Customer obsession. This should be the northern start of any Company chasing successful result. But it is a very broad and we need to understand it fine. In other posts, published by me or across many blogs in the Internet, the stress is in offer real solutions to the customer, and not only be focus products or services. The customer have to be in the center of our company (key in any digital transformation project), so we need to have a deep knowledge about the customer.
Let’s put ourselves in the customer’s shoes. This should be easy, as all of us are consumers in our daily live. We have brand’s expectatives, and depend on how they perform we evaluate the customer experience one way or the other. As consumers, we want to be attended by the company in any moment (from the presale stage until the post-sale, covering the full lifecycle). In each of these steps our motivations will be different, the info we need from the company (provider) is not the same in each stage and perhaps, we will use different channels to reach them depending the step. This could be, long story short, the principle of the Omni canal approach.
Multichannel or Omni channel
Some time ago all the experts talked about multichannel capabilities. But we should move forward as it is not fully correct or at least not fully complete. To be multichannel means be present in different channels. However, the direction we should move to has a slightly difference. Be Omni channel is be present in different channel to attend the customer, taking into account the main characteristic, mission and vision of each of these channels, . It means, we need to add some topics to analyze: 1) customer knowledge 2) correct choose of the message and channel, customize it and the used channel.
An example could help us to understand it better. One day, reading newspapers or watching TV, we can spot an airline ad with offers to some destination. Pick it up, we would explore the web to check date availability. During following dates, we would receive some emails (from this airline company) with some deals to our favorite destinations. In addition we also saw some relevant ads in Google/Gmail and Facebook with the same info. But we finalize decide purchase the tickets when a push notification come up in the app (we have downloaded and installed the airline app in our smartphone) with the best deal ever.
Some days before to the flight, we received some tips about the destination we are going to visit, and some additional services and add-ons. The day before of the flight we received some online checking instructions. During the flight, we get all the booked services but once landed in the destination, we have no news about the piece of luggage we checked/in. We try to contact with the company via Facebook and twitter until we solve the problem. And after some days, and after enjoy it, we start thinking in the next trip.
This example cover the full lifecycle, including several channels (online and offline). As we can see, company uses each channel with a different purpose, adjusting message and depending the stage we are on. Even transactional message could be put in between with the commercial and marketing ones. Summarizing, the customer experience is design end to end, including problem solving and information customized as soon as there is info for that.
The customer journey map
The customer journey map is a very useful tool for this purpose. It means, a tool to get a deeper knowledge, understand all steps and streamline buying cycle phases and customer motivations. It is key to map these with the customer-company linking points and plot all the internal processes (our customers doesn’t care about this, as they should be transparent for them)
Online vs Offline
In a nutshell we can differentiate two big kind of channels as digital and offline (not all of them are face-to-face, but a big portion). Both types should be part of the same strategy (the customer is not going to make any differentiation between online and offline, as expect same behavior and attention level from us). Each one has certain characteristic and benefits that we should explore and take the most of them in order to improve/optimize our commercial relationship with customers.
Above I talked about offline or face-to-face channels, so I can mentioned examples as leaflets, events, banners, mailing,… In the digital channel cases, we have more and more, but the more common and used ones as email, APPS, SMS, and of course social media (Facebook, twitter, Instagram or WeChat in china)
There are some benefits in using digital channels. They are, potentially, cheaper, but more important, allow us to have clear traceability about done actions per customer. So ROI (Return of investment) calculation are easier, more clear and transparent. There is an additional feature I would like to comment on, it is the personalization. This is key in the customer journey. We need to ensure that the appropriate info is address to correct contact, with the maximum personalization possible. So, it is not only the content, it is about the full experience (web, communication preference, channels to use …). And of course get a high personalized message communication. We need to use a different strategy depend on the channel to use. Each one has different features, and the goal could be different. It is not the same a Facebook post, than Instagram picture or a push communication via APP.
Offline channels, and specifically the face to face ones as (events or tradeshows) could be a good trigger to have a real engagement with the customer. This is a direct touch point with customers and the feedback we get is very valuable and straight forward. But we need to be able to surprise the customer, with a good performance and added value solutions. Usually, the cost and return of investment calculation are the main concerns.
Anyway, it is key to customize the message and adapt it to the selected channel to broadcast it. We will not use Facebook with the same goal that Twitter or a magazine ad. It is not only about the wording and text, the length of the message or the format (for instance, Instagram is only about picture). We should understand how and when reach the customer or consumer and depend on this, select the more appropriate channel. Because of this it is important know all channels characteristic, pros and cons in order to take the most of all of them.
But, just an open question. What is the digital culture maturity level in our environment? Do you have any good best practice to share (campaigns, ommunications,..)?