Why The Customer Experience Should Be Your Main Focus This Year


If you’ve ever worked in the service industry I’m sure the chant “the customer is always right” still rings in your head. Customer service and the customer journey are not new concepts. However, the medium that customer service is carried out through today is new. With the eruption and growth of the internet over the past 20 years – the entire customer journey has been rewritten – no matter how long you’ve been in business or what industry you’re in. As the way we do business evolved, the customer experience evolved with it. But why has it been so difficult for businesses to transition?


This is a guest post by link management solution Rebrandly.


In this article, we’ll discuss why the customer experience is extremely important for your business, tips to implement a customer journey revamp, and four brands that are doing it well.

Why the customer journey is so important

As marketers, our lives are centered around our customers. At the end of the day, no matter what we’re doing, it is geared towards making them happier.

Looking from a top-level perspective, all businesses need a reputable brand, a unique and solid solution, and an easy to follow the path to purchase. Yes, these seem obvious and simple, yet we all know how complex it is in reality. Idea development, product development, and selling have always been extremely difficult. Today, the entire experience has been turned upside down by ever-changing technology and a consumer-driven culture – this is the space to watch for brands. We live in a world with a new ‘Uber for…’ something cropping up practically every day.

Consumers not only expect high-quality services and a seamless experience, but they are able to drive these expectations in the form of reviews (as well as feedback). Think about it, if you have a positive experience with a brand you’re likely to recommend it to a friend or share your experiences online. On top of that, returning, happy customers are likely to spend more than new customers. While customers that had a negative experience have a higher chance of discussing their experiences with friends and their online communities.

Mopinion: Why The Customer Experience Should Be Your Main Focus This Year - Customer Journey
Source: Salesforce

Think of the customer experience as an infinite loop. It starts but never ends. After a customer has purchased – even if they are an inactive user, the journey is still moving. Journeys are long and stretch across many channels.

The consistent theme of the customer journey is to remain focused on the value that your product or service brings to your customers, and the ability to scale this journey to different segments and branches of your product. Since the customer journey has evolved, and it’s been driven by the customers themselves, it’s time for brands to catch up.

Customers want a more personalized journey, but why is it so hard for brands to create one for them?

The technological revolution wave has been adopted by the majority of customers. The customer experience should be held at the same standard as developing a superior product.

One of the most common marketing buzzwords at the moment is “the marketing and sales funnel.” And, hey, I’m guilty of using these words when thinking of content that needs to be created as our customers go through their path to purchase.

But the customer journey is not synonymous with the marketing funnel.

The marketing funnel is the way we as marketers classify what we think the customer goes through to convert, but it does not take into account the many different ways that customers can engage with your brand. Whereas the customer journey is the actual path that customers take. And, no two customers will take the same path.

Mopinion: Why The Customer Experience Should Be Your Main Focus This Year - Trend Arrow

Some users could go through every step of your proposed “marketing funnel” some taking one day, some taking one year. Customers could also complete step 1, and then skip ahead to step 4, again go back to step 1, and disappear for four months, then bounce back to step 5. While one customer could complete the entire journey on their phone, some could solely go through the journey on their desktop, with others jumping back and forth.

To complicate things further, the owner of the customer journey often moves between different arms of a company. It usually starts out in marketing and sales, moves to account management, and possibly customer support and success, and then maybe back up to marketing. Often, each team has its own ‘funnel.’ And, moving from one to the other is often not streamlined, as internally, the teams are not synced on the others’ work and goals. And the cherry on top is, the customer doesn’t know or think about this ‘customer journey’ – rather, they just want a great product, serviced to them in an organized and straightforward way.

Finally starting to see why most people struggle with identifying their customer journey?

How to Develop a Customer Journey & Businesses That Did it Right

We’ve identified why this is so difficult. We also know that about 80% of consumers are looking for a more personalized experience – while only 44% of businesses are investing in it. On top of this, studies show that 89% of companies are coming to compete primarily on their customer experience by 2020.

Let’s summarize before we pitch some ideas to solve this issue:

  • The customer journey is not the same as the marketing funnel
  • Technological innovations put the customer in charge of their journeys
  • The vast majority of customers are looking for a more personalized experience
  • The majority of businesses are not investing in improving their customer journey
  • Customer experience will drive business success in the future

All of these points direct you to this conclusion: You should invest in developing a customer journey.

We’re all in different phases of customer journey development. No matter where you’re at in developing a customer journey or what industry you’re operating in, there are two main mistakes that can be avoided:

1. Forgetting who is the focus of the transformation
2. Creating a disjointed journey due to lack of focus and goal alignment

Let’s start with the first one…


1. Forgetting who is the focus of the transformation

The hot pursuit to transform this experience can lead businesses to act before thinking and researching. Once they realize the experience should be the focus, they jump in without considering who their customer is and what they want. Data is a great place to start, but it’s not all that is needed to form a successful experience. Of course, monitoring the journey through touchpoints, drop offs and conversions are important. But it’s also important to go back to basics and talk to your customers. This can be done through interviews, customer panels or calls.

Mopinion: Why The Customer Experience Should Be Your Main Focus This Year - Target Audience
Source: StackSocial

2. Creating a disjointed journey due to lack of focus and goal alignment

Even though there are numbers to back up the importance of improving the customer experience, many companies struggle with aligning the multiple parties involved. As mentioned, the customer experience thread is woven through many parts of an organization. It can also be difficult to get the c-suite on board with the experience revamp. Some successful cases of well planned and organized customer experiences came from companies that dedicated full teams to the project.

Mopinion: Why The Customer Experience Should Be Your Main Focus This Year - Team Onboard
Source: Project Times

iFor example, It’s well known that companies like Amazon and Apple have built their business on customer experience. Let’s look at some other examples of businesses that overhauled their entire customer journey.

Businesses that are doing it right…

Domino’s Pizza
The popular pizza chain realized that its online ordering process was resulting in a drop-off in interest, so it decided to revamp its entire customer journey by introducing “zero-click ordering”, which allowed customers to order pizza through platforms like Facebook Messenger, Slack and Twitter, as well as implementing an entirely personalized, live tracking delivery system. This innovation has changed the way customers order food, driving more food ordering services to follow suit.



Starbucks
The primary Starbucks customer is very tech oriented. Starbucks created multiple apps and sites around many topics – from rewards clubs to recipes, to e-commerce. They sync these experiences with their innovative and constantly-updating app, that actually provides substantial rewards.

Mopinion: Why The Customer Experience Should Be Your Main Focus This Year - Starbucks

Garanti Bank
Banks have been a hot topic in the field of customer experience. Since banks are some of every country’s oldest and largest establishments, it can be extremely difficult to overhaul the customer experience. Most banks are aware they are behind in this industry, but finding the time, money, and infrastructure to do so can be complicated. However, this Turkish bank moved its impressive, in-person customer service online. They offer in-depth and carefully curated journeys on their app and website. Through live interactions, videos, blogs, and chat.

Oasis
This clothing company took a similar approach to Domino’s when recreating their customer experience. They started by understanding the main pain points of online shoppers – not having items in stock, and missing out on the personal, chatty experience of being in the store. They created live shipping and stocking updates (similar to Amazon), and also a ‘social network’ on their site. They offer fashion tips from their team and a place to share your wish list so it’s almost like being in a physical store with friends.

Mopinion: Why The Customer Experience Should Be Your Main Focus This Year - Oasis

Wrapping Up

Convenience has driven customer demand – which in turn has impacted the way in which business is done. When the customer is in control, brands need to react to what the customer is demanding rather than dictate the experience for them. Being able to develop and act on a sustainable plan is difficult, but will reap exponential rewards in the years to come.

Have you begun updating your customer experience? If so, share your successes and struggles with us below using the feedback button!


About the Author

Hannah Harrington is the content manager at Rebrandly, the link management solution that empowers users to put their brand name on all the links they share. With a background in marketing and creative writing, Hannah’s passion lies in telling compelling customer stories.