By: Franklin Goldberg, HarperCollins
November 10, 2017
Many of the world’s most successful companies share a common focus that drives everything they do—they obsess over customers. Apple, Amazon, Adobe, Microsoft—they’re all devoted to being customer-centric.
- Steve Jobs said, “You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology—not the other way around.”
- Amazon’s mission statement says, “Our vision is to be Earth’s most customer centric company.”
- Adobe’s CEO, Shantanu Narayen said, “Customer experience is all or nothing, protecting the status quo is no longer an option.”
- In “Hit Refresh,” Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, wrote this about their pursuit to rediscover Microsoft’s soul: “First, we needed to obsess about our customers.”
Businesses that optimize the customer experience are seeing radical growth. That begs the question, if the secret to success is no secret at all, why isn’t everyone obsessing over customers?
Many say they are customer-centric but clearly aren’t. Some put a lot of effort into forcing customer experience management (CXM) into the mix of other priorities vying for their attention. But few companies succeed in creating a culture driven by authentic obsession over customers.
It sounds so simple but it’s actually very complex. To be customer-centric, we first need to be acquainted with their entire experience. We can’t optimize what we aren’t intimately familiar with.
We need to know every touch-point and pain-point. We need to walk in their shoes, closely analyzing each step of their journey to reveal the areas with the greatest potential to bring immediate, radical growth. Then we start over and do it again, day after day.
Obsessing over customers is more than just a mantra—it’s a way of doing business and customer journey mapping (CJM) is how we get it done.
Customer Journey Stages
Most customer journey maps factor in between four and seven stages. At HarperCollins Christian Publishing (HCCP), our marketing team uses a four-stage map that starts with awareness, leads to consideration, then moves to conversion and ends in advocacy.
But any multi-stage CJM framework can be effective if it addresses every customer touch-point.
There are many types of touch-points and they differ from one industry to another. Some are digital and some are physical but Social Media is one of the most powerful and effective digital examples that impacts each of the four CJM stages.
Awareness: There are few channels as effective as social media for creating awareness. With the ability to segment and target the 3 billion customers (nearly half the world) who are engaging with social media, it has to be part of the awareness stage.
Consideration: Social media is also instrumental in the consideration phase of a CJM campaign. At HCCP, this is where we focus most of our attention. We create an average of 10 touch-points, each one progressively building upon the last. The impulse buy is dying and “surgical” shoppers are on the rise so this second stage is necessary to help customers investigate whether our product will solve their problem and meet their need.
The type of touch-points we create for the consideration stage include interactive media, infographics, social quizzes, videos, digital samplers and more. The key is to have each step go into a little more depth until we’re ready to call for a sale.
Conversion: To use Gary Vaynerchuk’s vernacular, the consideration stage is where we jab, jab, jab. The conversion stage is where we land a right hook. Social media plays an important role at this point as well. With Facebook Pixels, we retarget qualified leads with ads that offer incentives to buy now.
Advocacy: At HCCP, we need to constantly remind ourselves that the customer journey doesn’t end with a purchase. We want to produce loyal customers who love our products, use them often, return for more and tell others about them.
The Importance of Agility
One of the most powerful benefits of integrating social media into CJM is that our strategies can be split-tested and monitored in real time for maximum agility. In the first few weeks of a campaign, we track data on a daily and even hourly basis.
We can’t afford to wait for a postmortem meeting to learn what didn’t work and why. We adapt on the fly so we can later prove how we hit our goals instead of explaining why we didn’t.
Our final customer journey map always looks different than the original one and that’s OK because we’re constantly learning.
It’s difficult to imagine running a CJM campaign without social media. Other channels play important roles but social media has been instrumental in our product marketing, customer lifecycle management and brand management campaigns.
Franklin Goldberg is a senior director of marketing with HarperCollins. For more tips about customer journey mapping’s impact on customer experience and employee experience, subscribe to Franklin’s blog, JourneyMappingWorks.com.
Follow Franklin: @JMappingWorks