The customer experience and the importance of the customer journey

How Digital Marketing can improve the Customer Experience ? (1/4)

 

A great time

For those of us who are sensitive to customer experience, let’s face it, we live in great times! From ordering a cab via my smartphone, to my favorite online bookstore recommending the latest comic book based on my tastes, to some content I receive via email that I’m particularly interested in, more and more brands are standing out from the crowd because of their focus on customer satisfaction. As a consumer, I find myself more and more often saying “Wow, this is obviously what I needed: it was so easy!” Customer experience is a strategic lever that is not lost on brands: according to a study conducted by Oracle, more than 90% of brands consider “Customer Experience” to be crucial to their competitive advantage. On the consumer side, we would be 80% willing to pay more to have a successful customer experience. But let’s stop for a moment.

What is Customer Experience?

 

Customer Experience refers to all interactions and emotions experienced by a customer before, during and after the purchase of a product or service.

 

Simply put, a successful customer experience is like a Christmas morning.

A real gap

70% of brand executives surveyed by Oracle believe they deliver a perfect experience to their customers, while only 30% of those same customers feel satisfied. So there is a real gap in the perception of what a successful customer experience is.

Une alchimie complexe

Delivering a great customer experience is not easy and varies depending on whether you are in the B2B or B2C space: you will not try to create the same emotions if you are addressing professionals or individuals. Optimizing your customers’ experience may require redesigning your store, rethinking your website, producing content that tells a story, even rethinking your business model… But whatever the case, the key factors are :

  • Create a relationship of trust with your prospect from the first interaction until after the purchase
  • Be relevant in your communication (transmit the right message at the right time), and go as far as creating a personalized conversation with your prospect
  • Think about this conversation and your buying process in a continuous way on all media (move from a multi-channel strategy to an omnichannel strategy)
  • Simplify the customer journey, i.e. eliminate areas of discomfort or uncertainty, as well as improve and multiply the opportunities to make a purchase

The importance of the customer journey

One of the reasons for this gap is that the brand 1/ is not aware of its customers’ journey, or 2/ thinks that the Customer Experience is limited to its “visiblecontacts with them. However, the customer journey starts well before a contact with a sales person: it is estimated that 70% of the time spent before a purchase is made without direct contact with the brand. Even if there is no direct contact, the customer does have “moments” with your brand: this can be on social networks, on search engines (with the predominance of Google) or by talking to friends.

Hence the importance for the marketing department to model the path of potential customers, regardless of the medium:

  • “Here, I need to change my blinds”.
  • “My CRM project is about to end, maybe I need to take care of the maintenance”.

Consumers will start to search on the internet, ask friends, use comparison sites… Little by little, their vision will start to form by comparing technologies or services first, then brands directly. Their choice will be a direct consequence of the actions implemented by the company. Whether the customer journey is short or long (depending on the type of company or the sector), it is fundamental for a brand to be an aid in the prospect’s journey as far upstream as possible: this is what will make the difference at the moment of choice.

Successful customer experiences are still in the minority…

In fact, “negative” experiences still far outnumber successful ones. For example, how much spam do we receive every day? How many advertisements do we see on the street every day that have absolutely nothing to do with us? How many calls in the evening for a product or a service that we don’t need? The answer is surprising: according to Adbusters (2011), we are subjected to no less than 3000 advertising messages per day. But what is a negative customer experience, and why are we still bombarded with it? You’ll find out in the next article…

Next article: “Old school” marketing: saturation of communication and blind steering>>

Posted By Sylvain

For the past 20 years, Sylvain has been choosing and assembling the best technologies for his key account clients, to help them create a successful end-to-end customer experience. Surely the Leonard of the team, he is a fan - and expert - of Marketo! He sits next to his clients, drives them forward and makes Marketing Automation projects succeed with his team.