Consumers today hold more power than ever before. With social media and online reviews only a click away, your brand reputation is always on display. Post 3 in our Seven Steps to CX Nirvana series argues that only your customer determines your brand value.
Who determines your brand’s true value in the marketplace? Is it debated and decided around a conference table? Diagrammed on a whiteboard, and eventually signed off by key executives? Or neatly captured in a PowerPoint presentation?
If so, I propose a radically different approach. Consider this simple equation: your brand’s value is precisely equal to your customer’s perception of your brand’s value. And increasingly, this perception is shaped by their experiences and outcomes at every stage of the customer journey.
If you want to boost your value, you must dissect and analyze customer experiences from initial awareness, to purchase and well beyond. And one of the best tools for improving your CX across the board is a customer journey map.
Map the Journey, and Start with the Customer
To see where you’re exceeding expectations, and where you’re falling short, a visual representation of the journey is essential. Be careful, though. Your journey map must capture data based on actual customer feedback. Never make the mistake of substituting your experience for their experience.
No matter how well you understand your business and product, you are not your customer. You need theirfeedback on every touch point, on every channel. This means both quantitative and qualitative data, gathered from a variety of sources:
- chat logs
- support logs and emails
- social media mentions
Once you’ve compiled the data, you’ll find there’s no shortage of user-friendly templates and platforms available to represent it. Whatever software solution you choose, remember that your goal should be clarity and accuracy. To bring a return on investment, the journey map must help you identify areas for improvement and differentiation.
The Customer Journey is Complex
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if capturing your customer journey were a simple, linear progression? Like a train leaving the station and moving predictably through all the stops to its final destination?
Unfortunately, the process is usually messier and far more complex. Your customer might move back and forth between steps, and possibly even skip some. Consider all the different ways consumers can first encounter your brand: word-of-mouth, search engine, ads, social media, and the list goes on. For each of these steps, you must document what you’re doing and how it’s working, and what your competitors are doing at the same stage.
Creating a useful journey map will not be accomplished in a week’s time. The process requires significant, but manageable, investment in data collection, analysis, and presentation.
And in my experience, it’s well worth the effort. You’ll discover new opportunities to compete and win, beyond product or price.
Reality Check: Does Your Brand’s Value Live Up to Your Promise?
The only useful answer to this question will come from your customers. In theory, it’s a simple concept. But sometimes the simplest lessons, like this one, are the hardest to put into practice.
It’s frightening to admit that we are not in control of our brand. Instead, our customers are in the driver’s seat. We can influence the relationship, and their perception, but we can’t control it.
And how do we influence it? By committing to customer-centricity at every stage of the purchasing journey.
Sometimes you can benefit from an outside perspective. I help organizations like yours leverage CX to turn customers into fans and advocates. Interested in a consultation? Let’s talk.