Customer Experience News & Trends

The customer journey has changed — yet again

First, the customer experience was described as the classic “sales funnel.” Then, the Internet caused it to morph into the “decision journey.” Now, another change is on the horizon.

Customers have always whittled down myriad of choices to a final decision, and companies have always done all they could to influence those decisions. And if those companies are the “winners” in the end, they do all they can to keep customers loyal.

But the process has, and continues to change.

Where we’ve been

The classic funnel model existed for centuries. Customers uncovered or were contacted by a number of providers, compared what they saw and heard — most of which came from the companies and their sales forces — and decided to buy something.

More recently, customers increasingly took the “decision journey,” where they used technology to actively evaluate products and services, adding and removing choices over time. Companies have recently had limited, personal influence over decisions.

But that is evolving, according to new research.

Where we can go

“Brands today can not only react to customers as they make purchasing decisions but also actively shape those decision journeys,” says David Edelman and Marc Singer, researchers at McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm. “Companies today can use journeys to deliver value to both the customer and the brand.”

So how can you stand out and remain relevant throughout the seemingly never-ending journey?

“We’ve found that a company’s ability to deliver that value relies on four distinct but interconnected capabilities,” the researchers said.

What you can do

Here’s what they suggest.

  1. Automate to streamline the journey. This isn’t about self-service automation. The focus is to create simple, useful, engaging experiences — making things easier while letting customers feel they’re on a journey with you. For instance, a bank may let customers take pictures of a check and deposit it through an app rather than doing it in person. It’s an easier way for customers to do something they’ve always done, and they’re still interacting with the company.
  2. Get proactive with personalization. For this, companies use information about a customer based on past interactions or from external sources (perhaps browser activity) to instantly customize the experience. Most companies have likely always done something to remember customer preferences — from handwritten notes in accounts to stored order history. Companies can use that to optimize and personalize the next steps. For instance, a service rep can immediately schedule maintenance for a Friday because that’s the day the customer historically chooses. Or an airline might put a valued traveler on an upgrade list whether he requests it or not.
  3. Give the interaction immediate context. Use knowledge about where the customer is in the journey to deliver on the next anticipated set of interactions. For example, a retailer might show customers the status of recent orders on the home page as soon as they sign in. Some hotels are experimenting with allowing customers to use their apps as a key once customers arrive at their rooms.
  4. Add innovation to the journey. Companies are increasingly mining their data for insights into adjacent services customers may appreciate. They test ideas and figure out where to expand or complement their products or services. For example, an airline’s app might have the ability to connect with a local taxi service when passengers land so they can book a car.

5 Essential Strategies for Managing a Multi-Generational Workforce in Your Contact Center

Take a couple minutes today and simply look out onto the production floor of your contact center. Chances are pretty great that you are seeing a diverse group of people that span across several generations.  Read more!

Subscribe Today

Get the latest customer experience news and insights delivered to your inbox.