Customer journey refers to the total of interactions that your customers have with you throughout their lifetime, across multiple channels. It encompasses the experiences your customers have at various points of contact with your organization. By understanding the end-to-end customer journey, you can get an in-depth insight into your customer’s past behaviour, requirements, needs and pain points, and thereby modify your offerings to ensure customer delight.
The digital customer journey can be sub-divided into 4 stages:
1.Prospect Management – This is the 1st stage in the end-to-end customer journey. The prospect management stage is the stage where you make your prospects aware about your brand, segment and profile them and design highly targeted campaigns for them. At this stage, companies attempt to educate prospective customers about their offerings, benefits, related data, insights etc. Common activities during the prospect management stage include integrated campaign management, segmentation & profiling, launch management & analytics, social media management etc.
2.Customer Acquisition – The customer acquisition stage is the 2nd phase in the digital customer journey. This is the stage when you acquire customers who have a need which can be fulfilled by your offerings. During the customer acquisition stage, prospective customers analyse and compare the products and services offered by different companies, to decide which organization suitably satisfies their requirements. This stage usually involves the following activities: lead management system, sales opportunity management, field sales management, sales forecast and more.
3.Customer Service – Acquiring a customer isn’t just enough, it is equally important to retain them in the long-run. This is where the 3rd stage, the customer service stage comes in. During this stage of the end-to-end customer journey, marketers conduct activities like knowledge management, feedback management, social media mentoring, process automation & workflow etc to ensure impeccable service.
4.Customer Retention & Loyalty – The 4th stage in the digital customer journey is the customer retention & loyalty stage. This is an extremely crucial stage as this is when you can gauge future customer grievances beforehand and eliminate the same, thus cementing your customers’ loyalty towards your brand. The common activities in this stage are customer interaction management, social media integration, case management and personalization and customer profiling and analytics.
Now, what is a customer journey map? A digital customer journey map is nothing but a visual representation of your customer’s journey, including every experience they have with you across multiple touchpoints, over different stages. The end-to-end customer journey can be long and complex. A customer journey map helps in providing a clear picture of every stage in the customer’s journey as well as ensure that you do not miss providing an excellent experience at every step. Customer journey mapping has several benefits. Some of these are:
- Helps you understand and analyse every stage where customers interact with your business.
- Helps you understand the needs and pain points of your customers.
- Bridges the gap between marketing, sales and operations.
- Identifies gaps between the customer experience provided and the experience being received by the customers.
Ensuring that your customers have a superior experience at every step of the digital customer journey is essential for long-term growth and development of your organization. Customers today are no longer satisfied with a generic and standardized relationship with your company. They want to feel that they matter individually and not just as a member of your target audience. This is where personalization comes in. By providing a customized end-to-end customer journey, you can ensure that your prospects have a memorable experience every time they interact with you.
Here are some ways in which you can personalize the digital customer journey to generate superior results:
1.Segmentation – The foremost step in personalizing the end-to-end customer journey is to create clearly defined segments of your target audience. Proper segmentation ensures that you can target and communicate content which is relevant and interesting to specific groups of people, instead of sending the same generic content to everyone. You can segment your prospective customers based on several factors, like, purchasing behaviour, customer journey stage, interest-based, engagement level, demographics, psychographics and much more. Once you have divided your target audience into homogeneous segments, you can design personalized marketing campaigns for different stages of the customer journey.
2.Send personalized onboarding emails – As the saying goes, the first impression is the last impression. To obtain the loyalty of your customers, you must ensure that you provide a great customer experience right from the beginning. Once a trial customer signs up, sending a personalized onboarding email with interesting and useful information is a great way to engage the customer. Instead of sending a generic welcome message to everyone, you can send emails containing interesting features about your offerings as well as a form or survey to obtain more information about your prospects and their individual needs. This will add a personal touch to your onboarding emails. Additionally, you can design future marketing campaigns based on this information.
3.Customized emails and messages on special days – To provide a flawless experience at every step of the digital customer journey, you must make your customers feel valued. This can be done by greeting and treating them on their special days, like their birthdays, anniversaries etc. Sending birthday greetings not only makes your prospective customers feel valued but also adds a personal touch to the end-to-end customer journey. Apart from sending birthday and anniversary wishes, you can also send customized and exclusive offers as a birthday gift, to increase customer delight.
4.Track past actions – One of the best ways to personalize the digital customer journey is to track and carefully analyse your customers’ past actions. Having insights into your prospects’ past behaviours can tell you what the next step in their end-to-end customer journey will be and what you can do as a company to urge the customer to take that step. For example, if a customer keeps visiting a particular product page on your website, there is a possibility that they are interested in purchasing and sending them a personalized email with an exclusive coupon code can drive them to buy the item. On the other hand, if a customer has already completed a purchase, based on their purchase, you can suggest them complementary items.
5.Take feedback – While there are several tools to track the success of your marketing activities, only your customers can tell you whether they are happy or not. Personalization of the digital customer journey should be based on the degree of customization your customers are comfortable with. By taking feedback from your prospects via forms, surveys etc you can understand which stages of the end-to-end customer journey they are happy with and which stages require improvement. Based on such feedback, you can personalize the customer journey to make it more efficient and engaging.
The long-term growth of your organization depends upon happy and satisfied customers. By personalizing the digital customer journey, you can ensure that your prospects have an unforgettable experience every time they interact with you, thereby guaranteeing their satisfaction and loyalty to your organization.