How to improve brand results by integrating customer journey with voice of the customer
The buzz around customer journey continues to build as the need to get closer to the customer experience becomes increasingly more critical to brands and businesses. Generally speaking, the customer journey has been defined as learning about your customer’s pain points, moments of meaning, and how they navigate the buying process and beyond.
We know that organizations focused around customer service have been looking critically at moments of meaning and drivers of acquisition and involvement for quite some time now. As a concept, evaluating this journey isn’t really new. The real power in this, however, is taking a more critical look at how the customer journey intersects with ongoing brand experience.
Have you thought about how a customer journey can serve as a springboard to further your brand’s loyalty? The intersection between the two areas presents an opportunity to maximize share, reduce churn, and beef up brand equity.
Let’s start by diving into the customer journey. What makes mapping the customer journey useful?
1. Its ability to highlight the flow of the customer experience—from the ups and downs along the way to those critical pain points where attention and focus are most essential
2. Journey maps break a customer’s experience down into individual interactions, not just overall needs, making the needs and emotions easier to recognize and more digestible.
The idea suggested to marketers is to define those ”moments of meaning” – that is those intangible points of either pain or joy where a brand can insert itself, add value, and better engage the customer.
How is Customer Journey Used?
By detailing a customer’s needs throughout their experiences and revealing how each interaction negatively or positively impacts the customer’s relationship to your brand, a compelling story can be built. A good story can reach stakeholders across many levels of an organization and can be easily understood and interpreted.
Linking the Journey to Performance
Customer Journey Maps provide a foundation from which to build Voice of Customer programs. These programs can provide customer insights that will lead to generating new customers, more loyal customers, and ultimately more engaged customers resulting in more revenue and increased ROI. This approach goes beyond the traditional customer purchase funnel approach to get at key moments of truth in customer decision-making which occur at different points of time between pre and post purchase. Traditionally the brand relationship was viewed as a funnel, with the end goal being purchase. However, the customer journey approach considers the brand relationship as an intertwined process which is not so simple to understand and act upon.
Depending on the particular journey, one of the most traveled roads on the customer journey is the reduction of pain point to positively impact growth. In this scenario, the brand seeks to reduce negative parts of the customer experience or change them from negative to positive. The belief then is that by changing negative to positive or removing pain it will result in some sort of loyalty leading to growth.
While reducing pain points is one use of the journey it is certainly not the only use. If we understand not only the pain points but also understand what creates joy, ease of doing business and engagement with our customers we may have a path to “wow” customers and create stronger and longer lasting relationships.
Translating to Customer Experience and Loyalty
Producing journey maps that illustrate an optimal customer experience enables stakeholders and executives to identify, prioritize, and maintain focus on the changes that matter. By comparing and contrasting these optimal journey maps with the less-than-optimal maps of real life customer experiences the company can focus on changes that will impact relationships and drive growth.
Customer Journey Mapping is an excellent tool, but to be effective it must translate into better performance. This can be done by integrating the journey into your Voice of Customer Program. Rather than being a one-off project, the journey should be the cornerstone to incorporate in your Voice of the Customer program and the key link to your marketing efforts. If used well, the result can be higher engagement, stronger loyalty, and greater advocacy, leading to better performance in the market.
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