The rapidly changing technological landscape is causing “digital disruption” and has changed the habits of buyers – compelling companies to adapt and shift the way we all do business.
Studies show that up to 60% of a buyer’s decision-making journey occurs online, which means that how you interact with prospects before a human encounter takes place will significantly impact your probability of success.
In the midst of this change and uncertainty, emerging technologies are creating significant business opportunities for those companies willing to take advantage of them. Businesses can now support and shape their customer’s journeys in new and exciting ways – ultimately leading to a competitive advantage for those organizations that figure out how to do it best.
In the traditional customer journey, the prospect considers and evaluates options from various product or service providers before making a purchasing decision. With new technologies and the processes they enable, it’s possible to eliminate competitors from this typical buying cycle.
How is that possible? It starts with delivering outstanding value from the moment the prospect finds you, and creating an optimal “brand experience” throughout the entire buying process.
These are four key capabilities companies must master to maximize their own “customer journey” experiences:
Technology allows us to automate activities that were previously performed manually. This makes every step of your customer journey simple and convenient for customers, whether it’s streamlining a sign-up process, automating payment and delivery, or providing seamless integration with other technologies or platforms.
Automation takes a potentially complex process and turns it into a simple and engaging experience for the customer.
2. Proactive Personalization
With access to data, we have more information about our prospects and customers than ever before. We know how they’ve interacted with us in the past so we can build profiles of their unique preferences in our contact databases. We can then communicate with them based on their specific interests.
It’s not enough to just gather this personalization data – we must use it to make the customer journey as effortless and natural to the prospective customer as possible. Technology allows us to track customer behaviours across channels, and then tailor our next interactions accordingly.
Done well, this will take prospects through the entire customer journey without any friction.
3. Contextual Interaction
Technology also helps us convey the right message to our prospects and customers at the right time based on where they are in their unique customer journey.
Knowing where the buyer is in their own journey allows us to provide them with the critical information they need at precisely that moment in time, as well as providing them with a logical path to the next step in the buying process.
4. Journey Innovation
The customer journey is dynamic and ever-changing; therefore, your approach should adjust based on analytics and metrics. You must always be innovating to make it easier for the prospect to buy from you.
Through an in-depth understanding of your prospect’s decision-making needs and interactions, you can constantly refine and adapt your support for their buying journey.
Done well, these capabilities will set your company up as the obvious choice for prospective customers, offering them a seamless, frictionless, personalized buying experience. The goal is to eliminate the need for them to evaluate anyone else.
A lofty goal, but well worth achieving if you can effectively eliminate competition as early in the buying process as possible. When your company offers this unique, value-based experience to prospective customers, and your competitors do not, prospects will be more inclined to do business with you.
Today, it’s not just about the quality of your products or services, but rather the customer’s experience with your brand and how well you support them through their customer journey.
For more details on customer journey innovation, I encourage you to read HBR’s excellent article “Competing on Customer Journeys”.
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