Customer experience (or CX for Customer Experience) is one of the new challenges brought by the growing development of new technologies. In B2B as in B2C, customers no longer buy only a product or a service: they buy an experience. Something that goes beyond the intrinsic function of buying and that has a sensory and emotional dimension. Apple, Abercrombie, Anthropologie, Ikea… so many brands that use experience to attract and retain their customers. However, in an ultra-mutagenic and hyper-competitive world fueled by big data, social networks, permanent mobility and incessant cross-device, it is difficult to offer a successful customer experience without taking into account the customer journey. Knowing where it came from is one thing. Knowing why he’s coming and what he wants is another …
The customer journey: an essential marketing lever to master
The customer journey symbolizes the path that a customer must travel between the first moments when he discovers a brand or a product, and the moment when he decides to take action by making an act of purchase. Throughout his journey, the anonymous visitor will become a prospect (with a qualification linked to a scoring specific to a lead nurturing protocol) then client, and will interact with numerous points of contact, both online and offline.
Visit the official website, comment on social media, download a white paper, subscribe to a newsletter, contact the sales department, request a demonstration, visit a store or stand at a trade show , watching videos… these are all potential points of contact between a brand and a prospect, as the latter progresses in his personal journey.
For an advertiser, mastering the customer journey is essential, because he must be able to produce consistent experiences aligned with both the brand’s values and its positioning. If the tone of the website content is informal and offbeat, we must feel this same editorial line on social networks. If the visuals are graphically refined with a refined design, this must also materialize in the style of the videos or the layout of the stores. Two examples which illustrate this articulation and this link which must exist between all existing interactions with a potential client. To achieve this, it is therefore necessary to identify the online and offline contact points in order to put every chance on his side to convert his audience into a client. If these contact points are counted in tens for an SME, they can be several hundred for a large group.
The customer journey must also be built to respond to a need, whether it is formulated explicitly or not. The messages, the tone, the design, the commercial approach and the overall style must be adapted to the advertiser’s buyers personas.
The personas represent robot portraits of a customer category. They are informed by company data, sociotypes of existing customers, field experience and internal and external information compiled by the marketing department. Because each buyer persona is different, each experience will have to be adapted in order to create individualized customer journeys to refine their marketing strategy and work more effectively.
CX and UX: it’s always a question of experience
Between customer experience (CX) and user experience (UX for User Experience), the nuance may seem subtle, but it is nevertheless very present and essential to understand to optimize the customer journey.
The CX is the widest and most important part of the experiment. It’s a kind of umbrella that has a large set of interactions and experiences with a customer.
The UX is much more limited and is linked only to interactions between a potential customer and a digital platform (website, mobile site, application, etc.).
One is global and generic, the other is precise and specific. However, one cannot go without the other.
Let’s take a concrete example: you’re looking for a plane ticket for your next vacation in the sun. From an airline’s mobile app, you can quickly find what you’re looking for, for a great price and with all the services you need. The application is functional, ergonomic, easy to use and very responsive. The UX is validated. You have had a good experience and you are about to go on holiday with peace of mind.
Once at the airport, the plane is delayed and communication is poor. In flight, meals are bad, paying, the plane is dirty, there is no leisure offer and the service is deplorable. The result: the customer experience (CX) is catastrophic, despite a successful mobile application.
The UX therefore includes everything related to ergonomics, design, information structure, speed of the interface, as well as the quality and accessibility of content.
The CX integrates the UX, as well as all the elements linked to the image of the company, its brand territory, its reputation, its marketing strategy, its customer service, its delivery options, its pricing, its after service. -sale, etc.
The UX is typically managed by designers, developers, graphic designers, and creative directors.
The CX is often managed by the support service, sales, marketing or even communication.
To succeed in making UX and CX work together for a better experience within the customer journey, it is necessary to decompartmentalize talents, data, means of production and working methods. Because the experience is plural and global, there must be a person (or service) who takes responsibility for it, who can be accountable and have an overall vision, in order to have a CX / UX reflection relevant.
How to improve the customer experience?
The customer experience is, by nature, fluid. It is impossible to freeze it in these heavy and rigid internal processes. The more an organization adopts agile management methods, the more it will be able to adapt in a changing world.
Improving the customer experience requires listening to customers, even when they are not talking to you: digital body language, tracking and analytics, KPI monitoring, reputation on social networks, sharing experiences on blogs, forums, comments on comparative sites… there are dozens of levers that advertisers can use in order to capture feedback from the field.
On the other hand, it is now essential to integrate the customer journey into an omnichannel logic: web, social networks, physical stores, mobile applications … everything is linked and all the information must be centralized effectively for effective processing. To achieve this, however, there is an important prerequisite: mastering the data and removing silos.
Finally, there is no good customer experience without relevant tests and quality controls: real data with proven statistical relevance which document the progress made and which represent useful stepping stones to optimize the customer experience for a smoother customer journey. . Online, remotely or face to face, there are also suitable solutions there, such as A / B testing, customer feedback, research groups or mystery customers …
Customers today have the power and they know it.
As points of sale are becoming more hygienic, the customer experience is strategic because it directly impacts brand growth. 64% of French people say that a bad experience can lead them to the competition. All the more reason to take the customer journey into account in your CX / UX thinking!
If you liked this article, I invite you to consult our Acquia Journey offer and to download our white paper: ”The Customer Journey: How to Deliver Great Customer-First Experiences”