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How Marketers Can Better Drive and Own the Customer Experience

Marketers working within customer-centric organizations take a lot of extra measures to understand what customers want and how they behave. They are incessantly gathering customer data to capture insights, and they share these insights across their entire organization. 

Today, a growing number of organizations are realizing how profoundly improving thecustomer experience can impact their current and future success. Here are a few eye-opening statistics:

  • Companies that lead in customer experience outperform laggards by nearly 80%  (Forrester Study)
  • 84% of companies that work to improve their customer experience report an increase in their revenue. (Dimension Data)
  • American consumers will pay 17% more to purchase from a company with a reputation for great customer service. (American Express Customer Service Barometer)
  • Brands delivering superior customer experiences bring in 5.7 times more revenue than competitors that lag in customer experience. (Forrester)
  • Customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable than companies that don’t focus on customers.

To evaluate the quality of your customer experience, put yourself in their shoes.

The difference between the customer journey and customer experience is this: The customer journey is how they interact with your mix of marketing touchpoints. The customer experience is how they feel about the entire customer lifecycle—from exploration to purchasing decisions and beyond. To gain insights into how customers feel, you must first put yourself in their shoes.

Contemporary companies use a wide range of channels to communicate and interact with their customers, yet they often fail to leverage these vital interactions or “touchpoints” to optimize the customer journey because they’re not collecting enough data or not creating strategies from a customer perspective. It’s also common for sales and marketing strategies to become isolated from one another, leading to a disconnect in opportunities to elevate the customer experience.

The value of creating customer / user journey maps

The most important guideline for creating a compelling user journey map is to look at the process from the customer’s perspective. You will need two types of research to accomplish this goal: Analytical data, and anecdotal data. Using your website or social media analytics will tell you exactly where the customers are, how much time they spend with you, and when they leave.

Acquiring anecdotal data often requires more effort. Asking customers to fill out surveys about their experience can also help you collect anecdotal research. Social media, however, can be very useful for immediately gauging how customers feel or think. When a customer or prospect is satisfied or upset about his or her experience with a company, they are likely to share their opinions or experiences on their preferred social media platforms.  

Tips for assembling customer journey maps

Draw a simple, graphic map or timeline that itemizes each touchpoint along your customers’ experience—basically any time a customer comes in contact with your brand. Once you’re in the customer mindset, you can map out your touchpoints, which will likely include:

  • Social media reviews
  • Your website
  • Advertisements
  • Lead nurturing email campaigns
  • Your customer service staff
  • Follow-up customer feedback surveys

When analyzing the stages along a customer journey map, note the following: Actions—ask yourself what the customer is doing at each one of the stages. Motivation—what factors will encourage your customers (or discourage them) to advance to the next stage of your sales   funnel? Where do customers get hung up?  If you can’t identify the friction, it’s impossible to remove it. What emotions do they feel in each one of the stages?

If your product is complex, could you improve the customer experience by proactively addressing questions your customers will have as they move through the stages? If you’re  unsure of the steps your customers take along their journey, ask them. Create customer feedback surveys to better understand their experiences with your brand.

Keep in mind that every customer’s journey will be slightly different, and some customers may skip stages altogether; this is why it’s important to create as many scenarios asyou can and talk to your customers to learn about the journey they take when interacting with your brand.

Monitor your social media pages, looking for customer mentions

To avoid the negative consequences of failing to respond to customer concerns or complaints, make a point of spending time on your social accounts. Closely monitor your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages for any mentions of your brand or product. Track customer ratings and reviews in places like Yelp, e-commerce sites, blogs, and forums related to your industry. To maintain a great customer experience, you need to know – good or bad—how your customers are feeling.

Owning the customer experience takes effort, but the rewards are many

Being a customer centric organization is essential to understanding your target audience and optimizing customer value. Always put yourself in the shoes of the customer and strive to minimize customer effort while maximizing customer value. 

Connecting with the customer experience. Finance of America Reverse (FAR)

At ParkerWhite, we want “customer-centric” to get inside the minds of baby boomers who were considering the benefits of a reverse mortgage to secure a more fulfilling retirement. Our customer journey campaign touchpoints included data-driven messaging, UX and visual design, custom photography, print collateral, email nurture campaign, video production and social media strategy. Take a look.

Let’s talk about how we can map out and optimize your customers journey!

How Marketers Can Better Drive and Own the Customer Experience