Sure, Black Friday and Cyber Monday were probably your biggest sales opportunities in 2018. But it doesn’t (or it shouldn’t) start and end there. We’ve assembled a few tips and tools you can use to extend that single explosion of customer activity into end-to-end journeys. Customer journeys which go beyond seasonality spikes, dissolve team silos and can stand the test of time.
This means actually being able to deliver on those far-reaching ways to win, keep and please customers based on their individual preferences, rather than following the crowd and reacting to one-to-many sales.
And it all begins with some simple principles to gradually change mindsets, build new habits, and question preconditioned ‘home-truths’ and assumptions about how your business’s story should unfold.
1. Take ownership and be the customer journey hero
Maybe it starts with you becoming the hero of the story. Yes, you. If you’re reading this article, you already have a sense of why placing the customer front-and-centre of all you do will help rather than harm your company. Why aren’t more commerce leaders focused on pulling together across teams around shared business goals which reflect the customer journey, instead of dividing teams into product sets, customer-facing channels, or siloed seasonal campaigns?
Because making a difference and evolving for customer-centricity requires a change in thinking and a change in doing. A change which reaches beyond introducing and implementing the right technology – although this is a great start.
Not to mention that the volume, velocity, and variety of customer data that now exists overwhelms many organisations.
You’ve perhaps seen the repercussions of customer service, sales, and marketing pulling in different directions to address disparate goals. Or you’ve discovered gaps in customer data within your own department, and across your organisation, which could impact customer happiness in a big, positive way if made available or transferable across teams.
For this reason, you can be the point from which better customer experience starts to grow from a vision into a reality, and that means driving some incremental but significant changes.
2. Create a customer-first dream team to kickstart your journey mapping
What are the business goals you share across teams? Your customers don’t differentiate between departmental silos, so you shouldn’t either. Whether it’s increasing value per customer, or boosting your Net Promoter Score, this goal will benefit from breaking out of the mould and mapping some ‘quick win’ journeys which you can build and improve together, as well as some longer-term loyalty initiatives which might require more complex marketing strategies and data orchestration. To get this show on the roadmap, you might invite a performance marketer, a CRM manager, a UX designer, and any channel specialists touched by your customer-centric goal – say email, social or web.
For the technology side, you might want to bring an expert on all things customer data orchestration, to accelerate the cloud implementation and make sure any difficult-to-translate data is given the right shape to make your customer journey happen in good time.
Now your dream team is in place, it’s time to sit down for a customer journey mapping session (we see offsite and offline works best).
You can use offline tools like whiteboards or post-its to start mapping out manageable micro-journeys which contribute to your broader cross-team goal. Who is your customer? What are their habits, channel preferences, buying behaviours and aspirations? How do you build experiences which match and then exceed their expectations?
Which technologies and data do you need to talk to one another in the background to make this happen?
3. Begin building a culture of transparency through democratizing customer insights, and rewarding customer-first behaviour
Now you have a shared vision in place for your customer-centric goals, and some manageable micro-journeys to match, it’s time to grow this culture of transparency across each of your teams – in small but meaningful ways.
At Emark, we often do this by introducing elements into the day-to-day to help the wider CX team to understand and share ways of working towards a common goal, through custom-built dashboards such as KPI-based leader scores. With gradual introduction of incentives and rewards for those who contribute to shared performance goals – like customer satisfaction – you can help build a sense of collective purpose, trust and knowledge-sharing surrounding customer-centricity.
The CMO Council reports that “only 14 percent of marketers say that customer centricity is a hallmark of their companies, and only 11 percent believe their customers would agree with that characterisation.”
It takes a focus group of advocates to facilitate customer understanding – and by introducing light-weight processes and tools to link employee culture to customer outcomes, culture and strategy can combine to make customer data a cross-team asset.
It means you know exactly what your customers want, and you’re all working to make that happen – increasing loyalty and share of wallet; without having to compete solely around those seasonal peaks.