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10 steps to the optimal customer journey

Digitization makes closer customer ties possible on all channels. But how do you build a consistent digital customer journey? In order to remain competitive, there are 10 points to keep in mind.

Optimizing existing business processes and establishing new processes go hand in hand with digitization. However, as a result of further technical development and networking via the Internet, digitization has become increasingly dynamic and relevant. Traditional business models are being replaced by developments from innovative startups and are changing the requirements for a successful customer journey.

 

Customers must be offered a special experience in all phases of customer interaction. Fast and smooth service, personalized content, and a consistent experience across all channels are a must here. Digitization helps to align offerings and provide customers with an end-to-end experience.

The four phases of the customer journey

A total of four phases of the customer journey can be used to illustrate the changed purchasing process and the associated starting points for digitization:

 

☛ 1. Awareness

Whereas customers used to become aware of products through advertisements in print media, TV commercials, and billboards, the importance of the Internet has now increased enormously. A top ranking in search engine queries, personalized online advertising and content marketing are now top priorities for attracting customers. Recommendations from social networks generate further momentum.

 

☛ 2. Interest

Whereas in the past customers had to obtain information directly in the store, nowadays product videos on YouTube, customer reviews on online forums or social networks offer the opportunity to exchange information. When making a decision, consumers are relying more and more on the recommendations of acquaintances and friends from their social networks and less on marketing messages.

 

☛ 3. Purchase

Since the customer expects to be able to buy the product directly and immediately in the age of online stores and e-commerce, companies should simplify transactions. There is a clear advantage in directing customers from the social networks to the offer or a purchase option on each channel. If the customer wants to buy the product locally, innovative digital companies proactively offer an appointment at the nearest retailer. By networking with the online store and its history, the retailer can respond to the customer’s needs in a special way.

☛ 4. Service

Post-purchase fulfillment processes must also be integrated into the digital process chain and be transparent. Delivery delays are no longer accepted these days. To increase customer loyalty and reduce costs, self-service options are now also available.

 

The trend is toward virtual consulting, which supports customers in solving service requests through the use of natural language processing, text analytics or predictive analytics. But personal interaction with an advisor via chat or telephone must also be possible.

10 steps to an optimal digital customer journey

In order to remain competitive, this results in 10 stepts that companies should consider:

 

1. Always-online-customers
Since many customers have permanent access to the Internet, companies need to interact with customers across all channels, at all times and in real time. Depending on the size of the company, this is not always manageable. Chatbots can help here and, for example, set up automated processes that intercept the initial contact.

2. Mobile
Consumers are almost always online with mobile devices, generating around 50 percent of Internet traffic with smartphones and tablets.

 

3. Internet of Things
Connected devices are becoming a new channel to collect data. One example is data from connected cars for car insurance.

 

4. Understanding customer needs
Customers leave behind masses of data on digital channels and touchpoints, from which insights into customer needs can be gained.

Consumers are online everywhere and at all times via smartphone and tablet (source: iStock/ ipopba)

5. Personalization
Offers must be individually tailored to the customer’s needs and adaptable in real time. The customer is no longer an anonymous part of a group, but an individual.

 

6. Cross-channel interactions
The experience and interaction must be consistent across all channels. Offers via the mobile app, online store, or in-store must be aligned.

 

7. Trust
Security of customer data and transparency about usage are top priorities so as not to risk a loss of trust.

 

8. Keep it simple
Self-service offerings must be easy to use and intuitive.

 

9. New digital processes
Companies should not focus on optimizing familiar processes, but should establish new digital processes.

 

10. Digitization is a matter for the boss
The organizational structure of a company must also be adapted as part of the digital transformation. This is the responsibility of the CEO or the new position of CDO (Chief Digital Officer).

Technical requirements

The basis is a high-performance infrastructure, for example through a cloud solution, the use of CRM solutions and the combination of concepts for process automation. It should also be possible to use all these technologies on a mobile basis. In addition, companies should invest in digital marketing on social platforms.

 

“If these technical issues are taken into account, companies can offer their customers an optimized experience along the digital customer journey and remain competitive in the long term,” says Hannes Beierlein, CCO & Founder of the Evernine Group.

Source cover: iStock / olm26250