Several blog posts ago I talked about the way that the customer journey is being redefined in the digital age from a linear process to an ongoing loop of BUY then OWN, with the companies you choose to deal with becoming more and more engaged in every part of the cycle.
I’ve also posted on how that on-going loop looks like from a customer perspective. But how does this relate to the activities within a company to support that experience?
The second layer of the Continuous Customer Journey loop (above) maps the customer’s activities to those of the organization as it attracts the customer, informs, teaches, and converts the customer so they will make a purchase that then needs to be followed up by logistical operations, onboarding and ongoing support. Winning organizations also use engagement assets, such as loyalty programs, to up-sell and cross-sell to the existing customer, thereby generating revenue at a lower cost of sales
Although the overall experience is continuous it is made up of 11 distinct stages:
Attract: Before any relationship with a customer can be built, it is essential to first make potential customers aware of the company and attract them to find out more. Do people in your potential market know you exist?
Inform: The company should then inform any potential clients about the products and/or services they offer. It’s surprising how many companies miss this step, just relying on building brand awareness without actually telling you what they do. What is it that you do?
Learn: Another step often overlooked is learning about the potential customer. In today’s digital world customers expect a more personalized experience and service that meets their particular needs and requirements. Do you know who your customers are, and why they need your products?
Convert: Perhaps the key moment of the customer journey is the transition from prospect to customer. Ensuring that the previous three steps outlined above have been well executed can ease the conversion process. Unfortunately a lot of companies are focused on this stage of conversion and see it as the culmination of the process, when in fact it is the start of a potential on-going relationship that can drive more revenue.
Transact: How easy is it to do business with your company? Personally I’ve had too many dealings with companies that make it difficult for me to give them money – many of those companies lost my sale. The easier it is for the customer to complete a transaction the more likely they are to want to repeat the process.
Logistics: Once your customer has paid for the product and/or service how do you deliver the goods that they just paid for? Is it a quick frictionless process, or is it along drawn out experience?
Onboard: How do you make it easy for your customers to set up and start using your product? Do you welcome new customers to your company and community?
Support: Supporting your product is not just about helping to fix problems, although that is an essential part of it. Do you make it easy for your customers to own and operate your product? Do you connect with them on a regular basis? In a digital world do you use analytics and trends to be proactive with your customers? You should be supporting the customer, not just the product.
Loyalty: How do you make your good customers into great repeat customers? Loyalty programs can be a great way to do that, but they need to be proven to benefit your customers as well as the company.
Up-sell: Do you understand your customer’s needs well enough to be able to anticipate when they need to upgrade to the latest iterations of your services?
Cross-sell: Can you identify what other products from your portfolio will help your customers meet their business or personal needs? Do you know how to attract their attention and inform them about those other offerings? Have you built a solid ongoing relationship that means you can continue on the customer’s journey together?
I believe that this layer of the customer journey is best summarized in a recent tweet from Mark Hurst, the Founder and CEO of Creative Good:
“Did you know that your company has a team responsible for managing the customer experience? That team’s name is ‘the entire company’.”