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Working with thousands of companies over the last 19 years has helped us understand why certain ones succeed and others fail. It all comes down to creating a one-of-a-kind customer relationship. But delivering a personalized, cross-channel experience at every step of the customer lifecycle can be challenging. According to the 2016 State of the Connected Customer report, 80% of customers say that experience is as important as products or services, but 51% believe that most companies fall short. To ensure a great customer experience, Trailblazers in marketing need to avoid the following six common mistakes while creating 1-to-1 customer journeys, if they want to deliver digital experiences that are highly-relevant, timely and tailored to their customer.

 

1. Overlook Goal Setting

 

Don’t underestimate the power of setting a SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound) goal to define your path and determine your success. 

To set your first goal, get in that “New Year’s Resolution” frame of mind – define point B, then figure out how you want to get there. A high-level goal will direct the development of your journey and help you focus your efforts. Remember, your goal can continually be refined as you learn more.

From there, define exactly what you hope this journey will achieve. Your SMART goal will also help you to clearly define success post-launch. For example, if you wanted to acquire additional customers after launching a new checking product, a SMART journey goal might be to acquire 25% more new checking-account holders in Q4 2018 than in Q4 2017.

 

2. Not Identifying the Right Audience

 

Take a tailored approach when thinking about your audience, as the goal of a customer journey is a 1-to-1 message. Understand exactly who you are speaking with and where they are within their lifecycle with you. Additionally, decide if you will use a broad audience (all new bank customers) or a narrow audience (all new premier checking customers) to show how participation in the journey will meet your mutual goals and set a solid foundation for the journey itself. Start by auditing the current customer experience. Be objective and brutally honest — and remember that your customers are human. Taking the time to understand what matters to your customers and what your customers need from you will yield high rewards.

 

3. Forget About Comprehensive Data

 

Dig a little deeper and see if there are any other accessible data points that you can use within the journey to personalize elements. In addition to an email address, look for data points such as zip code, gender, last purchase date, preferred location, and so on. So, how do you go about collecting additional data?

  1. Check the data you have today, evaluating its quality, completeness, and accessibility. Every data point you access will add value and richness to the journey.

  2. Document the data you need. Does it exist but is currently inaccessible, or do you need to start collecting it?

  3. Envision the data you want. Dare to dream about the hard-to-access data points.

 

4. Disregard Strategic Content

 

Both in-journey (content delivered in the message itself) and out-of-journey content (content a subscriber would navigate to with a click) can be extremely powerful when used in tandem. Thus, it is important to understand what content you have available today, what you need to create, and what future content would delight your customer. Knowing exactly what you want your customer to do and keeping a laser focus on calls to actions (and resulting landing pages) will allow you to be helpful, supportive, and resourceful to your customers along their journey.

 

5. Limit Customer Engagement to a Specific Channel

 

Instead of messaging your subscribers in the channel you want them to be on, identify the channel they are already on and engage with them there. Ask yourself, are your customers desk-based and completing a web form? If yes, then using the email channel makes sense. However, if they are on the go and need brief information quickly, SMS may be the most appropriate.

Consider how ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft combine push, SMS, and email for pre-, during, and post-ride messaging. These rideshare services create one seamless engagement path for their customers, no matter what channel the customer is on.

 

6. Over-engineer Your Journey

 

Once you understand your goals, audience, relevant data points, and strategic content, you will be ready to create a customer journey - remember to walk before you run and avoid over-engineering your journey! Think of a successful customer journey as having three versions:

  1. Crawl — using what you have available today

  2. Walk — using what you can access with just a little “elbow grease”

  3. Run — your vision for blue sky

Your crawl version shouldn’t be a multistep, multichannel drawing that spans five whiteboards. A great starting point could be a single automated touchpoint with two reminders for non-openers. Similarly, your run version should not be limited to data and content from the past, but should account for future customer needs. The best journey mapping mindset allows for testing, learning. and iterating while actively servicing your customers. Don’t wait for a version of perfection out of the gate.

 

Looking for more information about building one-of-a-kind customer journeys? We have two exciting webinars to help you:

  1. Best Practices for Getting Started with Customer Journeys and Journey Builder

  2. Break Down Silos to Create Seamless Journeys with your Customers