If you have seen one of the latest Netflix phenomena, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, then you are likely familiar with the phrase “spark joy”. In the show, Marie Kondo explains that if items around your home don’t make you feel special or if you don’t see them being part of your life in the future, you should dispose of them. This allows you to decrease clutter and live surrounded by things you care about. The Customer Journey is like this in more ways than one. Customers today are overwhelmed with communications, getting messages from hundreds of vendors online, on their phones, and in ads. To really stand out, your business needs to make itself part of the future they see for themselves.
The fact is, emotions drive many customer decisions, even in the B2B space. To best deliver great experiences to customers, then, you must keep their emotions in mind. One way to do this is to take more direct control of your customer journey. For those new to this space, a customer journey is every experience and interaction that a customer has with your brand. Here are a few key ways that you can impact your customer journey to impact customer emotions:
Understand your Customers Needs And Map Them
Delivering personalization and thus great experiences requires understanding how your customers interact with your business. A great first step for this is to map out the current state of your customer journey. With more channels at play than ever before, it’s essential to know how they are connected. This allows you to identify potential pain points, such as handoffs between sales and service, or potential gaps between marketing campaigns and sales.
One of the biggest customer frustrations is having to repeat themselves. While staff training can impact this experience, often the problem isn’t the people – but the way information systems are connected. Take a closer look at how you’ve connected your systems and built out customer journey processes. Often, you can quickly identify where a few improvements will have the biggest impact. If there is no procedure to escalate complaints from clearly upset customers, they will be upset. Similarly, if you cannot amplify a satisfied customer, your business loses an opportunity. Either way, understanding the journey is the first step to improving it and making happy customers.
Personalize Experiences to Keep Customers Happy
No customer likes feeling like a cog in the machine. Whether it’s the fraud journey for a financial services corporation or a holiday shopping experience, customers like to feel like businesses are taking special care of them. To do this, we recommend investing in personalization. While we’ve discussed personalization in the travel industry, and shared how Gerber brings joy to parents by personalizing content that is relevant to them and their child, personalization doesn’t have to be a massive project to deliver value. That value comes very quickly from showing customers that you know who they are. While this harder at the top of the funnel, marketing still has an enormous impact. More than just that, marketers have the effect of influencing customer vision and expectations. What does that mean in practice?
Because many of the first experiences that customers have with a business is through their marketing, the design of that content and those experiences shapes their entire relationship with the brand. If the marketer can project reliability, that’s what customers will expect. They will be pleased and satisfied when that expectation is met, or disappointed when it is not. This is one example of a branded customer journey. Personalization and customer journey orchestration, can work hand in hand to make sure that customers have the experiences they were promise – or better. But what happens when an experience goes wrong?
Tidy Up Conversions That Don’t Work
This is where Marie Kondo and her tactics for Tidying Up come into play again. Where creating brand new, powerful experiences is easier than ever with tools like Kitewheel or other journey orchestration tools discussed in the Forrester Wave Report, it can still be difficult to let go of old practices, campaigns, and experiences. Marie Kondo teaches the people she helps in Tidying Up that each item in the home should be examined – to determine if it sparks joy. This process begins with the functional, and then moves on to more sentimental parts of the home. In your business, you should approach cleaning out unsuccessful business practices the same way.
To keep customers happy, begin with the systems that are broken, like communications channels that don’t connect. Where Kondo suggest you throw out the item, in our example, you instead throw out only what was making it unsuccessful. Even if brilliant, web designers built your website, if it doesn’t deliver results, something has to change. So how do you identify what isn’t working? Unlike a parka or pair of boots, you cannot hold an email communication strategy in your arms and determine if it sparks joy. Instead, you need to invest in customer journey analytics so that you can know what works and what doesn’t. This means taking the customer journey that you’ve mapped and tried to connect together and determining with data what works. Ultimately, you’ll be able to plan and optimize the customer experience, and spark joy in your customers.
Seems overwhelming? Here’s where to start.
If all of this feels like too much we suggest starting small. Some of our automotive clients have executed journey overhauls but saw the biggest impact from relatively small changes to the customer journey. Given this and other journey successes, we know that all businesses can deliver better experiences to their customers.
If you’re curious about the best ways to spark joy for your customers in real time, check out our upcoming webinar to learn all about real time journey management!