The Key to CX Success? Planning the Entire Customer Journey

CX Customer Journey

CMSWire, the leading publication covering digital customer experience, recently featured insights from Kerri Drozd, Senior Vice President of Strategy at Hero Digital, in their article: The Key to CX Success? Planning the Entire Customer Journey

Written by Nathan Eddy, this article highlights how a customer experience (CX) strategy must look beyond standard journey maps to uncover deeper insights. Check out the full article below.

A customer experience (CX) strategy must look beyond standard journey maps to uncover deeper insights.

According to a recent survey from Gartner, nearly a third of marketing departments end journey maps with purchase, lead acquisition, initial transaction or delivery of the product or service.

By crafting an incomplete CX journey map, they fail to uncover the opportunities influencing customer satisfaction, loyalty and long-term advocacy, explained Augie Ray, VP analyst at Gartner.

“In fact,” he added, “key driver analysis of our study data found that CX programs that exceed management expectations are 2.3 times more likely to have CX efforts in marketing not primarily focused on the path to purchase but on the journey after acquisition.”

The easy answer for how organizations can extend their CX strategy to the portions of the journey after acquisition is to develop personas for customers and not just prospects, said Ray.

“Focus on understanding what drives satisfaction and loyalty — not just why and how they buy — and map the customers’ desired journeys that lead from acquisition to a state of significant satisfaction, strong loyalty and vocal brand advocacy.”

CMOs Must Take Lead in Redefining CX

The more complex answer, however, has more to do with “why” than “how,” Ray noted.

In other words, why do marketing teams seeking to improve customer experience so often fail to focus on the customer’s end-to-end journey?

“For CMOs to take the lead in improving their brands’ end-to-end customer experience, it starts with evaluating the goals of the marketing department and the expectations for marketing employees,” Ray said.

If the marketing organization focuses entirely or mostly on measures oriented to the marketing funnel — metrics like unaided awareness, consideration, inbound traffic and conversion rate — then it will be difficult for a marketing-led CX program to place emphasis on the customer journey after acquisition.

“In marketing organizations that get CX right, they balance those acquisition-oriented measures with customer-centric ones, such as measures of customer satisfaction, retention rate, organic growth, referral value, likelihood to recommend and customer lifetime value,” Ray explained.

Redefining Conversion to Build Customer Journey Momentum

Kerri Drozd, senior vice president of Strategy at Hero Digital, explained that restricting the focus only on path to purchase limits an organization’s perspective.

“It presumes the transaction is all that matters, not repeat purchase, or engagement, other value creating moments,” she said. “This thinking is short-sighted and undifferentiated.”

Focusing only on the path to purchase takes away from crucial moments to create a holistic 1:1 experience with customers that spurs them to become lifelong advocates.

Drozd explained a strong CX relationship has many entry points, routes within and worthwhile destinations.

“Even from the purchase point, your customer may also become a brand advocate, frequent purchaser, customer testing the waters at first before bigger investment, a member of your future team or any number of potential scenarios,” she said. “Any one of these is worth expanding your view to have broader goals along an ongoing journey.”

Drozd added that organizations can extend their CX strategies after the acquisition by redefining conversion as moments along a journey that builds momentum.

“By avoiding termination point thinking, your experience can expand dramatically with relative ease,” she said. “When you deliver on the value people find in you and celebrate the gift of their time, effort and money, you extend the impact of the investment you’re making in the relationship.”

To put this into action, create traction leading up to and around the purchase moment. This could be any number of messages, but keep the focus on the relationship, not just the transaction.

“With these, keep a memorable cadence to draw the customer in and reinforce the relationship,” said Drozd. “When you have rapport with your customer it’s easier to extend the relationship beyond the first acquisition.”

NPS and Other Metrics Boost CX Investment Buy-In

Ray said Gartner’s research indicates that CMOs who can demonstrate the financial value associated with more satisfied, loyal customers are more likely to secure the buy-in and budget to improve the brand’s CX.

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