Customer journey is taking over

Customer journey is taking over

‘Customer is the King’ and no one’s kidding about it.

In an era where the business world is a spectrum of intense competition, every organization must strive to survive by utilizing the best strategies available out there. Even though you might already be aware of this, a good, loyal customer is the ultimate asset of every business, paramount for its growth and success. In this regard, valuing your customers and treating them with priority above anything else is important but not sufficient.

A successful business knows its customers in and out and is aware of how the customer has been with them throughout. If you are running a business that has fully realized the importance of customers, bravo! But, do you know them well enough to confidently predict they are loyal clients who will come back again just like they made it the first time?

This is when knowing about the customer journey comes to your rescue.

What is Customer Journey?

Customer Journey can be identified as the process through which a customer interacts with the business and its brand from the time of coming into contact with its product or service until the present moment. In other words, think of it as a story that unfolds how the customer first met your product and engaged with it afterward, be it positively or negatively.

The customer journey is not about providing a snapshot of a single event of contact. Instead, it looks at the overarching picture by taking into account a collection of notable experiences or actions. Therefore, for your business, it is an analysis of a sequence of experiences that sums up the overall engagement of the customer with the brand.

Phases of Customer Journey

In order to understand customers’ take on your brand from their perspective, you must be knowledgeable about the different phases they go through from beginning to end. The customer journey can be segmented into five distinct stages namely awareness, consideration, purchase, retention, and loyalty. There can be also any type of customer journeys such as a simpler Pre-Purchase, Purchase, and Post-Purchase segments of phase and inside of these phases there can be multiple touchpoints. These journeys vary per business and are always unique but it is important to understand the big picture.

  • Awareness Phase

In the first stage, focus on the identification of the problem that your product/service intends to solve. The customer, after realizing the need for your product, must search for it through various online and offline methods. Here, include all the channels through which you have advertised and promoted what you sell.

  • Consideration

This is the stage where the customer begins to show an interest in your product and considers purchasing it. It’s an important stage for both the customer and the business. The customer must ensure that his/her preference will be able to satisfy the need for the best potential while the business must utilize this phase to make the product very appealing to the customer.

  • Purchase

Your customer decides to try your product and purchases it. Every customer prefers this phase to be well-streamlined so that they don’t face any kind of hassle when performing the transaction. Therefore, this is a make or break point for the business because if your website isn’t user-friendly to handle, or salespeople aren’t helpful enough, the customer won’t return. The customer will be observant of how the product is delivered, the packaging, and the speed of processing the transaction.

  • Retention

This is the post-purchase phase determined by the impression made by the product and the business. In order to reinforce your brand image, customer’s expectations must be met by the product delivering high satisfaction. In a successful retention phase, the customer will be motivated to purchase from the brand again and keep up with the latest updates.

  • Loyalty

The customer has built a lasting relationship with the brand and actively engages with it. The customer will participate in events organized by the enterprise, like the launch of a new product. Good customer experience will compel customers to be advocates of the product, thereby expanding the potential client base of the business.

In order to reap the maximum rewards, you must visualize the customer journey in a way it can be used to examine, evaluate, and strategize consistently. This is known as a customer journey map. It includes every aspect of interaction, experience, and challenge a customer goes through in each stage of the journey.

How to Map Customer Journey?

A comprehensive mapping of the customer journey is essential to understand a customer’s course of action throughout the buying process. It’s crucial to remember that the customer journey must be mapped from a customer’s point of view. Also, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to a customer journey map because you have to consider the different demographics and behaviors of the customers. So, you can have multiple customer maps, which can be advantageous when you design various marketing strategies.

A customer journey map should include all the above phases well-defined according to the details of your brand. In each phase, focus on the kinds of media, advertising channels, and people in your organization customers interact with. Also, list potential problems and issues and the questions they have in each phase. Finally, determine which functional unit of your organization is responsible for handling the customer in each phase.

Rewards of Evaluating the Customer Journey

In today’s digital world, businesses reach out to customers in many ways, and therefore tracing what led a customer to act in a certain way is a very complex task. Finding out what compelled the customer to initiate the purchase, or what made the customer turn away is impossible unless you link all the ways in which your brand has communicated with a potential customer.

By understanding the customer journey, you will be able to get a clear grasp of customers’ motivations when it comes to seeking your brand and cater to their demands better. You can look at the way they act or respond when they shop at your store or website and induce repetitive purchase behavior using fruitful tactics.

Knowing your customers is not just about being intuitive or making predictions by assessing the surface-level engagement. It’s about diving deep to comprehend their expectations, disappointments, and challenges throughout the sales process. Many businesses utilize this concept to understand customer behavior and evaluate customer experience effectively. So, make use of it to drive your marketing strategies and customer service forward.

Today, a strategic understanding of the customer journey can become an indispensable tool for the business to succeed and grant it a competitive edge over its rivals. The customer journey, in reality, is too complex, and therefore you may not be able to include everything on the map. Having a basic outline at first and then improving it as you go along can help. Moreover, remember to keep your analysis of customer journey up-to-date by making consistent changes according to the changing nature of the business environment.

Jaakko Männistö

I’m a startup entrepreneur, founder and award-winning customer experience professional at @feedbacklyapp as well as the founder of the biggest entrepreneurial digital community in Finland – Yrittäjä.io. I’m also a notorious keynote speaker from entrepreneurial stories to day to day human communications and personal branding. At most I enjoy coaching golf, sailing, smoothies, and triathlon

AI is still a utility of the few

AI is still a utility of the few

Artificial intelligence (AI) is not only popular in headlines these days – but there is also an increasing number of published research papers on subjects pertaining to AI, making it an all-round hot topic. Although there is a lot of hype and anticipation about forthcoming implications, there still aren’t many everyday AI business solutions in use. What if changes were made now to apply the current technology in a smarter way?

Natural language processing (NLP) is not a new topic; however, recent advancements in AI, applied to machine learning in NLP, have not only improved accuracy but also made NLP more cost-effective. In fact, nowadays, almost any company can start utilizing text analysis to at least some extent.

Let’s consider the implications and benefits in relation to customer experience. AI with NLP can contribute in three ways:

(1)                        Customer insight

(2)                        Efficiency

(3)                        New services

By utilizing text analytics, companies have the ability to analyze unstructured data sources, such as customer surveys and social media. This data can then be combined with existing data to provide even deeper customer insight. Text analytics brings efficiency to analysis work, but it can also be applied to something like message routing, where it would eliminate the need to perform manual tasks.

Alongside AI’s value in contributing positive benefits to customer insight and efficiency, another huge opportunity is in utilizing AI with NLP for the development of totally new product.

Ville Henttonen

Ville is a founder of Helsinki Intelligence and a customer experience professional focusing on artificial intelligence and analytics solutions.

CX trends during 2019 – the year when CX is reborn!

CX trends during 2019 – the year when CX is reborn!

The customer journey will be reborn and start breaking the silos

By now the concept of the customer journey has already been known for quite some time. But what we are seeing based on thousands and thousands of customer engagements is that the ideology is re-emerging. Companies will also reel their KPIs and metrics to service customer journeys but also use the same ideology for innovations and service improvements as well as improving their internal well being! This said I think that the year 2019 will be the year when companies really start breaking their data silos and stop using separate systems to collect the data. A single touchpoint approach has already been living far too long. he realm of customer experience that focuses on the customer journey and sentiment as they traverse through the product/service is helping define the lifetime value of a customer. There are a tremendous opportunity and emergence of customer data platforms that go beyond the 360-degree view of a customer to enable cohorts and clusters to enable better targeting for up-sell/cross-sell.

How are we doing – the second coming of the employee experience

Many times in the hassle of trying to improve the customer experience we tend to forget that it is our own people that create those experiences. Happy employees create happy customers. And finally, this seems to be catching off! For the first time in 10 years, we can see lots of investments in measuring and improving one’s employee experience and companies are taking this matter more and more seriously.

Digital integration continues

Companies will continue to take the next steps in using integrations and automating their process also in customer experience. This is a global phenomenon and cannot be neglected in cx world. Data will move more frictionless from system to system but also e.g. tricking the surveys throughout the customer journeys and managing the entire process automatically is turning into everyday life for marketers and cx professionals.

New CX leaders will emerge

Still to hear that someone is ”A chief customer experience officer” is rare and it will still continue to be. Mainly because there are very few people on the market that actually understand through experience have to lead customer experiences on a strategic level. Now, this is of course controversy because companies are racing to bring CX to be their main strategy for competitiveness. This said, there will be more and more incompetent CX managers on the market and it will take still more time for them to gain experience. But also it warms my soul to say that there are more and more really high-level professionals among customer experience and they are moving to senior positions faster than ever!

ps. An interesting trend we are seeing inside CX leaders and managers is that they are starting to call themselves the “Journey managers” or “Journey leaders” which is furthermore emphasizing the importance of customer journeys in the field of CX.

Connecting to business results

This might sound a bit obvious but during my career, I have seen countless companies and leaders who do CX “Just because you need to” or “Because it is trendy right now”. From my perspective, I see that this phenomenon is finally declining and companies are requesting and also trying to also understand better themselves how they try to connect CX into their other business objectives. It might be as simple as bringing it together with the simple sales data and see some correlation or something a bit more complex depending on the industry.  Still, for most companies in the market, there is still a lot of educating to do!

One of the best ways to harness CX data can be to link it to increased sales (NPS trend X sales trend), exposure (How much reviews are we creating?), and loyalty are as a predictor of future consumer behavior. This becomes increasingly important as promoters are extremely likely to recommend the company to others. In contrast, detractors are extremely unlikely to make recommendations and are responsible for 80% to 90% of a company’s negative word of mouth. This said I can also add that about 73% of the promoters spread positive WOM!! So in the end, the most important thing is that you ask yourself “How does this support my business goals?” and act accordingly.

The next generation of AI

Surprise! With the help of new technologies and AI, businesses are going to be able to take more action on their data – real actionable insights. Machine learning, AI, and heuristic neural networks are giving this technology the ability to combine scenarios, increase understanding, and make real-time predictive decisions but the most impact we will see when natural language processing and intelligence categorization are combined for the help data analytics. This development is still baby steps but crucial to get it right at first. If intelligent categorization does not work, it is merely impossible to move to the next step of predictive analytics.

With these, it is good to go towards the end of 2019 and full on to 2020 and rock your customer’s world even bigger and better!

How To Reward Your Staff For Improved Customer Experience

How To Reward Your Staff For Improved Customer Experience

Whether your business is an online store or a storefront downtown, providing excellent motivation for your staff will determine if you succeed in the long run. In today’s economy, the businesses that will survive and thrive will be those that give each and every staff a better working experience than the competition. Win that battle. Grow your sales and your business by fine-tuning your staff motivation and we all know that motivated staff works better and harder.  But how do we ensure we motivate staff? Here are a few tips.

Happy work force = happy customers

Offer a great environment to work in and take care of your staff the way you anticipate that them will take care of your clients. Why would it be a good idea for them to be pleasant to clients in the event that they are getting a crude work at works themselves? Keep workers cheerful by giving what they require in terms of training (soft aptitudes and specialized knowledge) and real backing with positive messages where proper and valuable criticism where development is required.

Manager feedback and conversation

You don’t have to spend a ton of cash to make your staff feel motivated and valued. Frequently phone call from a senior director complimenting a colleague on a ‘good week’ is similarly as compelling as an offer of an training course or gift voucher. It can be as simple as weekly a message saying “thank you” for answering the employee feedback survey. You can’t be seen to pull back investing in your people. Obviously, you may need to make choices to protect the profitability of your business that may not be well known so the messages you convey are critical. We should keep on celebrating achievement, mentor individuals on particular difficulties and address any troublesome issues they confront. In big picture and in a big company this might be complicated but there are also HR survey and conversation systems to help you.

A positive attitude

It is crucial that recruitment team managers realign their desires and mull over the economic climate when setting targets and goals. While I don’t trust it is all fate and misery out there, it is unquestionably harder to convert leads into sales and there are fewer opportunities. So, team leaders must urge their staff to raise their game and offer themselves out of the credit crunch. Even when giving feedback, you can be positive and constructive.

The right tools and skills for the job

Despite whether you are working amid a credit crunch or not – staff motivation is affected by the following variables: having the ideal individual in the who is fit for doing it; preparing them to carry out the job by giving them the right tools and support and finally setting realistic targets that they know can be accomplished. We have kept on investing into sales and marketing amid these troublesome times and have launched a number of new product lines. This shows our staff that we are reacting to the difficulties of the marketplace and supporting them in every way we can.

Using temporary workers

The advantage of having temporary workers is that the clients can flex here and there relying upon their necessity. So obviously in the course of recent months, we have seen a decline sought after for temporary workers across a number of our customers. Normally organizations are likewise hesitant to permanent recruitment and are even subject to headcount freezes.

Without good staff motivation, each working experience or transaction would be a boring monotony. Breaking up someone’s day by being friendly, open and creating an atmosphere that is somewhere they will want to do wonders for their attitude, which in turn does wonder for your sales.

If you want to hear more or discuss how you can also set up goals for your staff and measure them easily and effectively let us know! Hope you guys enjoyed!

What should you ask from your potential customers online?

What should you ask from your potential customers online?

Customer Experience (CX) is not all about Surveys, but when measuring CX it is crucial to understand on what you measure and what you ask your customers. Regular customers is a one thing but what if the person is not your customer (yet)? We are regularly asked what kind of website feedback we should be asking for in user surveys and polls. Our answer: it differs. The website and eCommerce feedback you attempt to acquire are contingent on the user’s experience, and what you’re attempting to accomplish.

You should always have a clear goal of what you would like to measure and accomplish with the surveys you use whether it is ensuring the continuous experience level or very specific information. Either way, you might wonder how you can actually ask all this from your customer.

To help you get on the right path, we’ve assembled a list of questions we believe to be the most engaging with visitors – sorted by your type of business: E-Commerce, SaaS, Blogs and News websites. Suggestion – be sure to change-up your questions frequently. Your team should be reading a vast assortment of answers to questions in order to genuinely identify with your users.

Is your business type unlisted? Let us know and we’ll put it on our list! Hope this will help you with your inspiration and get you back on track!

E-commerce Feedback

Before Buying:

  • What details are lacking, or can we make your choice to purchase easier?
  • What are you most worried about regarding the item you intend to purchase?
  • Did you achieve what you intended during today’s visit?
  • If you didn’t buy anything today, what prevented you from doing so?

After Buying:

  • In your opinion, are there any aspects of our checkout process that needs improvement?
  • What are you most worried about with regards to buying a product from us?
  • What would have convinced you to finalize the purchase of the item(s) in your cart today?
  • What would you miss the most if you were unable to use [name] anymore?

More Interesting Questions:

  • Do you have any questions prior to finalizing your purchase?
  • Is there additional content you would like to see on this page?
  • What 3 things convinced you to create an account today?
  • Was there anything that almost prevented you from creating an account today?
  • Is there anything that almost prevented you from purchasing from us?
  • Did you consider other options before deciding on [name]?
  • What would convince you to visit us more frequently?
  • What was your biggest issue, frustration or challenge in locating the proper (product type) online?
  • Are you open to referring us to a colleague or friend? (NPS question)
  • What 3 things convinced you to purchase from us, as opposed to a competitor?
  • Are there any products you would like to see in our inventory?
  • Did you successfully find the content you were seeking?
  • Are you satisfied with our support?
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate our service? (NPS question)
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate our support? (NPS question)
  • At this point, is there anything stopping you from buying?

Saas and Software

New or Trial users:

  • Was there anything that almost prevented you from signing up today?
  • What would convince you to visit us more frequently?
  • Would you recommend us to a colleague or friend? (NPS question)
  • Were our prices easy to locate? If not, what would you like to see?
  • Was our pricing model clear?

Customers:

  • What persuaded you to buy this service?
  • What was the biggest reason you decided to buy from us?
  • Can you name something you think is lacking in [name]?
  • Are there any features you would like to see that would make our product essential for you?
  • What would you miss the most if you weren’t able to use [name] anymore?

Ex-Customers:

  • What is the primary reason you’re canceling your account? (please be specific)
  • What is the one thing you would change about [name]?
  • If you could modify anything about [product name] what would it be?
  • Were you satisfied with our customer service?

More Interesting Questions:

  • What 3 things convinced you to create an account today?
  • What were the other options you considered purchasing before settling on [name]?
  • What was your biggest issue, frustration or challenge in locating the proper (product type) online?
  • What 3 things convinced you to purchase from us, as opposed to a competitor?
  • Are there any questions you have prior to beginning a free trial?
  • What convinced you to begin a trial?
  • Was there anything that almost prevented you from beginning a trial?
  • Which other choices did you ponder using before selecting [name]?
  • Are there any other products you want to see us provide?
  • Was this section helpful for you?
  • Did this article help you?
  • Were you satisfied with the help you received from us?
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate our service? (NPS question)
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate our support? (NPS question)
  • At this point, is there anything stopping you from upgrading?
  • At this point, is there anything stopping you from buying?
  • Is there anything on this page that doesn’t function as you needed it to?
  • What do we need to change in order to keep you as a customer?
  • If you did not upgrade today, what prevented you from doing so?
  • Based on these options, what is the next thing you would like to see us create?
  • Would you feel happy, sad or indifferent if we no longer continued this feature?
  • What’s the next functionality or feature we should develop?

Blogs, Publishers and News sites

Enhancing Content:

  • If you had the ability to modify one thing about [name], what would it be?
  • What other types of content would you like to see us present?
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate this article? (NPS Question)
  • In your opinion, if anything on this page needs changing, what would it be?

Subscriptions:

  • What is your primary reason for unsubscribing? (please be specific)
  • What 3 things convinced you to sign up for our list today?
  • What prevented you from subscribing to [name] today?
  • What persuaded you to buy this service?

There you have it. We hope this article helps you create new surveys and modify your existing ones. We would love to hear which questions you end up using. If you have questions of your own to share, list them in the comments below. This is, of course, specific for web and eCommerce but there are a lot of things you can do also in Brick & Mortar. More about those a bit later on!