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Understanding the Customer Experience Journey

By Gene De Libero, CCXP posted 04-07-2016 02:35 PM


In this article, we’ll explore how understanding the customer experience journey can help you make insightful discoveries that positively impact your bottom line. 

It’s All About Context 

A recent McKinsey article talked about how some companies struggle with collecting, analyzing, and acting on customer feedback. One of the reasons for this is they’re gathering customer feedback through a single channel, like sales. The result is lack of context.  They don’t have a complete, holistic view of the entire customer experience journey – and that means the company is missing out on important information about their customers. Those insights from users and influencers (the context) are critical if the company ever hopes to make their customers’ experiences more meaningful.

"We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better." - Jeff Bezos

Measuring The Customer Experience Journey

Traditional approaches to measurement (likes clicks, for example) don’t always provide a true picture of customer intent (why they came to your website) or satisfaction (did they get what they came for?). For example, when my printer isn’t working properly, I immediately head for Google and enter the following search term: “HP model XYZ123 not printing.”

I choose a link from the search engine results page (SERP) and off I go to HP’s knowledge base article that explains how I can solve my problem. I try the suggested approach, remedy the problem, and close the browser window.

Q: Looking at their analytics data, does HP know if my problem was solved?

A: Nope.

While they do have a good idea of intent, all HP really knows is that an anonymous user came to their site from a search query on Google and was served a specific page of content. They have no idea if that content satisfied the user’s needs – unless they take a different approach. For example, we’re seeing sites like HP ask the user at the end of the page of content, “Was this content helpful to you?” and also ask the user to rate their level of satisfaction with the value of the content.

"There is only one boss - the customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else." - Sam Walton

To effectively measure the customer experience journey, and take actions based on the insights we learn from those measurements, we have to “watch” customers’ behavior holistically to understand what channels and assets they’re engaging with and why. Occasionally, we might even have to ask them to help us help them. The resulting data can be leveraged to help us do a better job of reaching, engaging (converting), and keeping our customers.

Remember, no single customer (or group of customers) is going to have the exact same needs, wants, desires, or touch points along their purchase journey. You need to leverage the data from those differences to your brand’s advantage. It’s also important to create a flexible model for mapping customer journeys that can be tailored to keep pace with each individual and/or audience segment. Listen and observe your customers through every touch point experience and at every stage of their journey with your brand to add value to those experiences throughout their journeys - not just at the end.

Marketing Technology Tools

That’s all well and good, on paper. But to really create remarkable customer experiences, you need marketing technology tools that give you the power to follow and measure your customers’ journeys in real-time and make changes to the customer experience accordingly, based on business rules and other key performance indicators (KPIs).

For example, today’s customer-experience-driven content management systems make it possible for marketers to change messaging and interactions by delivering personalized content to customers during their interactions with the brand, regardless of the device or platform they use to engage.

"Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends." – Walt Disney

Context Marketing

It’s the age of context marketing – delivering the right message/content to the right people at the right time. And the right marketing technology tools can empower marketers to connect with prospects and customers like never before.

But to deliver on the promise of context marketing, your marketing technology stack must offer integrated capabilities that include world-class content management (for a seamless conversation), contextual intelligence (to help you create truly personalized experiences based on what you know about the customer), and omnichannel automation (to make real-time decisions about delivering the right message to the right channel). 

What’s your understanding of your customers’ experience journey? Have you mapped the various journeys of your customer segments? What tools do you use to deliver on the promise of context marketing? Does your marketing technology stack help or hinder your efforts? Please take a few minutes to share your thoughts in the comments.

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