Digital Customer Journeys: How to Create and Optimise Them

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You’ve put effort into the products and services you sell and paid for effective direct marketing to promote them, successfully building interest and bringing customers to your website. It’s now time for your digital customer journeys to take effect.

What happens once visitors land on your homepage or product page? Does the site’s design line up with your customers’ expectations? Do young, single customers see photos of families or vice versa? Are they shown a different product than the ad they clicked on advertised? A digital customer journey provides the answers to these questions and maps the path a visitor takes before conversion.

If you haven’t specifically tailored this journey it’s likely that they’ll leave your site before making a purchase, frustrated by site content and a customer journey that isn’t relevant to them.

A bad digital customer journey means leaving a lasting bad taste in the mouths of your customers.

With all the focus on getting as many impressions and pageviews as possible, it can be easy to forget that each visitor represents a unique person with unique interests and expectations.

And, with 80% of the buying process predicted to happen online, without even talking to another person, by 2020, making sure your digital customer journey is tailored to your customers will only become more important as your business evolves.

Customer journey mapping provides the key to converting these customers.

How to Solve Catastrophic Friction Points in the Digital Customer Journeys [PDF]

Digital Customer Journeys VoiceSage download pdf

How to Craft a Strategic Digital Customer Journeys

The digital customer journey identifies all the ways that customers interact with your digital business, from the browsing history that takes them to your site to their interactions with customer service to how they pay.

While the digital customer journey is the series of online steps taken by customers, your customer journey map is your way to plan, understand, and optimize their path to conversion.

Overall, you should strategically consider each stage of the overarching digital customer journey as follows:

  1. The Search Phase: your customers set out to find a solution to a problem or a need using Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.
  2. The Evaluation Phase: your customers assess and compare options to find the best one for them by consulting case studies, FAQ pages, pricing pages, or blog posts.
  3. The Experimentation Phase: your customers further explore what solution is worth their money through things like trial registration, product tours, or account creation.
  4. The Purchase Phase: your customers select the service or product that best fits their needs, proceeding to the cart page and checkout.
  5. The Retention Phase: your customers seek ongoing customer support and service when needed, receive your eNewsletters, visit your help pages, view specials, and check back to the site periodically.

To help them complete their journey, here are the six ways you can usher customers from the search phase to the retention phase by tailoring your digital customer journey and improving your customer experience.

1. Use Your Analytics to Identify Customer Segments

Your Google analytics reveal more than what pages get the most traffic. It shows you the demographic (age, gender, occupation, etc.), geographical (location), psychographic (values, lifestyle, interests, etc.), and behavioral (brand loyalty, product use, etc.) information that make up each unique group of your customer base.

Using this data, separate your customers into unique segments. This allows you to understand your key target audience; see what offers, products, messages, and content resonates best with them; determine how frequently each segment should be communicated with; and understand where each group needs the most contact in your sales funnel.

For instance, say your company makes deodorant.

Segmentation means that if a woman visits your site, she’s shown imagery of women using your product in a way that matches her lifestyle. But if a man visits your site, he’s shown a more masculine design featuring men he relates to advertising your product.

Each customer should have the question “so what does product/service x mean for me?” answered as soon as they land on your site, both implicitly through design and explicitly through the content they encounter on their digital customer journey.

Optimizely – a company that sells customer optimization software – uses customer segmentation to personalize the website experience of each business they work with. By detecting what company their visitors belong to, they can tailor their homepages to greet visitors by company name.

Optimizing Digital Journeys

The Optimizely homepage that general website visitors see when visiting their site. (Clearbit)

Optimizing Digital Journeys - Microsoft
The Optimizely homepage that Microsoft team members see when visiting their page, tailored based on customer segmentation and IP tracking. (Clearbit)

2. Create Customer Journey Maps for Each Segment

Each customer segment should experience your site differently to meet their unique needs and expectations.

Using the insight you gained from your analytics and customer segmentation, map out the steps each customer segment will take, from search to retention, along your sales funnel.

For most digital customers, their digital customer journey will look something like this:

  1. They discover your brand through online ads, Google, social media, or a blog mention.
  2. They visit your website to learn more.
  3. They compare your product based on customer reviews and third-party resources, like product reviews.
  4. They consider your product or service by further exploring your website, reading your FAQ and blog, and exploring product/service demos when possible.
  5. They commit to purchasing your product, select a product, and proceed to checkout.
  6. They receive follow-up from your company in the form of promotions and newsletters.
  7. They return for future needs.

At each stage, it’s important to think about the unique needs of each customer segment.

For instance, boomer and Generation X customers may be more prone to call customer support early on with their questions, whereas millennial customers are more likely to expect an immediate answer via chat when making buying decisions. Anticipating this and positioning your team to respond to these needs will allow you to respond promptly to the requests from different segments of customers, making them more likely to continue along the journey.

3. Identify the Gaps in Your Existing Digital Customer Journeys

It’s time again to consult your analytics. Where do your customers drop off the most? When switching devices, going between departments, or from channel to channel?

For 76% of customers, a bad customer experience – such as sub-par customer support – is grounds to stop doing business with a brand.

By identifying the key points where your customers abandon their journey, you can increase conversion rates by focusing on closing the gaps they encounter.

If you see that customers who initially found your site on their desktop devices bounce when they visit on mobile, that’s a clue to re-evaluate the user experience of your mobile site. If you see that customers make it all the way to the checkout process and then bounce halfway through, you can infer that your payment process is prohibitive and too cumbersome for your customers to work through for your product value.

These gaps also give you insight into when to reach out with support. Combined with the insights into each customer segment, you’re able to plan to engage each customer at the right time with the method they’re most receptive to.

Are you using SMS and Rich Media Messaging in your digital customer journeys? If not, did you know that we check our phone 85 times per day, on average?

See How VoiceSage Can Help You Close the Gap with Direct SMS & RMM.

4. Optimize Your Website to Fix User Experience Issues

While it’s important that your website responds to the needs of each customer segment, you must address any general usability issues to avoid chasing customers off across the board.

Slow load speeds, clunky navigation, poorly integrated features (think signup forms and surveys), hidden calls to action, or broken images and buttons will stop your customers in their tracks.

In fact, a 10 second wait on page load causes half of customers to give up and leave a website for good.

Thoroughly audit the site to make sure that your website doesn’t interrupt your customers’ journey down the funnel to purchase.

5. Focus on Your Customers Mid-Funnel

Too often, companies spend their time worrying about customer experiences at the top and bottom of the sales funnel, ignoring that most customers are more likely to drop off in the middle.

The middle of the funnel is where your customer hovers between awareness and taking action.

That’s when they most need you to act as an advisor about your product and service. If you wait to reach out or delay answering key questions, you risk losing their interest and business.

Instead, spend just as much energy as you do toward getting them to your site to ensuring they’re met with automated follow-up, informative resources, reviews from trusted influencers, and prompt responses from your customer service team (read: under 24 hours) when needed.

6. Stay with Customers Until the End of Their Digital Customer Journey

Your relationship with your customer isn’t over when they hit the order confirmation page. At least, not if you want repeat business and brand advocates.

If your customers are purchasing a service, follow up with your customer support team to make sure their user experience is a great one and answer any questions they may have as they get started.

If a customer ordered a product, ensure that their shipment arrives on time and in good condition by using a delivery logistics service. Follow up after they’ve had time to test it out, too.

After products are successfully delivered, foster a cross-channel digital customer journey by investing in mobile marketing that promotes relevant cross- and up-sell opportunities.

How VoiceSage Supports Better Customer Relationships

At VoiceSage, we know that the key to better outbound and inbound customer contact operations lies in the relationships you build along your digital customer journey.

With services like our direct to consumer SMS marketing, contact centre and customer care, and delivery and fulfillment communication services, we help you improve your productivity, customer satisfaction, and response rates.

Contact us today or book a demo to learn more about how VoiceSage can help you improve your customer relationships and bottom line.

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Published on: 22nd November 2018

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