Customer Journeys Are Becoming Increasingly Complex

It used to be fairly easy for companies to track their customers. The customers likely discovered the brand through a commercial or print ad, went to the store to find what they needed and made the purchase. The journey from finding out about a company to making a purchase was a relatively straight line.

Today’s customer journeys are much more complex with multiple lines zigzagging about to move customers from discovery to the final purchase. And even after the purchase, their journey is still continuing. With numerous touchpoints and channels, brands need to have a strong understanding of their customers to track their journeys and offer personalized service and recommendations.  

Create A Consistent Experience

One of the biggest challenges of these new customer journeys is providing a consistent and seamless experience across all channels. Customers should know what to expect no matter how they interact with a brand. However, with more channels, it gets crowded and becomes difficult to stay consistent. Customers often have different results or experiences depending on if they interact with a company in store versus online or if they talk to a contact center employee versus a chatbot.

Along with that, the internal challenge is to break down silos for a true omnichannel experience. Customers can tell when each department of a company works independently of others because they find themselves repeating information multiple times or being told different things depending on who they talk to. Organizations need to break down those internal silos and unite all departments to provide a consistent, high-quality experience. That comes from unifying data and using consistent technology across the entire organization.

It can be challenging and overwhelming to restructure internally or go through a digital transformation, but it’s a crucial investment in customers. All companies need to update how they approach customer experience to ensure they are providing frictionless solutions for customers at every touchpoint. For some companies, those updates will be minimal, but other companies may need a total internal restructure and a renewed commitment to digital solutions. Companies that lead in customer experience have broken down silos and gone through digital transformations to provide seamless and innovative digital solutions.

Leverage Technology

Companies should always be evolving their customer experiences. Trends and technology are constantly changing, and the best customer experiences reflect and stay ahead of those changes. As the customer journey grows in complexity and adds more options and touchpoints, an outdated system can be clunky and frustrating.

A smooth customer journey comes from leveraging new technology like AI, automation and big data. Data has the power to provide more insights and personalization for customers than ever before, and AI and automation open doors for new ways to connect with customers. Companies shouldn’t be afraid of these new technologies; instead, they should look for creative applications that set the tone for their industries and build lasting connections with customers.  

Provide Personalized Experiences

Modern customers crave and expect personalization. They are faced with personalized recommendations every day in the shows they watch and the music they listen to. It’s become part of everyday life, and all companies need to learn how to leverage data to create customized experiences. This is both a huge opportunity and challenge. Personalization isn’t easy, but when done well, it can lead to huge gains in customer experience.

The key to using data to drive personalization is to focus on quality of data, not quantity. Looking at all the available data on customers can be overwhelming and counterproductive. Instead, find the data that is the most important and use that to create a great experience. Create virtual profiles of each customer that include information like their preferences and history with the company so that all employees can understand each customer. To be effective, data for personalization needs to be available to human employees for real connections and also used by AI and machines for personalization in automated interactions.  

The customer journey is much more complex than it used to be. But the reasons for that complexity, including new technology and data, also provide opportunities to connect with customers and deliver seamless, personalized experiences. To navigate the complicated customer journey, leverage data and technology and create innovative solutions.

Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist, keynote speaker and the author of the bestselling book The Customer Of The Future.

September 21, 2020

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