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Top 5 Requirements For Your Digital Customer Journey Map

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Think about the last time you have made a purchase. Now consider all the steps - online and offline - that brought you from need to conversion (and over). That is your customer journey, a map that you can break up into many different pieces.

Customer experience looks like a puzzle, that you - as a business - can shape and analyze using a specific tool: the customer journey map. As the years pass by, new technologies change the perspective, and so the map needs to become more structured, to include the new touch points.

The map is not the result of the creativity of marketers. On the contrary, it draws a precise picture of the experience that customers actually live when connecting with a brand or product. Any single - even minor - change in the experience causes a profound change in the requisites of the customer journey map. 

Far from being little obvious, the digital transformation driven by the smartphone has completely disrupted the way we live, communicate, share and buy. The Internet-gone-mobile has laid the foundations for the dawn of a new generation of customers. The digital customers: empowered, demanding, and connected 24/7.

Disruptive technology trends continuously shuffle the cards on the table, sometimes confounding marketers and entrepreneurs. What is evident is that digital leaders still need (more than ever) the customer journey map to stay on course, but the map they need is not the one they used to rely on. 

A digital customer journey map is a complete framework that enables you to understand how clients and prospects connect with your brand and product. An illustration that shows all the different stages that your customers go through as they interact with you, from awareness, to consideration to purchase.

In the Age of the Customer, it is an incredible tool aimed at identifying areas for improvement and establishing the appropriate technology to enhance engagement and loyalty in the customer life cycle. Easier said than done. With empowered customers, old-style funnels won’t work anymore.

Although the map is still rooted in traditional marketing funnels, it is non-linear and made even more complex by a plethora of socioeconomic and behavioral factors. Thereby, there is no standard to create a digital journey map. You need to build - and get ready to rebuild - your own from scratch, shaping the experience from your customer's perspective.

The new customer journey must start from the following mandatory requirements:

CUSTOMER POV (Point of View) 

The best thing about customer journey mapping is that it puts customers first, describing not just the experience that a brand wants to provide, but the quality of the experience that customers actually perceive.

The digital journey has replaced the traditional one, melting online and offline in a continuous sequence of micro moments. That is why your only chance to understand and engage customers is to track the interactions as they live them, including those interactions and touch points out of your direct control (i.e. social media).

DATA-DRIVEN RESEARCH 

A great journey map is always rooted in data-driven research. You might already know your clients, but that all the surveys in this world will not ensure that you understand them. Only smart data can confirm or refute your assumptions about their behaviors or desires.

Today, technology gives you all the information needed to understand customers and markets at your fingertips. You just have to gather it across the different sources (user research, interviews, contextual inquiry, web analytics, sentiment analysis, social media monitoring), and finally dive through stats and facts to extract useful strategies from numbers.

MICRO MOMENTS OF TRUTH 

Mobile devices enable new ways to explore the world and do things. They help us to find all relevant information in the blink of an eye. As a result, we can buy whatever we want, whenever we need it, from an increasingly wide set of suppliers. This activates the multiplication of touch points and the dawn of micro moments.

The framework of your map should communicate the type, channel and order of touch points, including those out of your control. Of course, some interactions have more impact than others, and your map has to separate those essential micro moments of truth from those less impactful.

GOALS AND EMOTIONS 

There is no action that is not fueled by emotions and objectives. A proper map always shows goals at each stage of the process. That includes your business goal AND your customer’s goal. Keep in mind that objectives are never static: in an evolving scenario, they can rapidly change as the process unfolds.

The main cause behind this change is the heart, not the critical mind. You need to take into consideration the emotions that arise during the connection, not just the behaviors. Emotions are critical to any experience, and there is no possibility of customer engagement or loyalty if you ignore them.

TIMELINE AND METRICS

As said, no map lasts forever. Time is critical to transfer the value of digital customer experience. At the same time, mapping is useless without measurement. If you want to stay on top of your clients’ mind, start by refining and redefining your framework according to the evolution of technology.

In a world where mobile, proximity and real-time marketing constantly rewrite benchmarks, good metrics become the key to deliver a meaningful experience when and where it matters most.

The creation of a proper journey map is one of the blocks of the DCX 7-Steps Checklist crafted by Neosperience, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation. Download it here for free:

Download DCX 7-Steps Checklist

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in November 2014 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy with the latest trends and advancements of digital customer experience.

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Mobile Internet of Things Customer Journey

4 Steps To Build A Mobile Strategy For The Era Of Micro Moments

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One of the most important legacies of 2015 has been the conscience that mobile devices have completely disrupted the way we live, communicate and make purchases. In a business perspective, that means the evolution of what we call customer experience.

Big players have instantly acknowledged this epochal shift. Google, for its own nature, has been first in line, with the latest update of the search engine algorithm (nicknamed Mobilegeddon) and the steadfast belief in the emergence of Micro Moments.

How can you be relevant in a world where customers dictate the agenda? How can you build a memorable mobile strategy to engage customers when and where it matters most? How can you overcome the challenge of the digital transformation to be sure you offer the best customer experience?

The smartphone is acting as the main catalyst for the second Internet revolution: the first one cabled our houses and offices, the second one is connecting our entire existence by simply bringing the web in the palm of our hand.

Wherever we go and whatever we do, we are connected to the world - and therefore always traceable and trackable - thanks to devices (and mobile apps) that communicate among them, even when we do not see them at work or use them at all.

We do not look at this pervasiveness like a menace to our life. Why? Because “that little device is enabling new ways of doing and learning things. It’s helping us discover new ideas and new businesses. It’s helping us manage our to-dos, tackle our problems, and inspire our plans.” (Google)

If we had to choose three significant consequences of this second revolution, they would be the need for a new ‘mobile web’ strategy, the redefinition of the digital customer journey, and the emergence of the digital commerce.

  • Mobile Web Strategy - We check the phone on average 150 times a day. In 2015 the number of mobile searches has finally overpassed desktop ones, making the smartphone the primary door to access the Internet. The web goes mobile, customers go mobile, and your strategy must go mobile too. If you want to engage customers with tailored contents (personal and contextual), you should consider ‘mobile’ as your favorite channel, not just one channel among the others. 
  • Digital Customer Journey - 68 percent of customers say they check their phone within 15 minutes of waking up in the morning. 82 percent turn to their smartphone while they are in a store, to get info, suggestions and decide what to buy. The secret of the Micro Moments is: what used to be predictable sessions have been replaced by many fragmented interactions that occur instantaneously offline and online. This forces the redefinition of the customer journey.
  • Digital Commerce - 51 percent of customers have discovered a new company or product when conducting a search on their smartphone. The multiplication of touch points leads to the emergence of digital commerce, a combination that involves both physical and virtual elements, which might end up online or in store, combining e-commerce and retail store. The interaction results in a transaction of value where the customer experience becomes the real differentiator.

The idea is that the customer journey - thus the overall digital customer experience - today looks a lot different than it did only a few years ago. The increase in mobile sessions (and in the time spent using mobile devices) states that the smartphone is the prime suspect in this evolution:

Since we can take action on any need or curiosity at any time, the consumer decision journey has been fractured into hundreds of tiny decision-making moments at every stage of the funnel - from inspiring vacation plans to buying a new blender to learning how to install that new shelf.” (Google)

To succeed in this hyper-competitive mobile environment, you must learn to recognize the moments of truth, namely the Micro Moments that really matters (for your customers), those where critical purchase decisions are taken.

Your brand must be here, there and everywhere. Certainly, you have to be reachable whenever - and wherever - customers needs show up, to deliver contents and experiences that answer to those demands in real-time.

Micro Moments have become the new battleground for brands. Anything can happen anytime, anywhere. It may seem a maze, but where others see threats, digital leaders see the opportunities.

Google first highlighted the importance of these moments, and has developed a guide to help companies build experiences that are immediate, relevant and frictionless. ‘Micro Moments - Your Guide to Winning the Shift to Mobile’ is the main reference to understand how you can build a mobile strategy for the age of Micro Moments.

BE THERE

This is level zero in mobile marketing. If you do not have a strong presence across the various touch points of the customer journey, customers will never find you when they need you (and they are ready to take decisions). Google states that 65 percent of smartphone users when conducting a search on their smartphones, look for the most relevant information regardless of the company providing it. Being there in the critical micro moments (the ‘I-Want-To’ moments) is imperative to shape decisions and preferences.

BE USEFUL

Mobile is the perfect bridge to connect the offline life of customers with the online ecosystem. The ideal customer experience is not only memorable and distinctive, but it is also - and above all - useful. 51 percent of smartphone users have bought from a brand other than their intended one because the information provided was useful. To understand what contents you should deliver, you need to wear your customers’ hat and see the world (and your brand) the same way they do it. Mobile marketing is the field of action for personalization.

BE QUICK

Your ability to be there and to deliver useful contents are just two sides of the perfect triangle of mobile engagement. The third one, maybe the most relevant for your business transformation, is the ability to be quick and reach your customers in the exact moment they need it. We have said it already, content without context is often of little help. 60 percent of online users make purchase decisions more quickly now than they did a few years ago. Customers move at lightning speed, whether they are looking at your website or using your mobile app. Be quick or be dead.

PLUS: CONNECT THE DOTS

Last but not least, Google has one final advice for digital strategists: do not forget to connect the dots. Today, you do not have offline customers and online customers: you have digital customers that move from one context to the other in the blink of an eye. If you still think and act using silos and separated channels, you are doomed. Connect the dots across screens, across channels, across teams. 

 

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 8 Disruptive Trends That’ll Shape Business In The Next Years

To help you provide a strategic advantage to your organization, Neosperience has crafted the first DCX 7-Steps Checklist, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation. Download the free guide here:

Download DCX 7-Steps Checklist

 

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Innovation Content Marketing Mobile

8 Disruptive Trends That’ll Shape Business In The Next Years

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How will the digital customer experience evolve in the next years? What kind of technology will leave the deepest mark on customers’ life? How will this mark affect your business strategy?

Prediction is a delicate and dangerous art but, when it comes to predicting the future of customer experience, Brian Solis is a top choice. At the beginning of every year, in fact, the digital analyst takes a look at what lies ahead, trying to figure out which technology trends will lead the new wave of digital transformation.

Because it is focusing on customers, digital transformation is actually in its own way making businesses more human.” (Brian Solis)

Digital transformation is the main focus in Solis’ articles and blog posts, often connected with ‘Digital Darwinism’, one of the most important terms introduced by the author years ago. The idea is that human behaviors and technology evolve together, and businesses usually struggle to keep the pace.

When disruption happens, it always creates threats and opportunities; technology is the catalyst for the revolution of markets and society. Moreover, any technological advancement brings in the evolution of our behaviors (as human beings and customers), expectations and desires.

When you connect the dots, you realize that we have witnessed the emergence of a new generation of customers. They are empowered, demanding and submerged into a digital ecosystem. They are the digital customers.

The dawn of the digital customer is forcing a refocus towards the customer experience, and innovative companies are already working to integrate this fundamental asset into their digital strategy:

"50 percent of consumer product investments will be redirected to customer experience innovations by 2017." (Gartner)

With new technologies come new behaviors, and from new behaviors inevitably derives the evolution of the customer journey, that defies standards and unravels across different digital and physical touchpoints.

Now that customers show peculiar purchase paths and behaviors, you need to assume an approach of constant innovation if you want to engage and understand them.

Competing solely on products, price or features is not sufficient to gain a competitive edge. The new rules of engagement demand that you invest and work to deliver a memorable and unique digital customer experience.

We could not agree more with Brian Solis when he says that, in this time of Digital Darwinism, you only have three choices:

  • Business as usual - a refusal or denial of evolution, that will ultimately lead to irrelevancy.
  • Business for the moment - the choice of those that wait and then follow trends and behaviors.
  • Business for the future - the proactive proposition to improve and deliver a meaningful experience. 

The race to success has become a competition for relevance. This wind of digital transformation is changing priorities, even for traditional industries.

The primary reference for this article is the report titled “26 Disruptive & Technology Trends 2016 - 2018”. Brian Solis’ analysis includes socioeconomic and pure technological trends, both indissolubly correlated: technology is the main driver of social and economic disruption; at the same time, the evolution of behaviors and tastes forces tech innovation in turn.

We have chosen insights from both categories, creating our list of the top 8 disruptive trends that'll shape business in the next future.

THE NEW BRAND

What is the most critical element to define a successful brand? Not the product, not the legacy. Customer experience is the real brand differentiator in digital markets. The experience becomes a responsibility of the entire organization, not just a marketing tactic or a service department.  

ON-DEMAND ECONOMY

Since we have finally gone beyond the idea of sharing economy, you need to realize that the answer to customer’s demands is called ‘personalization’. The on-demand economy is based on the ability to deliver the right content when and where it matters most, across the different touch points of the customer journey.

DYNAMIC CUSTOMER JOURNEY

The mobile shift has brought one major consequence: customers now live online and offline at the same time. Thus, the customer journey cannot be reduced to a linear sequence of mandatory steps. It looks like a puzzle of micro moments, mostly lived through the mediation of the smartphone. This requires a new approach to marketing and engagement.

EMPATHY TRANSFORMATION

In the mid-term, none can escape the digital transformation. Every single company must face it, and every single industry will come out of it transformed. It might seem fearsome but, if you look at the whole picture, you will see the invaluable opportunity to realign your business model around what is really important: the customer and his/her experience.

CONVERSATIONAL COMMERCE

The focus on digital customer experience involves not just a business process. It implies a complete revision of your ‘modus operandi’, starting from customer’s point of view. In an increasingly automated ecosystem, customers demand a more human relationships with the brand in every moment of truth. Conversational Commerce is the result of the human algorithm of DCX.

THE NEW MOBILE WEB

The launch of the latest updates of Google’s search engine algorithm - exemplified by the Mobilegeddon - states a fact: the Internet is revolutionizing our life again, by simply coming out of our houses. Today, the smartphone is the main reference when customers have to decide what and where to buy, and the web has become more dynamic, personal, contextual and useful.

THE NEW MACHINE AGE

What is the purpose of machine learning? Is it just a matter of business efficiency and revenues? Amazon uses it to identify consumers’ preferences, but we will likely soon see an evolution in the use of intelligent machines. More than one evolution, in fact: behavioral analysis, artificial intelligence, predictive analysis, the Internet of Things, smart data.

VIRTUAL EXPERIENCE

The debate about the real value of virtual reality and augmented reality for marketing purposes is still alive, but the spread of VR devices suggests that there is still lot to explore. The entertainment industry might still be the reference market but customer experience is the most promising field. Gamification dynamics, employee engagement, loyalty programs are just few examples.

Here is the original SlideShare presentation by Brian Solis, if you want to know more about the topic.

 

To help you provide a strategic advantage to your organization, Neosperience has crafted the first DCX 7-Steps Checklist, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation. Download the free guide here:

Download DCX 7-Steps Checklist

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Innovation Neuromarketing Mobile

10 Ways The Internet Has Changed The Way We Live (And Do Business)

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The full-length title of this article should be 10 ways the Internet and the smartphone have changed the way we live - as humans and customers - and how businesses must evolve to improve their customer experience and survive the digital transformation.

We all recognize mobile technology as the real game-changer in the creation of the world as we experience it today. The hidden truth, though, is that there would be no smartphone without the Internet revolution. We are the result of this revolution.

We can start with one simple question: Can you imagine your life without the Internet? Just close your eyes for a moment and think about what life was before the web. You can barely remember that time if you were born and grew up before the Internet. If you are a digital native, this task is simply impossible.

Millennials - also known as digital customers - will never experience a world with no connectivity and mobile devices. Yes, there are still (small) areas of our planet not wired and cabled but - at least for us living in developed countries - it is hard to imagine a life before Google, Amazon, Apple or Facebook.

If you search on Google (where else!), you will find tons of experiments or researches about life without the Internet. They all come down to one single definitive truth: "I cannot even imagine my life without the Internet or the smartphone. It is an integral part of who I am." (Gallup)

The Internet is still relatively young (it just celebrated its 26th birthday in 2015) and yet the connectivity has already produced long-lasting effects. It all started with a cable plugged into the phone line, and now we possess the entire world in the palm of our hand.

There is one exact moment that changed things forever, and that was when the Internet came out of our home, held inside a small box called smartphone.

According to the Internet Trends Report 2015 by Mary Meeker, we have reached 2.8 billion connected people in the world. In other words, almost 40% of the worldwide population is now online, at home and on mobile devices.

Every single activity of our daily life is influenced by connected existence:

  • More than 27 million pieces of content are shared every day;
  • More than 600 million websites are online;
  • More than 500 million Tweets are sent every day,
  • More than 30 billion pieces of content are shared on Facebook each month;
  • More than 5 billion items have been sold on Amazon in 2014, with 40% of those sold by third-party sellers.

What is true for people is, even more, true for organizations. The way you do business today is completely different from the best practices taken for granted only a decade ago. All certainties suddenly disappeared, washed away from a stream of connectivity. The Internet has brought treats but also huge opportunities, for those able to respond timely and unlock the power of emerging technologies.

The years pass by, but the rules of the competition remain the same: you succeed only if you can understand what is going on, if you adapt to the evolution of technology and behaviors, and if you answer to the unprecedented demands of new customers. Business and technology go hand in hand, and so does the customer experience.

Any analysis of how life has changed may look like a trip down memory lane, but it also helps you understand where we are all headed for as human beings, customers, and organizations. So, here are the 10 ways the Internet has changed (and will keep changing) the way we live.

RESEARCH

Where do you go when you are collecting information about a product or looking for an answer? Google, of course. The Internet has become the primary source of information, and search engines the main door to access it. Thanks to the smartphone, you have the complete knowledge in your pocket. Education, essays, product comparison, self-improvement tips, technical details, diets, do it yourself, lolcats, the Internet has it all. If you are a brand, you need to be there with meaningful contents.

COMMUNICATION

Do you still remember phone calls and letters? We have witnessed a complex evolution in the way we connect with other people and with companies. First came the chat rooms and forums, then - especially after the spread of smartphones - social networks and online communities. Face to face communication is still important but we increasingly rely on wide circles of strangers to decide what to do and what to buy. In the mobile era, communication is about building networks.

SHOPPING

The success of Amazon, eBay, and online marketplaces says that visiting the physical location of a store is no longer mandatory if you want to make a purchase. Shopping for a particular item looks like a journey across channels: you can see a product in the store, search for information online, compare prices between retailers, make the purchase in-app and pick it up at the store. The disruption of the retail industry always implies the renovation of the retail customer experience.

TRAVELS

Not so long ago, the essence of travel was the idea of discovery. Is it still? Today, you can know everything about a place even before leaving home. And planning has never been so easy and cheap: You have websites for information, mobile apps for real-time discount and offers, virtual reality for a full 3D immersion. Even when you are there, mobile technology is there for you: Uber for affordable transfers, Airbnb for cheap stays, Google Maps to find the way, TripAdvisors for gourmet restaurants. Who needs travel agencies anymore?

ENTERTAINMENT

Remember when you had to visit the video store to rent a VHS, hoping that the movie you were looking for was not taken already? That is the past. With the Internet, you have everything you need in one place, and rarely you need something physical (i.e. a Dvd) to enjoy it. With the emergence of smart TVs and the new generation of gaming consoles, all you need is a connection, be it movie streaming (Netflix), music (Spotify), the sports experience or on-demand personalized contents.

FINANCIAL SERVICES

Once upon a time, people had to visit the bank to check the most basic financial operations. That was before the dawn of online banking, before the disintermediation. Before the ‘Uberization’ of retail banking. Technology trends have forced traditional institutions to face the challenge of evolution, transforming generic accounts into actual human beings. What they must do now is to stop focusing on products and money and start caring about the retail banking customer experience. In the name of innovation (mobile wallets, one-touch payments) and personalization.

RELATIONSHIPS

You do not need to know someone to love him/her. You do not need to feel the pressure of playing all your cards in a few minutes while waiting for the bus. Now you can find the love your life - or at least meet new friends - by simply downloading an app and filling out a profile. Be it dating or building professional relationships, there is a place for you online. This evolution has consequences for businesses: people now rely on a wider circle of trust, other people they barely know that can influence their decisions, one way or another.  

HEALTHCARE

In the Internet age, everyone is a doctor. While you should not trust what you read online, when you feel symptoms of some sort, it is undeniable that technology has changed the medical experience and the relationship between doctors and patients. On the one hand we have the risk of misleading information; on the other hand, the emerging awareness that mobile devices can improve the quality of life and help prevent diseases. Wearables technology is the main driver of the self-tracking obsession; connected with health platforms (HealthKit), they will shape the future of healthcare.

MARKETING

When the way we communicate changes, marketing techniques change accordingly. If you try to employ traditional marketing ideas to today’s world, you will soon recognize they are outdated and inefficient. The reason is simple: customers have changed, their purchase behavior have changed. Even when they are in the store, they go online to compare products. The success of proximity marketing is due to the need (for companies) to engage customers with context aware contents, and delight them with meaningful and personalized experiences.

EMPLOYMENT

Do you really need to spend eight hours a day in the office to be productive? Twenty years ago, this questions made no sense at all. Of course, you needed to be there. Today things are different, and it is all about the Internet. The evolution of web-based tools and the growth of cloud services have made the physical co-presence unnecessary. We live and work in an ecosystem of constant connectivity, and this is bringing employers and governments to a complete change of perspective, in the name of flexibility. To improve quality of life and cut inefficiency.

Now it is your turn. Tell us how the Internet has changed the way you live and do business.

To help you provide a strategic advantage to your organization, Neosperience has crafted the first DCX 7-Steps Checklist, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation. Download the free guide here:

Download DCX 7-Steps Checklist

 

Topics: Innovation Content Marketing Inbound Marketing Mobile Internet of Things