Any brand worth their salt knows that Journeys are the key to building customer relationships that last. When you Google “Customer Journey,” you get about 24 million results, most of which discuss the importance of Journey mapping in optimizing the customer experience. Far fewer resources talk about taking the Journey from concept to execution—probably because it’s the hardest part of the whole process.
To execute a successful Customer Journey, you’ve got to juggle multiple channels and touchpoints in order to ensure that the customer is being engaged on all fronts. A single omission in the Journey can make for a rocky road—and one very disgruntled customer.
Here are some common mishaps we see in the execution of the Customer Journey, and a few tips for getting it right:
1. Irrelevant Messaging
Irrelevant messaging is so…irreverent. What’s the point of having a customer experience platform if you’re not going to segment and personalize your communications? If your marketing automation and CRM systems are working in silo, it’s really hard to achieve a singular customer view. Integrated systems allow you to collect data on every customer, from every channel and touchpoint—priming you to deploy communications with relevance and resonance. Once you’ve got all your data sitting in one warehouse, you can create detailed customer profiles which make it easier to make informed marketing decisions.
Big data yields endless possibilities when it comes to personalized messaging. Use transactional data to segment customers onto post-purchase engagement tracks, or use real-time web behavior to trigger a cart/browse recovery series. Try personalized push messages for the mobile-inclined or start a tweet-fest with the social brand evangelist. Collect data from anywhere you can and whatever you do, DON’T batch and blast. Messages that don’t resonate only breed frustration and send your customers packing to a company who cares.
2. Not expecting the unexpected.
Customer Journeys aren’t always smooth sailing. Brands that fail to map out unexpected bumps in the road simply won’t have the foresight to optimize the customer experience—and that’s what the Journey is all about, isn’t it?
Keeping track of customer gripes is the key to delivering proactive customer service. If a customer files a complaint—say, you’ve delivered the wrong product or overcharged for an order—flag the error on her profile to ensure she will be segmented onto a more relevant nurture track. The last thing that a disgruntled customer wants to see is a series of promotional emails that outright ignore their most recent complaint. By using real-time data to change the course of communications, you can ensure that the customer in question will receive content—such as a discount or an apology message—that responds to their current need for enhanced customer service. This type of proactive responsiveness empowers your brand to demonstrate an agility towards changing customer needs.
3. Email Barrage.
There’s nothing worse than an email barrage. While your customers want to receive emails that are timely and relevant, they don’t need to hear from your brand multiple times a day. Sending too many emails is the quickest way to send your brand loyalists straight into the arms of your competitors. Marketing cloud platforms are great for automating personalized engagement campaigns, but some brands go too far with too many messages, too soon. Treat a subscriber like you would a potential love interest: give them room to breathe! In the same way that you wouldn’t ambush your date with multiple texts, phone calls or tweets per day—you shouldn’t harass your subscribers with too many marketing messages, despite how relevant you think they may be. What’s true in love is often true in marketing: absence makes the heart grow fonder. Give your subscribers time to miss you by establishing a slow yet steady cadence for your email communications. Also, be sure to keep track of subscribers who just aren’t that into you; those that don’t open or click through your emails may need to be segmented onto a re-engagement Journey, or perhaps a different channel of communication such as mobile or social.
We’ve already mentioned some of the pitfalls of having disparate systems that don’t “talk” to one another. A lot of brands make the mistake of managing a customer’s on- and offline behavior separately, resulting in messy data and a murky customer view.
Integrating your CRM, POS, eCommerce and other relevant platforms allows you to aggregate real-time on- and offline activity for a truly holistic customer view. The ability to see that a catalogue sent to a customer via mail resulted in an online purchase, which led to an in-store return, followed by a Twitter complaint—enables your brand to react more quickly to changing customer activity, determine what channels are driving engagement, and gain insight into a customer’s preferred channels and product preferences. All of this data arms you with the intel to directly influence the way your customers engage with your brand.