Every interaction with your customer is important, and maximizing the effectiveness of touchpoints has been a valid business concern for some time. Research from McKinsey, however, highlights the blind spot in this kind of thinking -- true leading brands have moved from a touchpoints-focus to a focus on the holistic customer journey.
Customer journey thinking requires you to step into the shoes of your customers and see your brand from their perspective. Their experience is going to cut across the silos of your business. “Until you think about that cross-cutting journey, those silos won’t think about what are they are doing that impacts the next person’s step or the next person’s step,” says McKinsey director Alex Singla.
The journey includes everything before, during, and after a customer’s interaction with your brand. For an online purchase, it includes marketing, shopping, sales, logistics through to post-sale customer care and re-engagement. It could be everything from upgrading a product to purchasing and waiting for a sweater to arrive. It could be returning a defective product and expecting a refund. Journeys can be short and involve just a few channels, or weeks long and incorporate switching from social media to email to phone to chat.
“In our research, we’ve discovered that organizations that fail to appreciate the context of these situations and manage the cross-functional, end-to-end experiences that shape the customer’s view of the business can prompt a downpour of negative consequences, from customer defection and dramatically higher call volumes to lost sales and lower employee morale,” McKinsey finds. “In contrast, those that provide the customer with the best experience from start to finish along the journey can expect to enhance customer satisfaction, improve sales and retention, reduce end-to-end service cost, and strengthen employee satisfaction.” McKinsey offers six steps to looking at the holistic journey and designing for experience at that level.
- Step out of your silo and look at your business from the viewpoint of a customer who wants you to solve a problem.
- Try to imagine how the customer moves from interaction to interaction.
- Plan ahead for what the customer needs, expects, and wants during each stage of the journey.
- Pinpoint what’s working and what’s not.
- Know what needs to be fixed most and what would be nice to have fixed.
- Look at the root issues of poor customer experience and redesign from there.
You can learn more about conversational commerce and engaging your customers at every touchpoint by exploring Linc’s platform and solutions pages. Or take a look at how leading brands like Lamps Plus, JustFab.com and others are using automated conversational commerce strategies in their businesses today, in our resources page.