The script has been flipped. Today, customers have total control of the buying process, and many traditional beliefs about customer loyalty and the sales funnel are obsolete. Because of these seismic changes in the customer relationship, marketers need instant and complete visibility into all the ways customers touch their businesses — from the time they express interest in a product to actually purchasing and using the product — in order to understand how the business is performing.
The best way to achieve this level of visibility is to work toward a customer experience-driven marketing strategy to orchestrate the largely disjointed, anonymous set of customer activities into a single, measurable process – starting with mapping the journey each customer takes with your business.
Understanding the Customer’s Journey
Companies everywhere are doing journey mapping, but it usually consists of post-it notes stuck to a wall. This methodology isn’t nearly good enough. Traditional journey mapping identifies the broken parts of the customer’s journey, which is good. But, the post-it-note-on-the-wall approach doesn’t make any progress towards reconnecting the broken pieces, and traditional journey mapping is typically anonymous, so the company doesn’t know which customers out there are being affected. Businesses need to take the next step and take the journey map and turn it into a real “Customer Lifecycle,” where each step on the customer’s journey is mapped and measured. Companies today need to recognize that it’s critical to bridge the broken pieces of the customer’s journey to create a singular, positive experience for the customer.
Bust Silos to Create a Consistent Customer Experience
Companies need to bust all the silos within their walls and, instead, look at themselves through the lens of the customer. The customer doesn’t care that the Web division has different processes than the call center. The customer sees the company as one single entity and expects the company’s left hand to know what the right hand is doing. Customers expect the call center associate to be able to see their profiles on the company website.
The first step is learning how customers engage with your brand. By understanding customer behavior at each lifecycle stage, you can begin to put together an enriched profile of each customer.
Measuring Customer Sentiment
“Measurement is the first step that leads to control and eventually to improvement. If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it. If you can’t understand it, you can’t control it. If you can’t control it, you can’t improve it.”
―H. James Harrington, IBM Quality Expert
In creating enriched profiles for each customer, you also need to measure how customers react to each and every touchpoint. What is the relevance of a touchpoint in their eyes? Did they think an event was helpful? Did the event have an emotional impact that pushed them away from the brand? Did the event move some customers closer to buying? It’s important to frame and rank important reactions from customers at various touchpoints.
There’s a lot being done today to measure customer sentiment through traditional surveys, likes and shares. The bottom line for businesses on how to best measure customer affinity is to increase both the frequency and the simplicity of capturing sentiment. Get away from the five-page surveys that no one wants to answer. Instead, make requests for feedback short and simple. Ask for less, but do it more frequently. Make it easier, yet more insightful as you gain visibility into sentiment over time.
By mapping the customer lifecycle and capturing customer sentiment at each and every touchpoint, you can capture frequency, feeling and value of customer engagement — and that puts your company on the road to determining the lifetime value of a customer.