Your customers have been through a lot and frankly, they’re burnt out, stressed out and pissed off.
What you thought you knew about your customers has changed and it’s much riskier making decisions on what was, instead of taking the time to figure out what their expectations are now.
Through all of that we have experienced during a global pandemic, customers expect brands to be better; they expect it to be easier to buy, receive service and get the information they need. This means rethinking delivery models, distribution networks, service standards and how you keep track of what your customers like, don’t like, and what they want and need from you to continue to be loyal.
Every purchase decision is an emotionally driven one and sometimes, for reasons you can’t see or understand and have nothing to do with you, they change their minds and leave you or purchase somewhere else. Still, it’s your problem to solve. If you continue to try to differentiate based on product and price, well, 2021 might not be your year.
So, what now?
Map the Customer Journey
Make the investment and map the customer journey your customers have with you right now. Be sure to cover the path to purchase, the decision-making process, how they interact with your brand. All of it.
To understand what they really want and how that may be different from the way it is now, speak to a sample group of your stakeholders – internal and external – and identify all those touchpoints that your brand touches your customers. You need to learn what works, what’s important to them, what they don’t like, and what you need to improve. Pay attention to their emotional state at each touchpoint and use the resulting map as your blueprint for redesigning process, workflow and service standards.
Customer journey mapping is absolutely critical if you want to understand how to ensure your customer experience is aligned and integrated with your marketing and communications efforts.
We can help – check out TMD’s Rapid Customer Journey Mapping solution to get started.
Appreciate that your customers’ needs and have changed and accept you need to be flexible on how your business operates and delivers a good experience in 2021, such as how customers are able to contact you and pick up or access services. Accept that the way you were originally doing business may need to change because what your customers want has changed. Invest the time to find out what has changed and then plan for how you adapt, communicating those changes clearly to your employees and your customers so that expectations are set and managed.
Show – Don’t Just Tell
When you show your customers that you’re willing to change with them, they’re more likely to stay. Involve them in the process and they’ll be more engaged and will become loyal advocates through the ups and downs.
By rebuilding a customer journey that delivers on their current expectations that you can adjust as needed, you become a more sustainable business, especially during periods of constant change, such as what we’re experiencing right now.
The experience your customers have with your brand might be the last opportunity for you to differentiate. Take the time now to map your customer journey and understand how to meet your customers where they are, and where they need you to be.
Article by Dave Cliche, President & CEO at TMD