Just like it takes a village to raise a child; designing your customer journey takes the cooperation of nearly the whole company.
This is especially prevalent with the rise of digital enterprises and pay-as-you-use or bundled product and service revenue models, as the continuous customer journey isn’t only relegated to initial marketing and sales efforts.
Designing the journey is complex. Creating one which manufacturers can understand and support requires a joint effort between marketing, sales, operations and customer services. All parties need to make sure they know how they want the customer to interact, mapping the touchpoints along the way. Then, from awareness to purchase, each touchpoint should be analyzed to see whether your customers are behaving as expected.
There are three key steps to designing the journey:
1. Understanding how you want your customers to engage with you.
This is just as important as understanding how they want to engage with you. By involving marketing, sales, operations and customer services you can discover how each department wishes to engage with the customer.
2. Designing how you engage with your customers.
Marketing may want to create awareness with an advertising campaign, educating customers through emails or via infographics on social media.
Sales could be reaching customers using voice, email, LinkedIn or face-to-face visits.
Operations will want to have ordering and delivery touchpoints included. They will want to ensure the production environment can support the process. Input from operations is necessary to ensure you can deliver what you promise. Do you have the capacity? Don’t create that journey if not. For example, if you want to cross-sell or upsell a particular unit in different colors, does the production environment support it? Henry Ford could not offer the Model T in green, so he didn’t (“You can have any color, as long as it’s black.”).
Customer services may want customers to contact them (and vice versa) in a variety of ways from phone to email.
3. Analyzing the path.
Mapping the journey is important, but understanding how the journey was actually followed is just as, if not more, important. Understanding how the actual process was followed - from social media to web to sales engagements - is critical to understanding true performance. Is the customer touching the marketing path along the touchpoints you expected? What about timing? If it takes seven weeks from research to purchase and you expected three weeks, what does that tell you?
Compare what you wanted to happen to what actually did happen. Compare this in a consistent and segmented manner, to understand what’s working and what isn’t. And then tweak your map; make this a continuous process.
This understanding will push higher sales and marketing if done correctly, and will promote longer lasting customer loyalty.