Understanding customer needs has long been an essential requirement for commercial success and
becomes even more important as businesses move to digital marketplaces. When products and services
are sourced and supplied entirely electronically and there is no human contact, good design and
effective execution of all customer digital touch points is crucial. Having the best product is no longer
enough, you need to have the best customer experience or journey, here are five key factors you need to
- Because there are no human interventions in an electronic transaction, the mentality and mindsets is different from off-line transactions
- The quality and ease of the customers journey with yourselves has a direct correlation with how much money they are prepared to spend with you electronically
- Customer experience is individual and subjective, so all touchpoints need to be personalised and link smoothly to the next
- Understand that consumers have a choice at all touchpoints and once they leave, are unlikely to return
- If you want to be sure hat customers want, the best way is to ask them
Let’s look at each factor in more detail:
1. Taking humans out of the transaction
- Your business has succeeded because you have worked hard to know your customers.
- Knowing your digital customer needs a different approach
- Don’t let your deep understanding of what worked in the past blind you to what will work in the future
- Think through those electronic purchases that were particularly pleasing for you as a buyer, what made you pleased and therefore what will make an electronic customer of your company equally pleased
- What opportunities are there for you to add value and ensure retention electronically?
2. Understanding your customers journey
- Yesterdays and tomorrows customers won’t be the same, your propositions will change too
- You need to be clear who your customers are and how they fall into different groups or personas
- Put yourself in your customers position and see what you would want
- Map out the desired customer journey as a basis for a deep understanding of what has to be done to make it as good as possible – then use this as basis to design what's needed
3. Making it personal, here’s some of things to think about when designing the journey:
- How are customers made aware of your products and start interacting with your services?
- What will make them interested in them?
- Once they start interacting, how is the experience for them?
- How was it for you - how does the customer feel at the end, what did you do that your competitors didn’t or couldnt?
- How can you augment or add to this to ensure they but more and repeatedly?
4. Consumers have choice
- How can you ensure their choices favour your products and services?
- What are their potential exit points and how can you minimise them?
- How can you make sure it’s fast – no processing or screen refresh delays?
- How can you keep innovating, competitors catch up quickly?
- Price is important but good buying experience is a more useful for time poor buyers?
5. Ask the customer.
- We all think we know what our customers want and value, often we are wrong
- Asking customers what they want has two benefits, firstly you get it from the horses mouth and secondly you show you value their custom and opinions
- Asking the customer is a great first step, to get real value from this you need to do it lots of times, keep doing it and map out what this means for the customer journey
- Once you have mapped the customer journey, and shared it with your colleagues, you can then start to design the optimum journey
- When it needs testing, ask the customer!