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Optimise Your Digital Customer Journey in 3 Steps

Written by

 Jeremy Gallemard

Improving the digital customer experience is at the heart of all marketing strategies. The goal is to satisfy a customer or go even further to delight them.

The profitability of these actions can be achieved by following certain KPIs, like the cost of new customer acquisitions, retention or loyalty rate, and the Net Promoter Score (NPS).

To enrich the customer experience, it’s necessary to understand where the digital customer journey begins, as well as how to define and optimize it.

But what is the digital customer journey?

Before, during and after the purchase of goods or services, the customer comes into contact with the company. During these three major stages of the digital customer journey, certain determining factors come into play between the company and customer through physical and/or digital channels.

With the goal of improving customer experience, the company must understand the journey to be able to adapt and optimize it. It’s the relevance and quality of its digital customer journey which ensures a good customer experience.

What are the main reflections and actions a company should put in place to achieve a positive digital customer journey and to guarantee a successful customer experience?

1. A “Customer-centric” strategy 

The customer should be at the center of the company’s strategy. They should be the priority and inspire all of the company’s actions. For that to happen, the customer’s personality and profile must be well-targeted so that their “customer journey” can be understood and improved.

Defining its target market: customer personas 

The company must define its targets. Creating personas helps to determine what those targets are. They will allow you to deliver a personalized customer experience throughout the digital customer journey.

Who are your personas?

They are imaginary characters who represent the company’s customers and prospects. They are organized by category based on different distinctive characteristics, like their: 

  • motivations
  • interests
  • needs
  • expectations
  • desires
  • issues

This analysis allows you to better know your customers and prospects and to improve their digital experience. This is possible, thanks to the analysis of data (sociological, quantitative, qualitative, economic, etc.) that a company has on its customers.

This analysis improves the “customer journey.”

The company which targets its clients by putting in place a “customer-centric” strategy should focus on the “customer journey,” which is the path that customers follow when making a purchase.

This journey is marked by points of contact (or “touchpoints”) between the company and the client, which can be physical or digital. They allow the company to target the expectations and needs of the customer at a specific time and place.

In the case of digital points of contact, consumer behavior can be monitored more easily than offline touchpoints thanks to adapted tools.

A “customer journey map” can be put in place to help construct a customer journey optimization strategy. A customer journey map is a visual representation of the customer's experience with the company. It illustrates the various touchpoints and channels, and highlights the marketing messages that are delivered to the customer.

There are many use cases of a customer journey map in different industries, but they all have one thing in common - they help companies to better understand their customers.

The aim of customer journey mapping is to identify the customer's needs and wants, and map the steps they take to fulfill those needs.

Customer journey mapping is a visual representation of the steps a person takes in their lifetime as a customer. It starts with how they find you and ends with whether or not they would recommend you to others.

Customer journey mapping can help you identify:

  • What channels your customers are using to interact with your company
  • The key points in each stage of the journey that may need improvement
  • The best way for your customers to contact you
  • How often your customers want contact from you

2. An increased customer understanding

To better understand your clients’ behavior and expectations at every step of their purchase process, it’s necessary to collect all feedback, whether negative or positive.

Several efficient solutions exist for companies who wish to establish a digital customer journey optimization strategy.

customer-journey-feedback

The importance of customer feedback

With the goal of always improving your knowledge of customer behavior and responding appropriately, collecting feedback is essential. Today, it’s unthinkable that a company could optimize its products or service offering without understanding customer behavior.

Consumer needs are evolving constantly, and so should the customer experience. A deep analysis of customer feedback should allow the company to be more reactive to these changes.

The voice of the customer then takes on its full value.

Customer-centricity should be shared among all of the company’s services in order to promote a “customer-centric” culture at all levels. This motivates and engages all employees, and the digital customer journey is optimized from beginning to end. 

Where and how does a company collect customer feedback?

Collecting customer data

Feedback and other customer information are present at all steps of the purchase journey:

  • social networks
  • the company’s website
  • traditional customer service channels (phone, email marketing, newsletter, etc.)
  • digital channels (chatbots, community forums, dynamic and intelligent FAQs)
  • surveys

Centralizing all types of customer data thanks to customer relationship management tools like CRMs guarantees its use to improve the digital customer experience. The products and services can be adjusted based on customer expectations.

Technology in service of an omnichannel digital customer journey

Efficient methods like Marketing Automation can allow you to refine your customer knowledge so you can propose a richer and more personalized digital customer journey.

The company maintains its relationship with a prospect who interacts with their website and takes different actions that motivate the prospect to become a customer. We’re talking about cross channel “lead nurturing”:

  • automated emails
  • automated text messages
  • personalized messages
  • mail
  • online advertising

Many conversion levers exist. 

The underlying idea of all these marketing strategies: don’t complicate the digital customer journey, make it more fluid. No known prospect should be lost. They should all be kept and redirected towards their purchase process.

Advertising retargeting and general retargeting work in the same way. A prospect is interested in a product or service on a website. The prospect is identified and the information that concerns them is collected thanks to tracking codes or tags that are integrated into the site.

A targeted advertising message will be proposed to the prospect from other sites they visit in order to encourage the prospect to advance or maintain their purchase process.

Personalizing messages to seduce consumers is also a goal of native advertising. This type of advertising is integrated naturally into the editorial content of the site visited by the prospect.

Good native advertising is therefore inline with the interests of the consumer and their navigation journey.

Customer Survey Template

3. Mapping your customer journey

To guarantee the efficiency of all these methods, companies should first visualize their customer journey to then establish an efficient optimization strategy. Precise knowledge of the steps of the journey and all the points of contact with the client is indispensable.

Certain steps are more important than others and should be prioritized as such.

The importance of the visualization of the customer journey

The customer journey for every company is unique and each step of this process requires a degree of special attention.

The steps are not always linked to points of contact. They can exist separately, like in the case of a prospect recommended by a third party.

Therefore, the unique character of the customer journey of each company should be visualized.

What enables this visualization?

The company can identify the steps and points of contact and also gauge their importance, measuring the quality of the responses offered and envisioning improvements.

Measuring the importance of the different points of the journey.

The customer journey touchpoints can be measured by KPIs (key performance indicators). A KPI is an indicator of how well a company has performed in meeting its goals. There are many metrics that can be used as KPIs for measuring the customer journey. Some examples are conversion rates, engagement rates, retention rates, and churn rates.

The first and last point of contact of the journey are the most important for the customer:

  • receiving a package
  • greeting upon arrival at a vacation rental
  • an estimate for a service

These moments, or key steps, should be recognized by the company, which has everything to gain from taking care of its customers in order to retain them and not lose them.

The personalization of the customer journey

Depending on its sector of activity and its targets, a company can’t respond in the same way to all of its customers. It may have to customize the customer journey based on expectations,customer types and personas.

Companies should not send the same message to a loyal customer as they would to a new customer. The customer satisfaction rate should be constantly measured to be able to adjust messaging. This is where it becomes important to know your target personas, to be able to respond to them in an adapted way.

Employee engagement

Clearly visualizing your customer journey allows you to improve the digital customer experience and also the employee experience, in that the teams better understand and assimilate the customer relation strategy established by the company.

Their complementarity is reinforced around a unifying “customer-centric” project. They are more committed. The wellbeing of the customer service teams is particularly important. Engaged teams will be more dedicated to satisfying customers and vice-versa.

A personalized customer service experience

To respond to the growing number of customer demands all while maintaining personalized communication, a company’s customer service must be as efficient and optimized as possible.

In order to reduce wait times for customers, low value added support requests can be treated by self-service solutions. More technical support requests can be treated via more traditional channels, such as by phone or via email.

With customers becoming more and more demanding and autonomous, companies should not try to control their behaviors, but rather to accompany them and to create more relevant customer journeys.

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Jeremy Gallemard

Hello! I'm Jérémy, President & Co-founder of Smart Tribune. With my background in the digital & customer experience space I'm happy to share my insight & practical advice on customer experience today & what it might look like tomorrow. Happy reading!

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