Customer experience (CX) is at the core of every company’s ROI metrics. According to Forbes, US companies are losing a mind-boggling $62 billion annually due to defective customer service. It’s widely believed that customer churn significantly erodes customer loyalty, and with it, profitability. One bad experience can single-handedly derail a customer journey that has transitioned through the same company for many years.
It’s common sense, but there’s plenty of research that proves a strategy around customer acquisition will end up far more expensive than one focused on customer retention. The primary reason for the considerable cost difference is that customers will likely buy brands they trust without marketing persuasion. In contrast, trying out new products generally follows an intensive marketing campaign that doesn’t come cheaply. The implication is that customer loyalty is something every marketer should preserve and nurture and certainly not take it for granted.
An effective CX strategy should develop a balanced approach by using customer experience management software that will help you to:
- Convert prospects into new customers
- Uplift new customers to loyal customers
- Solidify loyalty for as long as possible, and thus minimize customer churn and maximize customer retention
What is CX and its relationship to strategy in a business?
CX is short for customer experience with a brand. It takes customers through a process of touchpoints that, together, form a chain of events starting with the moment the idea to purchase enters the customer’s mind. All the customer touchpoints form a pattern, much like a map. Thus, we generally refer to this as the customer journey, or CJ. Now, from a marketer’s viewpoint, this can culminate in various degrees of completion:
- Failure (identified when the CJ veers off the expected path)
- First-stage success (signified by the customer buying the product once)
- Second-stage success (arising when there’s a repeat purchase)
- Loyalty success – the ultimate achievement (multiple customer buying events, probably spreading out to other products)
Customer journey mapping
Customer journey mapping is a crucial aspect of customer experience management. Customer journey mapping is when a company can visually represent:
- The customer or prospect experience, touchpoint by touchpoint, toward a buying action and beyond.
- A blueprint for marketers to review customers’ movements from start to finish as they move in and out of online company connection.
- The obstacles, pain points, and motivations in the customer journey. The idea is to keep the customer journey on track and register customer satisfaction.
In other words, marketers should:
- Understand the dynamics above as a reliable source of reference.
- Search for specific touchpoints responsible for derailing or stalling customer journeys, temporarily or permanently.
- Pinpoint the customer journey disruptors that require urgent adjustment.
Now, tracking touchpoints is not a simple matter. So here are the driving considerations when defining CX and developing a customer experience management platform that functions well:
- Customers today buy online and in-store, but even if the latter, they connect prolifically to internet sources on their customer journey. So, the question is, how precisely are they engaging virtually?
- Online Google and Facebook ads stream through every day, sometimes swaying our opinion on product purchases.
- YouTube videos are a massive medium for opinion leaders to air their views on brands, and prospects refer to them constantly.
- Mobile devices are indispensable for shopping – they are portable mini-computers providing valuable content 24/7/365.
- Podcasts abound on a range of subjects that may overlap purchasing decisions.
- Google searches will instantly throw out scores of digital options, whether for autos, hats, insurance agents, mortgage brokers, lawnmowers, you name it.
- Google a brand for user reviews and ratings to get reliable insights.
- The customer engages in an on-site chat with a bot or a live support agent.
Then, don’t forget friends and family. Everyone in that category generally has an opinion. The actions may zig-zag from online navigation to offline connections, back to the internet, maybe scores of times until the customer goes to the cash register.
Many marketers make the error of believing a “buy” is the beginning of a robust customer/brand relationship. But, unfortunately, that’s not necessarily the case:
- Product returns are a way of life today.
- Some people order three items, all different brands, to return two – or in extreme cases, all three. Why? Because they know they can without penalty. So, counting one’s chickens before they hatch isn’t an advisable route in a world of “changing minds.”
- That aside, a committed buyer may abandon the brand after buying if the instructions are hard to follow, technical support is a nightmare, or any number of things.
Loyal customers are far more forgiving if you can get over the initial humps. Once they love a brand, they’ll overlook touchpoint defects that prospects wouldn’t tolerate: For example:
- Glitches in new offers
- Lapses in existing usage
- Faulty customer support
Also, you don’t have to promote them as intensely as prospects or new customers. The more brand followers you have, the better. The faster you can get new customers moving toward brand loyalists, the quicker you will likely see a jump in profitability. It all boils down to knowing the touchpoints in your CX that trigger positive reactions while eliminating the defective ones.
How do I strategize using CX or journey mapping?
The short answer? Deploy customer experience software that’s an integral part of the marketing department’s customer experience platform. Savvy marketing executives rely on the latest digital customer journey mapping tools to leverage customer data quantitatively and qualitatively by collecting it, sorting it, and presenting it. That’s how they’re able to drill down into the insights about how users engage with their brand and website.
The customer’s journey frequently follows convoluted routes, thus requiring you to harvest a significant quantity of data across a broad spectrum of touchpoints. This can help you:
- Understand where the visitors are coming from
- Appreciate how they navigate the website when they visit it
- Solicit feedback directly from the clients
Put it all together constructively, and the information reveals a lot.
Primary customer journey mapping types help you transition to a better customer experience
When building a customer experience platform, it should dial into all the touchpoints that count. It would help if you went the extra mile to ensure that your customer experience software is on point, making analysis hassle-free. It should routinely cover all stages of the CJ, beginning with awareness all the way through to onboarding and after-sales service.
The best customer experience management software delivers quantitative metrics around the following:
And robust customer experience management solutions also let you take a deep dive into customer behavior. This may cover things like how much time they spent on your site and how they moved around it in that time. For example, it may answer the following questions and much more:
- Did any call-to-action (CTA) buttons interest customers?
- Why did they exit the site?
- If returning, how did that relate to the last visit?’
- Did they enter a chat or go to FAQs?
- If they went to FAQs, which ones engaged them?
The point is this: A fully functional customer experience management platform will provide the data you need and create a vision for your CX.
Bringing all your information into a format where you can get a clear overview is a worthwhile exercise. However, it’s only half the job. The software should help you develop action plans to identify the touchpoints that erode customer confidence and capitalize on those that compellingly promote your brand.
But remember, nothing’s perfect. Even once you have the results from a customer mapping exercise, numerous touchpoints are probably still invisible to you. For example: Customers may ask the advice of a friend. Or they may seem to shop online but find the time to go into a store to get a feel for the product through physical touch.
That’s why professionally structured surveys are vital tools. That’s how you get the customer to tell you about touchpoints you might not be aware of.
Customer experience mapping involves surveys and statistical analysis to draw accurate conclusions through data insights.
Don’t let the challenge overwhelm your team. Contact Sogolytics today to take your business to the next level.