Ask any business leader and they’ll readily agree that offering personalized, compelling and consistent digital experience is paramount to distinguishing their brand and building sustained growth. Not surprisingly, delivering an enhanced customer experience is a top five priority for businesses. From the businesses’ perspective, they’ve largely succeeded, with 87% of companies believing that they provide excellent customer experiences.
And yet, just 11% of consumers agree that companies excel at creating the kind of bespoke experiences that invoke loyalty.
To bridge that gap, businesses need to invest time and effort into creating relevant and memorable experiences for their prospects and customers. But to ensure you’re designing and optimizing the digital experience in an impactful way for your customers, you must begin with fully understanding what they want at every point in their discovery and purchasing journeys.
The effort pays off: after a positive customer experience, customers are 3.5 times more likely to purchase from a business and 5.1 times more likely to recommend a business to a friend.
Getting the digital experience right is an ongoing process as customer journeys are fluid, specific to the individual and must evolve with your customers’ changing expectations.
Getting Started: Step Into the Shoes of Your Customers
73% of consumers expect companies to understand their needs and expectations. Consumers leave behind plenty of clues as to their interests and predilections — and can be impatient with brands that fail to pick up on them.
Developing personas is one way marketers ensure they’re not overlooking the customer breadcrumb trail. Personas help you segment customers by a variety of factors, including purchase patterns, demographic, psychodemographic, age, location, marital status and more. Creating personas allows your brand to step into your customers’ shoes, relate to their needs at scale, and identify factors shaping their journey.
By mapping out personas that represent your core audience’s needs, problems and goals, you can begin to identify characteristics and factors driving their decision making and leverage that to design better ways to support them. Consistent analysis of how consumers interact with your brand across channels over time will help you build the right approach and messaging to move them through the conversion path.
Creating relevant personas begins with qualitative data. What do you think you know about your customers? Qualitative data might be assumptions you have about the makeup of your customers, their reasons to interact with your business and how you could improve their CX. .
Next, you’ll validate your assumptions using quantitative data. Review Google Analytics, marketing analytics, user interviews, surveys, past purchase data — anything you have available to indicate demographics, recent activity, sentiment and other patterns.
Actionable website behavior may include pages visited, content downloaded, search and cart activity, devices used, abandonment activity and any preferences they’ve submitted. Email behaviors may include opens, clicks, conversion rates, newsletter sign-ups, time spent engaging and email content themes.
For instance, do you see patterns in website abandonment or bounce rates that could expose pain points or unclear messaging? What paths to purchase are most successfully completed? What commonalities do you see in your most loyal and active customers? How does that compare to your least active?
These details combine to give you a nuanced view of your visitors, and their interactions with your brand. This insight allows you to build relevant personas and tailor messaging or offers to their interests.
For example, a home goods retailer may want to emphasize its decorative platters to consumers in an “entertainer” persona but promote home organization products to consumers who have recently moved to a new town. By tailoring the offer to the customer type, the retailer is creating a more personal and relevant experience, while increasing the likelihood that person is satisfied and converts.
Once your personas are set, it’s time to determine the overall customer journey and ways to continually target customers with the right information and messaging, based on who they are and how ready they are to buy.
Next Step: Map Customer Journey Paths and Tailor Your Content
A customer journey is a visualization of all of the interactions customers have with your brand, which in today’s world is both multichannel and non-linear.
A customer may see your ad on Instagram, visit your website, interact with your social post and ultimately convert via a marketing email you send. This is why all touch points must be on-brand, consistent, and complementary — to the consumer this is just one, single brand experience.
By analyzing the typical sales cycle and layering on what you know about your customers, you can match the different goals of your customer base and provide content, messaging or offers to guide them to the next stage of their journey. To map the journey for each persona, look at the data and ask: how do these consumers progress from awareness, to interest, to purchase and post purchase?
For instance, our home goods retailer might target customers in the awareness stage with social media videos showing off their product lines and describing their value proposition. When a customer moves to interest, as indicated by browsing the website or placing items in their cart, they could offer a 20% off coupon for new customers to push that person to purchase and move forward to the next stage in their journey.
Keep in mind, today’s journeys are multichannel, so make sure that relevant messaging and experiences are applied consistently across your touch points, including your website, mobile app, social media and anywhere else a customer interacts with your brand.
Getting customer experiences right is not a one-and-done activity. Customers change as they age, change careers, marry, buy a house, become a parent. Building a lifelong relationship means constantly testing, measuring and optimizing the way you engage with them. Having an up-to-date customer journey map is vital to making sure your digital experiences are truly customer-focused.
VP of Customer Success and Marketing for digital agency Whereoware, Randi Mohr ensures clients’ digital services achieve intended business objectives. Mohr also oversees Whereoware’s brand messaging and marketing efforts to accelerate sales growth.