Many marketers still believe they are the ones in control of a customer's journey: they select the segment, deploy the message and stress the need for customers to take action. These campaigns are linear by design, offer very specific opportunities for engagement and are explicit about what the conclusion needed to be.
In reality, customers rarely conform to these carefully laid plans. Instead they go about their browsing and shopping in, well, whatever way they please. While marketers can encourage customers onto their preferred path to conversion, it has now become imperative that brands think about their offerings in the mind-set of the customer, with an outwards looking in approach.
But, with customers shopping 24/7, through whatever channel they like, using the device that suits them best (and expecting a seamless experience while doing so), how can marketers still get a desirable outcome?
With the customer journey, emphasis isn’t on the end goal. It’s an understanding of the customer’s voyage at any given time, and an appreciation of their emotional status at different stages of this voyage. Importantly, there also needs to be an acceptance that this journey can begin, continue and end using any one of your channels. And that some stages will be out of your hands completely.
Marketers can incentivize the start of the journey – be it through adverts, optimized search results and looking favorable compared to the competition – but beyond that, the customer takes the reigns. It’s up to brands to ensure that the journey experience is intuitive and user-friendly, consistent between channels, and free of any friction points that can negatively affect the service you have provided.
Where that may not be the case, this is where customer journey intervention is needed. Brands need to be aware of the occasions to step in, be responsive and able to take action at appropriate touchpoint between the customer’s entry point and their chosen destination.
Ultimately, if your customers are enjoying your service, there isn’t a great need for intervention – after all, making an experience that is already good even better is very difficult. Instead, intervention means turning a potentially negative experience into a good one.
For example, this could mean a live chat pop-up for customers who appear to be spending too long deliberating on a particular page. It could mean a triggered cart abandonment message to a customer who failed to complete a purchase, asking if there was a problem. It could mean the opportunity to create a wish list to help refine the products you recommend to them. Alternatively, it could mean monitoring for negative sentiment on social media and offering to resolve problems. It may even be something as simple as making account registration easier, should excess form filling be discouraging them.
But how do you create and understand the customer journey? How do you test? How else can you intervene appropriately and how can you measure the impact of your intervention?
To find out more, please download BlueVenn’s latest eBook: Intervening in the Customer Journey.
Marketers now have to focus more on the experience than the goal, simply because your customers and clients demand control of how they get from point A to point B. To do that, marketers need to understand the customer journey, as well as find new ways to intervene appropriately, at the best times.