The journey customers take in their buying decisions and how they use products or services has changed exponentially over the past 10 years. Now more than ever before, consumers are able to take control of what they want, when they want it, and how much they want to spend. This is all thanks to the world of digital technology. Before making a purchase, consumers can research online to determine the durability or reliability of a product or service all while searching for the best price. Because of this, companies have had to alter their approach to take back control of this process.
A Harvard Business Review article recently outlined four capabilities companies need to master to ensure each customer’s journey leads to a more permanent relationship with that company or brand. The four interconnected capabilities include: automation, proactive personalization, contextual interaction, and journey innovation.
An Automated Journey
Automation is done when any steps that were once a manual task, become automated. For example, the need to take checks to the bank or ATM personally to deposit is almost obsolete. Now customers are simply using their mobile devices to snap a photo of their check and deposit it through their bank’s app.
Proactive personalization is the process of using past experiences with your company to make suggestions for future interactions, and transactions. Amazon does this through an algorithm created to remember such things as the type of ink a customer’s printer uses and when it potentially needs to be re-ordered.
Interact with Your Customer
Contextual interaction allows companies to use a customer’s physical location to determine their needs. For example, this could be an airline app that checks customers into their flight as they enter the airport, followed by a hotel app that checks them into their rooms and even uses the app as the key to the door.
Continue the Journey with Innovation
The final capability is journey innovation, making sure the journey is continually what the customer wants and making changes accordingly along the way. For example, Kraft’s app is no longer just a place to find recipes using their products, customers can now add products to a shopping cart and have them delivered through Peapod.
These capabilities take your customers from what was once referred to as the “Classic Journey” to the “New Journey.” In the past, even after purchasing and enjoying your brand, there was still the potential that consumers would choose a different company’s product or service when it was time to repurchase. Today, customization, creativity and attention to detail almost guarantees that customers enter the “loyalty loop” and keep coming back.
Building a strong digital team with managers, designers, developers, marketers and IT staff will set your company on the right path to creating a customer journey that fosters lasting relationships with your brand.
Check out our website for more helpful tools to strengthen the customer journey and enhancing your digital presence.