The Customer Journey: Taking Stock and Planning The Build.
A recent study by the digital research and analytics firm Futurum is based upon the notion that the more we know our customer, the more we understand the essence of customer experience. The more we understand customer experience, the more we can shape it, develop it and better serve that customer.
Here at The Basement, we’re constantly working to reframe the ideal of “the integrated agency,” what it does, how it works and why it exists. We use data to develop insight which informs strategy. Strategy drives ideas. Ideas are the backbone of all that we create, with everything targeted to achieve measurable business outcomes for our client partners.
The Basement uses data to define and target specific audiences and further leverages that data, resource partnerships and integrated, cross-platform strategies to improve outcomes.
Some Assembly Required.
Brands that are attuned to their customers and their specific needs – and can identify and manage the myriad touchpoints along the continuum that is the customer journey – are more successful. And more profitable.
According to recent Adobe Trends/Temken Group studies, companies that invest in customer experience initiatives can double revenue over a 36 month period. In fact, 86% of customers are willing to spend more for a better overall experience. Additionally, a recent Walker study predicted that this year, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiators.
If you’ve ever purchased an IKEA product, you’ve seen a customer experience strategy in action. From the website to visiting an IKEA store to putting a Malsjö cabinet together, it’s clear just what part a strategic, omni-channel customer experience strategy can play in building a brand and, in IKEA’s case, a $40 billion global institution.
Customer Is Key.
Ultimately, regardless of a brand’s promise, it is the customer who decides if the brand has delivered on it. Or not. Interestingly, a majority of companies believe they deliver a superior customer experience, but fewer than 1 in 10 of their customers actually agree with them. That is really, for us, where everything begins. And ends.
Understanding the consumer in every aspect. Applying data and insight to establish a solid foundation from which to build. Putting all the pieces together. Creating an integrated cross-platform customer experience strategy that is reflective of a brand’s overall promise. Implementing data-driven, post-purchase assessment and revisions. That’s what we’re talking about. Well, that and the tools and processes The Basement employs in working with our clients to put together a successful and profitable brand and improve outcomes.
According to Kevin Marshall, The Basement’s UX Director, a traditional “problem/solution” approach does not work in creating a customer-centric experience or relationship. “It has never worked,” says Kevin. “First we have to know the customer, identify his or her specific needs, and then develop a targeted, objective-driven strategy and approach specific to those needs in order to ultimately arrive at a solution that works.”
What’s In The Box?
The first step in assembling anything, let alone a successful customer experience strategy, is taking stock of the various parts and pieces at hand and then formulating a plan to put all those pieces together. For us, that takes the form of assessing the marketplace, looking at that marketplace through the experience of the consumer and then strategizing optimizations to enhance that experience. This sets us up for success as we set strategy, develop compelling narratives, create multi-channel activations and then analyze and rework those integrated activations as required.
Experience As A Difference Maker.
According to Forbes, 89% of brands today are competing on the basis of customer experience. It dictates whether or not a customer engages with a particular brand in the first place. And in an environment where there are so many competing brands, so much competition for share of mind/voice and so many channels delivering so many messages, customer experience also ensures that customers come back.
Are market difficulties due to some obstacle or simply because of some oversight or misstep in the strategic planning and execution of the marketing program? That’s a question we work to avoid as we put together a meaningful customer experience from the ground up.
In part 2, we explore our approach to creating meaningful experiences. The goal, ultimately, is to build strong relationships between customers and the brands we represent. We’ll take a look at specific steps we follow in putting together – and following – a comprehensive customer journey map.
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