Consumer Experience: a methodology beyond the hype
24 February 2016
The customer experience is one of the primary motives that influences us when making consumption decisions. Many recently-published studies predict that in 2020, the experience will be a more determinant factor than price when choosing one brand over another.
What fascinates us when we say “buy something”?
When we talk about the Consumer Experience, other terms like Customer Journey and Buyer Persona come up more and more intensely. A simple look at the evolution of the Google search volume of these terms over the last decade gives us an idea of their increasingly relative importance when it’s time to define a brand of product’s customer experience strategy.
Before going on to detail a methodology that helps us design a successful customer experience, we deem it important to explain how these three components relate and interact with each other. Let’s start by defining the meaning of all three of them.
Consumer Experience (CX)
It’s the result of the interaction between a consumer and an organization, its brand, and its products during the period the relationship remains active. The communication includes all phases of the relationship from consideration, attraction, and discovery up to conversion, loyalty, and recommendation about the purchase or the use of the product or service. The measurement and success or failure of the customer experience gets performed on the individual experience and the different touchpoints about the person’s expectations in each phase.
Customer Journey (CJ)
It’s the methodology that studies what the consumer or client experience is like, during each of the different stages that occur concerning the interactions between an individual and a brand, product, or service. If the communication is active from the beginning, this probably leads to consideration, conversion, and the subsequent recommendation and in the case of the contrary, the consumer will either disdain or reject everything that comes from the brand and will not consider its products or services as options for consumption. The map that traces the individual’s route and the different phases and brand touchpoints are what we call Customer Journey. Therefore, the Customer Journey is an element within the client experience.
Buyer Persona (BP)
The Customer Journey isn’t the same for everyone, depending on the person’s individual profile, their purchase intentions, their life moments, emotions, the relationship and touchpoints map will vary considerably. Therefore, it’s necessary to stage these customer profiles as archetypes to represent the different types of users that could end up deciding to use the brand, product, or service in a similar way.
The Buyer Personas should have correlating links with market segments, the qualitative aspects of the Buyer Personas should be based on elements that will make them at least representative of the particular segments. Today, the segmentation variables depend on the channels, display, and programmatic advertising that bring us segments. These segments based on interest and digital habits, email marketing by open and read-through rates based on content and other, along with social media platforms offering micro-segmentation never before evaluated. All these factors are why Buyer Personas should group all these singularities in staged models of people, where the sociodemographic variables become secondary and purchase intentions, life moments, digital habits, and personal motivations gain importance.
We’ve already defined the interrelationship between these concepts and how they affect the customer experience, now let’s go for it.
How does a Consumer Experience redesign project get managed?
Redesigning a customer experience strategy requires, in the first place, time, effort, and resources to work with. Then that’s followed by an intention and motivation to redesign the product offering and a rethought value proposition as a company, financial means that let us integrate new points of contact and interaction and a lot (a lot) of creativity.
Above all, and most importantly, is to work with the aim of attracting new audiences (Buyer Personas), increase the ROI of the existing consumers, and lengthen the Customer Lifetime Value of those that have already tried us.
Like good consultants, the jumping off point for any project is to understand “why we’re here.” And despite being a term already ubiquitous for consultants, agencies, and media outlets, many companies have not internalized the importance of changing their focus when they develop new products and/or services. Understanding the customer experience is understanding the business opportunities an enterprise can have and identify the path to create value for their prospective clients. The customer experience, hand in hand with the Digital Transformation should be a priority for companies’ management.
The beginning phases of our vision, on top of a base of integrating data, technology, and creativity have been necessary do create the Good Rebels Customer Experience Methodology.
Step 1: Business and project objectives
Why should we improve or reformulate the client experience? There’s always a unique and reliable answer to this question and is the final goal of this project:
- Align the project’s adoption by all business areas
- Ensure that the result has implications that provide real value to the company.
Once we understand the project’s origins and an overall vision of its future, we get to following the company’s raison d’être in depth: people.
Step 2: Segmentation
A truly #PeopleFirst focus makes it that we differentiate who are our clients from those who aren’t and are out of our radar. We start with the information we have available (segmentation by channel, Business Intelligence data, listening, monitoring, customer insights in points of contact, and ad-hoc research) to identify the profiles we have and the ones we’re lacking.
Step 3: Definition of the Buyer Persona
Segmentation brings us an understanding of the general customer universe we do and do not possess, but to get under this classification and apply it in service and product design, marketing, etc., we need to select the most strategic archetypes for the business. In this phase, we create Buyer Personas that will be thanks to the qualitative dissection at the center of all actions.
Step 4: Customer Journey Mapping
Finally! Once we know who we want to focus on, we should be aware of everything about him/her. We must extend our knowledge of the Buyer Personas from all phases in the customer experience (awareness, consideration, conversion, and loyalty) and through all online and offline channels so not only the experience is seamless but also our knowledge. Here we draw the points of contact with these people and the ones we don’t have.
Step 5: Lean Tactical Plan (Quick Wins)
In both the Buyer Persona definition phase and the mapping of identified touchpoints, we come up with ideas for improvement and design new contact prototypes, we create them, prototype them, and launch them.
Step 6: Measurement
Everything that can be measured will be measured. Why? Because if not, we’re not generating nor evaluating the incremental value of our customers or the ability to attract new ones. Working to improve or incorporate new customer experience touchpoints reduces opportunity costs, or rather, reducing the churn (abandonment costs) and we increase conversion.
Step 7: A constant improvement cycle
We’ve identified the touchpoints we should improve, are we doing it? We now have knowledge that motivates our consumers, do we take advantage of it? In the improvement cycle, we follow the initiatives we activate and develop new strategies to keep attracting, loving, and making our customers (or potential customers) loyal.
In the entire process we consider our five customer experience design pillars:
- Who: the buyers, who are we gearing towards?
- Why: What will our motivations for interacting with a brand or not be
- When: In what moment can an interaction be provoked?; What are the timeframes we should consider?
- How: How critical are the identified points of contact?
- What: What to do to make them better?, Can they be improved, do we get rid of them, or do we create new ones?
And all this, for what?
Improving the customer experience and count on seven areas of improvement:
1. Increase customer satisfaction
2. Identify new channels and moments to provoke interest in the brand and its final objectives.
3. Identify new business opportunities, trends, and community niches.
4. Detect exact moments and interaction trends and understand what information and services should intervene in every moment.
5. Improve and detect new Customer Insights according to the new Buyer Personas.
6. Increase email marketing process efficiencies and create new inputs for implementing marketing automation processes.
7. Create new segments and sociological drivers for advertising campaigns, personalize offers, and content.
Ready for the ride?