Forget about products, focus on customer journey

19th Jan 2016

Brands that can provide a rich customer experience through shorter and more convenient purchasing journeys are most likely to succeed.
In the coming years, business competition is bound to get even tougher. Decades back, firms compete on the basis of innovation and innovation alone. They trusted their marketing efforts to get their name out there, but more importantly, they believed that customers would inevitably choose brands with the best products. Their focus, therefore, was solely on surprising people with something new and unique.
But now that technology is highly accessible both to innovators and consumers, the playing field has been leveled. In this age, brands are competing not just in terms of who has the best products. Rather, customer experience is beginning to take the spotlight. Shorter, quicker, and more convenient customer journeys are emerging as the major selling point of highly successful brands.
How the "funnel" purchasing model became obsolete
The traditional "funnel" purchasing model indicates that consumers decide to buy something after they’ve ruled out brands or products that didn’t satisfy their standards. However, when the Internet started to dominate almost every aspect of our lives, consumers began to look up products online. They check reviews, ask their friends for suggestions, and provide feedback on how companies should improve their craft. In this scenario, the focus is on the relationships being formed between brands and their target customers. As long as a good relationship between the two exists, brands survive.
But no one is here to merely survive. All CEOs, marketing managers, and budding entrepreneurs are chasing success. So how can you succeed if your products can no longer set you apart from other brands?
Customer journey mapping is now the key.
From a customer’s point of view, efficiency is a major factor that encourages them to buy. Accessibility is another, as customers move away from brands that are hardly available or hard to find. Most importantly, they go for companies that show that they truly care for their community above anything else.
Thus, to fully enhance the customer experience, companies directly intervene as a consumer makes purchasing decisions. With much help from tech tools and advanced analytics, they do this in three main ways.
1. They automate their services.
Let’s admit it: everyone nowadays is busy. It’s precisely why process automation is such a big hit among online shopping sites, banks, and other firms that use a payment system. An example of this is allowing people to take a photo of their payment receipts and then upload them through a mobile app. Rather than showing up for the verification process in person, this mobile-based process is a lot faster, cheaper, and easier.
2. They hyper-personalize the customer journey.
Highly competitive brands are taking personalization to another level by zoning in on an individual customer’s experience. Instead of basing their marketing strategies and customer service on the general characteristics of a particular demographic, they tune in to an individual’s needs through social listening and data analysis. This way, they can identify pain points in the customer journey, which may be different for everyone.
3. They integrate their services.
Smartphones skyrocketed to success because they were able to compress several features and services into one, small gadget. Who says you can’t do this with your business processes? A great example is when Uber tied up with Facebook Messenger—a move that created a single place for people to plan meetups with friends and hail rides instantly. They key idea here is to scan for opportunities and seize them before someone else does.

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