which can be designed and carried out with the aid of a Customer Journey Map.
- To help your customers make informed decisions
By making your processes open and as transparent as possible, customers will instill more trust in your business and more over, feel more comfortable in investing in it, knowing that they aren’t being taken advantage of. All information pertaining to the product should then be readily available to each customer at any time in order for him or her to make informed decisions. Doing so will result in the beginning of a positive cycle, as when customers trust a business more, they are more open to buying products from you in the future.
- To continuously engage in conversation with your customers and clients
And the conversation doesn’t stop there – nor does it ever. It’s important to continue talking and engaging with your customers to learn more about their experience – what they liked, what they didn’t like and what can be improved upon.
Each of the above points are metrics and qualities that can be referred to when developing your own strategies and processes around mapping the Customer Journey and ultimately, heart-warming and memorable Customer Experiences.
For more information about customer journey mapping and our unique process of creating engaging customer experiences, schedule a consultation.