People interact with your brand in a variety of ways. They may discover your website when performing a search online. Your listing may appear when a mobile searcher is looking for a nearby business like yours. Then there are interactions that take place inside your store or over the phone. When starting a business or evaluating the one you have, how do you make sure each one of these interactions align with your customer experience strategy?
What is Customer Experience?
Customer Experience is the sum-totality of all these interactions — how customers engage with your business and brand, not just in a snapshot in time, but throughout the entire duration of the relationship. How a customer feels about your business and its offerings is based on her overall experience with your brand.
How to impact customer experience
The good news is that you have a lot of control over the way consumers experience your business. You have the opportunity to architect each touchpoint — the way you merchandise your products; the marketing messages you use; the design of your website, advertisements, social media posts and so on.
All your marketing efforts are an extension of your brand and help design the customer experience. Consider how each of these interactions help tell the greater story of your brand and influence the way a customer perceives your business.
How to get started
When thinking about the customer experience you want to offer, the best way to start is to ask questions that reveal insights about your business and your customers. Work through the following questions to start identifying the experience you’d like to create.
- What is your mission statement?
- Where will you be in three to five years toward fulfilling your mission?
- What achievements could you reach within three to five years?
- What measurable milestones will you use?
- Who are your target customers?
- What demographic information is important?
- What do they care about?
- What motivates them?
- What common personality traits do the majority of your customers share?
- How do your customers think about the product or service you offer?
- What concerns do they have about the product/service you offer?
- How do their misconceptions or prior experiences influence their choices?
- What problem do your customers solve with your product or service?
- Do they need your product or service?
- Do your customers buy during a particular season?
Value proposition & key differentiators
- What makes your business attractive to customers?
- What specific benefits does your business deliver?
- Why should your customers buy from you and not the competition?
- Do people understand what you offer and how they would benefit?
- What is the personality of your business?
- How do you want your business to be perceived?
- What words would customers use to describe your business?
Customer experience vision
- What do you want your customers to feel?
- What do you want your customers to think?
- When interacting with your business, what does an awesome customer experience look like?
- What experience would you like your customer to share with others?
- What are your unique opportunities in the market?
- What are the three things you want to intentionally and consistently communicate to your customers?
- How would you prioritize those three things?
- How might those things translate across communication channels?
- What tone and voice does/should your business have?
- What kinds of things would your business say or not say?
- What kind of imagery communicates your brand?
- Does the content you publish meet your customers’ expectations?
Your answers to these questions will paint the picture of the customer experience you aspire to create. The next step is to fill in the details by creating a customer journey map.
Tool for customer experience
What is a customer journey map?
One of the most useful tools in helping businesses improve customer experience is a journey map. A customer journey map is an illustration of the steps your customer(s) take when engaging with your business. Creating a journey map gives you a crisper picture of the experience you’re providing customers.
To begin, build a timeline that starts with the first engagement a customer has with your brand and all the steps that lead to the end of that scenario.
Let’s use an example of a tattoo shop, Filament Tattoo. An abbreviated journey of a customer who just received a tax refund and therefore has the money to get their first tattoo could include these eight steps.
Step 1: Discovery of Filament from a Google search
Step 2: Research Filament’s website
Step 3: Look at Filament’s artists and gallery
Step 4: Book a phone consultation
Step 5: Make an appointment after consultation
Step 6: Get a tattoo
Step 7: Share a photo of their tattoo with friends on Facebook
Step 8: Get another tattoo
Once you’ve created the timeline, analyze what’s happening at each step.
- Action: What action does the customer take?
- Touchpoint: Where is this action taking place?
- Feel: What is the customer feeling? Why is he motivated to take the next step? Why does he care?
- Think: What questions does the customer have? Does she have any uncertainties or doubts? Is she facing any barriers to taking the next step?
Now that you’ve mapped out a scenario, you can address the way the customer is feeling and thinking in the design and content of each interaction. By using this journey map, you can align each touchpoint with your customer experience strategy.
Tools & templates
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