What is the one thing all businesses have in common? They each have customers who have goals that require solutions.
In our case, those clients vary in inspiring ranges — from early education to UC Berkeley Executive Education and cancer research to the League of Women Voters — who have specialized needs that require extraordinarily different solutions.
The larger question is, how do we successfully build trust with each of our clients throughout their journey so we can produce results that allow us to remain partners?
The customer journey begins with the simple equation that you have something your prospective clients want. A product. A service. Expertise. Something they cannot do on their own.
The engagement may begin with a web search, a recommendation, or a referral from an existing client.
Now that you have them in front of you, how are you going to close the gap between a website view and contact?
How are you going to close the even larger gap between contact and conversion?
They have to trust you. They have to be inspired by your solutions. They have to know that you are going to solve their problem in the best way possible.
Empower Your Customers By Painting A Full Picture of Unique Solutions
Identifying your customer’s desired outcome may seem like the easy part. You need a new website? We design and develop websites! Let’s get started!
Obviously, it is not that simple.
What do your customers want to be able to do with their websites?
More importantly, what do their customers want to be able to do with their websites?
Encouraging clients to review their own customers’ journeys energizes their involvement in the web design and development process.
Then we can ask: What problem are we solving? How are we going to achieve the desired outcome? How will we measure that outcome?
We do not want to create your website. We want to design and initiate scalable and robust solutions, and that begins with finding tangible marketing opportunities that leverage what is unique about your business.
Building A Positive Customer Journey Starts With Fulfilling An Emotion
Empowering your customers by providing a positive journey is not simply a good idea — it is the only idea. In a world of high-tech solutions and richly competitive landscapes, building a seamless and meaningful customer experience is a must.
And no matter what type of industry you specialize in, here is what they want:
- Communicative Connections
Identifying with your clients requires focused listening. Understanding their pain points, and what they expect from partnering with you, can go a long way in systematically synthesizing what we learn from their experience.
One easy way to understand your client’s overall needs is to write down the steps of their experience with your company.
Remember, you are trying to develop insight into each customer’s journey so you can improve and create consistent and scalable success going forward.
- Are there identifiable patterns that emerge from two different journeys? Are those patterns producing a positive or negative experience?
- Are all of the steps in their journey necessary? Or is there an innovative way to combine segments?
- How can this seemingly ordinary experience, one your company provides every day, become extraordinary?
There will be areas where your company can improve the customer journey, so it is important to be honest about the process.
From social media to texting and chatbots to live customer service, it is important that your company is using the communication channels that your clients prefer. This will differ, of course, based on your target audience.
Any time you ask a customer to step outside of their preferred communication channel, s/he is going to feel undervalued by the experience.
Even though it may not be terribly inconvenient to receive an email instead of a text message, the immediate feeling of displeasure your customer experiences — real or perceived — can lead to a feeling of diminished appreciation. This can be avoided completely by understanding how they want to communicate, and providing that exact resource.
When clients know that you are listening, they will feel secure in your ability to provide a solution.
Speed refers to several areas of the customer journey, and can include website load times, communication response times, and, in the more literal sense, how quickly you are going to solve their problem.
No matter what industry you are in, there are times when quick fixes are possible and rush fees make the world go around a little faster.
Other times, there are only 24 hours in a day, and everyone involved is human. It’s important to remind ourselves of those facts from time to time.
That means creating realistic timelines that can be achieved successfully.
Do not overpromise results for the sake of hitting superhero status.
Instead, effectively manage timelines and proactively search for ways to provide insight that will expedite the process where possible.
Much like speed, security is attained on several levels.
First, how safe does your client feel in your hands? Can they count on you to deliver the final product or service they need?
Next, how safe is the solution you are providing? If your client needs an e-commerce website, will their customers be able to shop safely?
Finally, can they count on you to be there if they experience any trouble with the solution you have provided?
Each customer’s journey extends far past the deliverable stage. They must feel secure in the fact that you are going to be there long after their solution is in place.
Everyone is Different: Understand What Each Customer’s Journey Should Feel Like
Working with different types of clients does more than add variety to the creative process. It requires us to dig deep, and determine the context of a campaign, gather input, and analyze and evaluate unique solutions, Starting With Comprehensive User Research.
Each client’s customer journey is going to feel very different, and their expectations must be met with experience and achievement. Clients like to be treated as individuals, and each person’s knowledge and communication requirements will differ.
At DrupalCon 2019, we discussed how we rely on our ability to identify what the customer wants to achieve in order to create trusted client connections through No Longer Lost In Translation.
If you do not deliver on their expectations, it is impossible to build trust. And the lack of trust will significantly decrease the chances of your company delivering a positive experience.
Creating Emotional Connections With Your Customers Enhances Their Journeys
When your company becomes a reliable source of proven knowledge for your customers it allows you to create an emotional connection that builds trust and confidence.
- Observe the value of their product or service
- Acknowledge their challenges and past experiences
- Provide genuine insight into what makes their audience different and celebrate their diversity
- Be invested
Connecting with your clients emotionally allows you to provide trusted advice and solutions, and not just for your current project, but going forward.
While new business is the lifeblood of most companies and their marketing efforts, it is often more important to get your current audience to appreciate your expertise, recommendations, and services, so they become long-term, repeat clients.
When you create an emotional connection with your customers, they become client advocates and will continue to turn to you for help and even refer you to other potential clients.
What If I Have Already Lost A Customer Somewhere Throughout The Journey?
Sometimes the only way we know how to fix a problem is by getting hurt by its existence. Negative customer experiences should emerge as a priority for companies large and small. After all, a single hiccup in the customer journey can send your potential client directly into the arms of your competitors.
Even if it is too late to get them back, it is important that you seek feedback about why they left. Brace yourself for the response, because it could be something very small that you find amazingly simple to fix. If that is true, good. Get started to avoid allowing it to happen again.
The hardest part about asking for feedback is actually using the information you receive to better your service going forward.
Get Involved In Your Customers’ Journeys And Stay Focused On Success
Understanding your customers’ journeys requires care and attention. Do not take the specifics of your marketing, onboarding process, or conversion points for granted. Understand the nuances associated with your client contacts to ensure the process is seamless from their end. And when it is not, adjust the formula.
There is always room for improvement in any customer journey, whether it is how you make contact or how you produce solutions. Keeping an open mind will allow you to improve the process going forward.
Listen to your clients. Their positive journey is also your path to success.
Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash