Regardless of which department you are part of, the best results will come when you have a relentless focus on your customer. By ensuring that your every action leads to a better customer outcome, you gain loyal brand advocates, and your business grows.
Part of your efforts to put the customer first should be to understand the customer journey, and how it can be improved. Before you create your ideal customer journey, you need to understand what your customers are experiencing today. According to the latest Salesforce research, 80% of customers agree that the experience a company provides is just as important as the products or services they offer.
A customer journey is a description of your customers’ experience when interacting with your brand. In the past, this might have been as simple as a customer walking into a store, making a purchase, and then walking out. Never to be seen again.
Things are much more complex now. According to the State of Connected Customer report, nearly 75% of customers have used more than one channel to interact with a company when making a single purchase. Nearly 70% have even used more than one device in the course of a single transaction. Fifty-three percent of customers say they feel an emotional connection to the brands that they buy from the most.
It is, therefore, vital that you understand the different ways that customers interact with you. From the very first time they encounter your brand, all the way through to their first purchase, and beyond.
By understanding the journey your customer goes through when they buy from you, you can find areas for improvement. To generate a customer journey map that gives you these insights, you need to ask the right questions.
This list isn’t exhaustive, of course, but asking these questions will give you a good start:
How many ways are there for your customers to interact with your organisation? You might be surprised. Advertising, social media channels, interactions with employees, search engine results pages, third-party information resources, reviews sites, the list goes on. That’s before they’ve even been to your website or store!
Are they finding your website? Do most of your customers come from word-of-mouth recommendations? Knowing how your customers find you will allow you to focus your energy on optimising those processes. There’s no point in optimising channels that don’t generate customers.
When they arrive on your website, or in your store, can your customers locate the products they want?
You can check your website analytics, including site search, to assess how customers are browsing and what they might be looking for. Often, customers resort to search bars when they can’t find what they want.
Your in-store sales team could also share valuable insight. For example, do customers regularly ask for help finding particular products? This could inform decisions around in-store product placements.
Solutions such as Knowledge Base allow you to create repositories of company and product information, including frequently asked questions. This allows customers to serve themselves rather than contact your service team.
Make sure you track which articles get the most traffic. This data will tell you a lot about the things your customers want to know.
Customer reviews will tell you a lot about how your products are being used, and the levels of customer satisfaction.
Look for trends, including products or store locations that have generated particularly good or poor reviews. Are there common elements that shine a light on processes that can be learned from? What processes can you improve?
If you’re very familiar with your products and services, you may not notice when there are opportunities for improvement. If it’s been a while since you tried to buy something through your website, it might be worth trying it out. You may be surprised!
Some information about the customer journey can only be obtained by asking your customers directly. But there are other metrics that you can use to understand where there are opportunities for improvement.
Consider using a service that allows you to test your website with representative users. This can be a great way to highlight strengths and opportunities with your web experience.
Find out how your customers respond to your messaging. Making sure that your marketing is speaking to your target audience will lead to more sales. The analytics that powers Marketing Cloud will give you insights into which campaigns are performing, and which are falling flat.
To put it another way, do your customers drop off at some parts of your website?
This kind of analysis will tell you if there are parts of the purchase process that cause friction for the customer. Solutions like Commerce Cloud can help you optimise the purchase process with proven best practices. This includes saved carts, optimised checkout flows, and payment accelerators.
As above, any points of friction will cause you to lose business. Ironing out those wrinkles could make all the difference. Sales Cloud can solve many problems by making your sales pipeline more efficient. This leads to better outcomes for customers and salespeople alike.
To put it another way, are there bottlenecks in your customer service workflow?
The customer journey map goes beyond the point of purchase. Loyal customers will keep coming back again and again, but not if your post-sales experience is lacking. A solution like Service Cloud will let you see what your customers are asking. It will also highlight any potential areas where service could be even better.
Make sure to include your employees in any evaluation of the customer journey.
Your teams interact with customers every day, so they have valuable insights into customer behaviours, pain points, and satisfaction levels. Get your service agents, sales people, and marketing team in a room together. Listen to their feedback and experiences. You should also consider whether they have the right tools to do their jobs efficiently. They will be able to tell you.
At the core of this evaluation is data. Done right, you will get a comprehensive understanding of the journey your customers go on when they interact with your business.
Remember to share customer data with your teams. When teams can access the information they need to do their best work, collaboration and alignment improves. This leads to more connected and personalised experiences for your customers, which helps you build stronger relationships with them.
Find out how to maintain focus on the customer throughout their journey. Download The Connected Customer Experience e-book to learn more: