The concept of the Customer Journey was defined in the late 1990s, changing the entire approach to marketing. The Customer Journey provided an ‘outside-in’ approach to marketing, where businesses focused on improving the customer’s experience with them by resolving any issue that arose and building an ongoing positive relationship with them.
The Customer Journey approach to marketing creates a more holistic view of patterns of customer behaviour from pre-purchase through to sale and after. Applying the Customer Journey, marketers strive to understand the emotions, desires, and needs of their customer or prospect, as well as other things that influence their purchase decision. They also focus on all of the touch points that a customer uses to interact with a company across a number of channels and mediums.
Focusing on the Customer Journey means that marketers target optimal customer engagement through the effective management of all the channels that the customer uses to interact with the company.
The Changing Customer Journey
For the past decade, the Customer Journey has become increasingly digital as customers and potential customers have started interacting with businesses on social media, websites, blogs, emails and many more. Most businesses have long gone digital and started engaging with customers through these new mediums years ago. However, with the increasing digitisation, consumers have changed, and simply inserting these new mediums into their existing mapped out buyer journey will not work. In order to succeed, today’s marketers have to consider how the digital landscape has changed the Customer Journey, and create their strategy around the new digital Customer Journey.
The Increasingly Digital Consumer
Today’s consumers are digital experts too and they may even be more savvy about navigating the online environment than your marketing team. Take buying behaviour as an example. Almost 1.7 billion people made online purchases in 2017, which amounted to $2.3 trillion in sales. This shows no sign of slowing down in 2019. It’s important to remember that the digital Customer Journey doesn’t end after the sale, as customers are interacting with companies online more and more after purchase. In fact, 67% of consumers will use a company’s social media channels to ask for post-sale support and will spend more with a company that engages with them online. The use of live chat has also been widely successful, with the highest customer satisfaction rating out of all customer support channels.
Digitisation has changed how customers behave and how they interact with businesses. It is vital to understand how the modern digital consumer engages with different digital touch points so that you can put an effective digital channel strategy in place that engages them at each stage of their buyer journey. In order to do this, identify the platforms that your customers are active on and how they want to interact with your company. For example, are they more likely to use your live chat on a desktop or mobile device? Are they most likely to go to your company Facebook page with a concern, or use the help section of your website? You can discover all of this information and more by analysing your digital data.
The Problem with Digitally Literate Customers
There’s no denying that the digitisation of the consumer has opened the door for companies to interact with consumers in a new, more personalised level, which is good for business on the whole. However, as customers are more digitally literate, they have higher expectations for the digital experience that businesses provide. They are more likely to recognise sponsored content in their social feeds or unsubscribe to an email marketing campaign that they are not interested in. In addition, if they are not happy with a product or their experience with your business, they will no longer just call you to make a complaint. The digital consumer will share their negative experience on Social Media channels so that all of their connections can see it. As such, making your digital customer journey a priority in your marketing efforts is imperative.
By 2020, customer experience, which is now mostly digital, will become a key brand differentiator, overtaking the importance of both price and product. If you are not managing and optimising your digital touch points, you risk losing customers to competitors. As such, today’s brands must deliver a consistent, connected, competitive digital customer experience.
Automated tools can help you to manage your digital channels, however, it can be difficult to pull information between them to put together a holistic view of your digital marketing efforts across the Customer Journey. If you need help to define the most effective digital channels for your customers, get in touch with Digital Squad. We can help you improve your digital customer experience to maximise the leads and conversions coming in for your business. So, if you’re ready to take the next step to improve your digital strategy, talk to the experts at Digital squad, your digital marketing agency Auckland. Whether that be social media marketing NZ, Google shopping ads or Google remarketing ads, we are here to help you out. Contact us and find out how you can improve your conversions.