Customer Journey in services
The world of marketing and sales is dynamic, trends and challenges change constantly and unexpectedly, accelerating technology development and globalization have compressed years of evolution into a few months. On the other hand, the economic crisis and the current pandemic situation have provided learning opportunities for companies to operate in more efficient ways, and this new way of doing business plans to stick around for years to come. Here are some truths and challenges for retail companies and how the Customer Journey can help you seize the opportunities of new trends and overcome new challenges.
- Reality of the new trend in shopping
- Challenges in the new reality
- The Customer Journey
- Customer Journey to take advantage of the new trend.
- Customer Journey to overcome challenges.
The reality of the new shopping trends
Ecommerce has been developing for some time now, the current situation has prompted businesses to make the change in the way they sell, but this new way in which people consume is expected to stay for the next few years, so you must learn to see the opportunities.
To better analyze the context, it would be good to look for statistics on current trends, so here are some truths to help you familiarize yourself with and think about the future of marketing and sales:
- With health restrictions now limiting shop capacity, ecommerce is an alternative that is becoming increasingly crowded with competitors. Retail Dive mentioned that in a single day (Black Friday) in 2020, 2.8 million online purchases were recorded on these platforms via apps.
- Many people still miss and seek the experience of shopping in physical shops, leaving their homes, walking through the mall and the aisles, discovering new products and receiving them instantly.
- Only 15% of consumers have good experiences when using ecommerce.
- Generally, between 40% and 50% of sales processes can be automated. In addition, 75% of leads are not being followed up correctly.
- 47% of customers consume 3-5 forms of content before contacting sales reps, so they expect brands to make content about their products or services to get their attention.
- There are 3.7 billion social media accounts worldwide, so you should consider this a great opportunity for your marketing strategies.
Related Article: The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Trends in 2021
Challenges in the new reality
The change was drastic for some businesses and was a big challenge, not only because of the adaptation process, but also because their customers experienced a transformation in their world and the way they did things.
Change means challenges, and challenges mean opportunities. Those who know how to make the best use of them have the best chance of surviving the problems and imbalances in the market. In the next section I will show you how a simple act such as performing a Customer Journey can help you to boost your sales and retain your customers, but right now I will present you with 5 challenges for companies in the face of the new trend.
- Most online shoppers prefer to have their product delivered to their home rather than having to pick it up, causing delays in supply chains and therefore delivery delays.
- Due to the introduction of competition in the marketplace, customer retention and loyalty needs to be reinforced. Effective methods such as offers, rewards or frequent customer cards already exist, but some companies are gaining a competitive advantage through the personalization of their products and services.
- Dynamic demand, which occurs because of changes in trends; as well as marked seasonalities. Changes cannot be predicted, so it is necessary to be attentive to adjust forecasting methods and to analyze data to find seasonalities.
- Marketing through various communication channels, the old magazines, newspaper advertisements and phone calls are now inefficient. Customers anticipate and look for information about your products on the internet before they contact your business, so you must give them the information they need through different media.
- Complex internal structures that hinder communication. Normally companies have vertical structures (organigram type) and it is difficult to share information between departments. This is a serious mistake; in order to better understand the market, it is better to establish horizontal communication, to have common points where all departments are integrated, without invading. For example, by aligning marketing with sales, better strategies can be developed by taking advantage of the knowledge in marketing content generation and the information that sales have.
This blog post contains more trends with challenges that may interest you: 23 Trends Reshaping The Sales Industry
The Customer Journey
The Customer Journey, as I have mentioned on other occasions, is a decision-making process. A person who wishes to buy a product or service has a particular journey from the moment a need arises until it is solved. Stage by stage, if we carry out the exercise of imagining this journey, we can focus on the customer, in this way, understanding their concerns, their problems, and insecurities, we can shape our marketing, sales and service processes in general, to improve their experience, their confidence in our business and make a difference with our competitors.
To start with, the Customer Journey needs the definition of a Buyer Persona, a semi-fictional representation of an ideal buyer based on data and experience. Then, the journey is fed with the step-by-step process and important information such as the questions being asked or the goals the customer has.
Firstly, this will help to define and understand to whom our information, product and service is being delivered, and secondly, we will visualize what this person experiences.
For more information on this topic, please visit the following link: Customer Journey Map: What it is and how to create one?
Customer Journey to take advantage of the new trend.
Some of the new trend questions that can be raised and answered with the Customer Journey can be:
Did we achieve the goals we set with the ecommerce platforms?
Maybe we didn't show up in their search channels, maybe they didn't find the information they wanted or maybe we weren't able to provide the help they needed.
It is better that you spend time and effort to understand the Customer Journey, not everyone is doing it and it is a way to gain a competitive advantage as it also serves to learn how to guide your customers, who right now are surfing the web lost.
If we know that customers want that experience of shopping in physical shops to see the product, what are we doing to simulate the experience?
For example: virtual reality technologies, or video content on our website and social media.
Knowing how to place our customer in one of the stages of the Customer Journey (Awareness, Consideration & Decision) can help us to understand what the content they are looking for needs to have, when and how to show it to bring it closer to the real experience, as well as to generate emotion in that person. Remember that, for the most part, your customers have already searched for you online, take advantage of this opportunity to impress them.
How can we improve our customers experience?
If you improve the Customer Journey, you will get more satisfaction from your customers. Therefore, it is important to map the process of your Buyer Persona, so you will find the weak points of your business in their journey and you can strengthen them. Your customers expect you to understand their needs and are willing to pay more for a good experience. Since everyone is using the internet, take the lead and let them know that you understand them, that you were waiting for them and that you have what they need.
If you want to learn more about how to make a Customer Journey Map, I recommend the following article: Customer Journey Map: What it is and how to create one?
Customer Journey to overcome challenges.
Is there a way to address delays in the supply chain?
By mapping the Customer Journey, we can find reprocesses or activities that do not generate value and can be eliminated. This leads to standardization and automation of manual processes, streamlining the sale. With a better organization in your business, and with a proper follow-up of your leads, your customers will not take so long to make a purchase or to receive your product or service. Do not hesitate to combine tools, once you have eliminated the problems of the process, you can use logistics strategies to map your delivery routes and be more efficient.
How can I retain my customers?
By separating your process into the phases of the Customer Journey, you can generate personalized content for your Buyer Persona at each stage, from when they are prospects discovering your business, through the consideration stage when they become leads looking for information and until they become customers who have already decided to buy from you. This way you will learn how to attract and retain their attention.
With the questions you ask yourself to map the Customer Journey, you can get ideas of what content to generate to educate your customers. This way they will know you understand their needs and help them see how your product or service solves their problems, building trust that could turn into an advantage by sharing their experiences with other potential customers.
This also answers the question about communication channels, with your Buyer Persona defined, you will identify their access routes to information and when they use them, so you will know which the best channel is to communicate with them.
How do I deal with dynamic demand?
This is a more complicated issue because market behaviour is volatile, but you are not analyzing a whole segment but a Buyer Persona. You could seek to improve the accuracy of your demand forecasts to anticipate variability, however, this does not ensure success against your competitors.
Updating your Buyer Persona and Customer Journey when these things happen, will position you ahead of your competition, more than predicting behaviour you are trying to understand it, this way you will always think about your customer and you can adapt to meet their needs when they change. I am not saying that forecasts are useless, on the contrary, studying them requires a lot of effort and knowledge, but they will hardly help you to make a sale.
What about organizational structures and internal communication?
One good thing about defining a Buyer Persona is that you need several departments. If sales, marketing and customer service are present you will probably find that each of them knows their customers only in parts. How they buy, what questions or complaints they frequently have, what content they are digesting and what they are not consuming, what they are looking for, and so on.
You can involve management and other roles that may only indirectly relate to the customer to enrich the exercise and let them also discover for whom they do what they do. In this way you can define joint and individual departmental objectives to achieve the same goal: to sell the product or service and provide the best possible experience.
With the Customer Journey the same thing happens, by integrating several departments, they will be more aware of the process and how each one can contribute to improve it. In addition, a key strategy of Inbound Marketing is to ensure that Marketing and Sales have good communication because, by understanding their roles, supporting and aligning themselves, they will be able to boost your business.
As you can see, the Customer Journey is a simple but powerful tool, it can be the difference between success and stagnation, it allows you to put yourself in the shoes of your Buyer Persona and enhance your marketing and sales services. Whether you are a manufacturing or service company, understanding how a person buys your product or service can help you improve their experience, but also help you adapt to market changes and find opportunities for improvement where others only see problems.