The customer journey has become one of the most talked and witten-about topics in the marketing world in the last few years, which should come as no surprise. Whereas marketers used to have the upper hand, the customers now reign supreme.
Consumers, as well as business buyers, orientate themselves online by comparing several providers, and they choose how, when and where to buy as it suits them. Often multiple touchpoints are used to reach a sale. There are online touchpoints, such as brick-and-mortar shops or phone customer service support, and there are also online touchpoints, such as search engines, review sites, online stores, and social media. The challenge is to develop a customer journey that fits seamlessly with your target group’s needs.
1. Segment your Target Audience
Businesses with a limited amount of trade can say with confidence that they genuinely know their customers, just like a corner shop owner knows how to approach and advise regulars. But when your business has thousands or even trillions of customers, this becomes a lot harder. Even so, the success of the enterprise depends on gaining detailed insight into your target group’s wants and needs.
Once you know why certain customers buy particular products, how they use the products, and how happy they are with them, you can start dividing up your group into relevant segment. It seems logical but yet many businesses don’t have a functional segmenting model in operation, and they still deliver a one-size-fits-all approach.
2. Map Online and Offline Touchpoints
When planning a smooth customer journey, you need to estimate the value your target audience assigns to the different touchpoints available. What is more, you need to understand at what point in the journey a particular touchpoint becomes necessary. For example, you may have a brick-and-mortar shop that gets a minuscule trade, because most of your customers buy from your online store. The physical shop, however, can still be an unmissable link in the consumer orientation process
A common mistake made in mapping the customer journey is to concentrate only on the online behavior. Marketers leave out the offline reality, such as visits to the brick-and-motar shop, because the buying is happening online. As purchasing processes evolve to become purely online events, this will matter less but don’t get ahead of yourself. Offline behavior still matters for now.
3 Optimize Touchpoints and Build Bridges
The information you gain from performing the first two steps can now be put to use in the third, which will help you to create a better customer journey. A good place to start is by building connections between the various touchpoints. In other words, you want to present your brand promise clearly at every point of interaction between you and your customers, be it your website, email, customer service, or physical store.
Equally important is the optimization of touchpoints. which means tweaking the role of each touchpoint in the client’s journey. You can base those roles on their respective characteristics such as reach and affinity with particular segments of your target group. When you do this it is important to focus on what your customers prefer and how they behave when using the different touchpoints. Never try to dictate how you think your customers should use a particular touchpoint.
4. Analyze Before You Change
Optimizing touchpoints isn’t cheap. That is why it is a good idea to analyze carefully any changes you are planning to make. A change to click and collect, for example, only makes sense if it adds value, both for your target group and your business.
You also need to understand how change can impact on your internal organization. One method you could use to investigate this question is the McKinsey 7S Framework. This framework enables you to see how changing a touchpoint can affect the different aspects that make up a successful organization, namely strategy, structure, systems, shared values, skills, staff, and style. You are looking to make changes that keep the harmony between these aspects intact.