It is easy to be blinkered about your own brand and to make assumptions about your customers in light of their own abilities and resources. Such nearsightedness shows a lack of real empathy for the customers; You simulate empathy by thinking about your own gain. As in any human relationship, such a strategy will not prevail in the long run. Working with customer journeys helps brands to see themselves from the customer perspective and to listen to customers. Brands that make this, as well as the ability to use insights correctly gain a competitive advantage in terms of better customer experience and increased customer satisfaction.

 

More than twice the number of touchpoints before a purchase

That super tool, the smartphone helps, according to Google, to increase the number of touchpoints from five to twelve when, for example, women are considering buying something. A key part of the work involved with the customer journey is to map out these points where a customer is in contact with a brand before, but also during and after the purchase takes place.

Such touchpoints can be points the company itself has control over, such as the brand’s website, advertising and social media, but also content in third-party services such as price comparisons, reviews, and search engines. Getting an overview of all the focal points enables companies to better understand what is affecting the customer’s brand experience.

Many companies have exclusive focus on the contact points they themselves control, those that reach the customer just before or when the goods or service is consumed. By doing this, you are missing opportunities to win customers or may overlook points where customers fall away.

 

Catalyst for customer driven change and innovation

In connection with the mapping of contact points, you derive qualitative and quantitative insights about the customer’s experience of each individual point. In this way, you can identify gaps between what you deliver and what you want to deliver. This can be a catalyst for customer driven change and innovation. It also becomes more apparent when you are hitting the mark, and you become better equipped at prioritising short-term and long-lasting actions.

It has long been stated that internal silos need to be demolished in order for companies to innovate and work smoothly. At a brand conference in New York recently the Head of Analytics in Google, Kevin Hartman stated, that we are now standing at a crossroads where companies that are unable to get rid of a bunker mentality do not have the ability to use customer data properly. “Never have marketers known so much about their customers, but yet customers have never been more unhappy with their marketing,” said Hartman.

It is a great challenge to do something about this; especially for larger companies. Unifying cross-disciplinary teams around a common goal of achieving the best possible customer experience is a step in the right direction. Through the work of charting the customer journey, employees will see the big picture, regardless of whether they are working with sales, customer service, production or marketing. You will be able to identify points that require better interaction between departments and disciplines as well as points where they overlap and efficiency gains can be made.

 

Both relevance and differentiation

The customer journey is also an important tool for using the brand as a differentiator. By being conscious of the nature of various contact points, you will be able to convey the right message at the right time and thereby avoid boring, or worst, bothering, your customers. The brand value will be strengthened by enabling customers to have a holistic and positive brand experience across all touchpoints. The higher the brand value the stronger the competitive advantage. Today it is difficult to win the battle for customers based solely on product benefits. Products and services allow for faster duplication than ever before, e-commerce simplifies and makes accessible so that distribution and prices can be matched in an instant. In this landscape, the strongest brand will win.

In summary - customer journeys are an important management tool because it helps businesses see themselves as the customer sees them, and keep track of all contact points and the gap between what you want to deliver and what you actually deliver. Further, working with customer journeys could break down blinkered attitudes and increase brand value.

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