Today I want to talk to you a little but about the customer journey and customer experience.
And how important it is for your business that you have considered this. I am really focusing on here product-based businesses, ecommerce store and bricks and mortar stores.
The past few months I have bought a few things online (well more than a few…. but anyway, let’s not get into that) and now also starting to go into stores a little more and the importance of this has really hit home.
Every touchpoint that a customer has with your brand is crucial that it aligned and considered.
The customer journey starts from the first experience or exposure they have and ends with that last piece of communication you have with them (and really starts all over again).
You should be able to map out every instance touchpoint customer is exposed to your brand and or store and see if they match up.
The journey or map is visual representation of what is looks like and the customer experience (or CX you may see it referred as) is how that customer actually feels with that interaction
Great example from Bright Vessel here.
An example of a customer journey would be a customer comes across your brand on social media or from someone recommending it word of mouth. Maybe an influencer is wearing it.
They find your Instagram, look at your past posts, maybe stories, maybe your reels. Everything on there is part of the journey.
Do they then click on your bio links to go to your website?
That first step is important that it aligns.
Do they colour you use on Instagram, and the fonts, or the voice (copy) align and match up to the socials?
It should look similar and have a similar aesthetic.
Does your pop up have the same language and feel as your page? Do you keep consistent in your values?
The information and content you share your socials should also match what you have to offer on your website. I get so frustrated when I see something on Instagram and then click through to a website but have no idea where to find the item they have just shown on socials. The website is hard to navigate and there is no link to click sharing on the most recent posts.
Do you ensure there is consistency in the way you send out your welcome emails?
Or your welcome sequence (If you don’t have one of these tell me and I think. Will need a podcast on that too!!).
Emails you send customers should stay aligned to your brand, colours, fonts, the language you use. The style of photography. Even the filters you use can be important depending upon your brand.
Make sure you keep this similar to the rest of your writing (or I will refer to it as you copy and they
If someone actually orders from you -yay. Do you send a thank you or order confirmations? Is it neutral and automated or have you given it the personality of your brand?
Moving forward on the journey what happens if they have now placed an order. What information do you follow up with? Do you send tracking info and other emails? The more informed and automated these emails can be the better the customer experience as they have information and are informed and they won’t come back to you with questions along the way.
I hate it when I place an order and then hear nothing for a week!! I just want to know it is coming or delayed or being processed. Something!!!!
Now let’s talk about the actual delivery of their parcel. The unboxing. The opening of mail.
How special do you make it?
Do you add layers of excitement or surprise and delight your customers?
Are they elated when they open a parcel or flat?– like oh ok great I got my delivery? Not oooh what’s in here. How cool is that packaging.
Do you send a little note or a handwritten card? A postcard with a cute image they can keep? Or do you add layers of fun and anticipation?
I love the way Rachel Castle sends her packages. She includes a cute postcard, wraps with care and colour and a handwritten note. It does not have to be expensive. Can I stress that. It should on brand and appropriate to what you are selling but not expensive.
And it should align to your values. Is sustainability an important value to you then make sure your packaging reflects that.
One of my clients Stump and Co uses a gorgeous recycled wrap for her candles and ties it with a string and a piece of lavender. This reflects who she is perfectly and is in alignment. It also shows acre and consideration in the delivery. That after someone has given you the money, they still want to impress you and keep you as a customer.
Check out the video here!!
Another brand I have recently discovered is journ beauty.
They have the most beautiful packaging and layers of a handwritten note and dried rose petals within the parcel. you can even select you do not want them when you place your order. It is considered, thoughtful and memorable. And people will talk about!!
I have a huge list of the most gorgeous packaging options and unboxing imagery on my Pinterest page if you want to check out more examples.
Now I just want to mention also that I am not an advocate for heaps of packing or plastic etc. this is definitely something every brand whether it is a focus of your company or not should be looking at. Using biodegradable bags, reduced excess wrapping but what I am talking about does not have to be wasteful either. Things may be used for multi purposes.
The bedlinen company Kip and co years ago introduced a bag made from the same pattern to deliver their products in as opposed to using individual plastic-wrapped parcels. This bag could be used over and over again and I have seen so many people use them in a variety of ways (I even spotted dolls curtains from it a while ago so cute)). I reused some of mine for making face masks recently.
So, I have covered a part of the journey and how important it is to be aligned and track all the touchpoints a customer has with your brand up to delivery. Before I move onto actual bricks and mortar stores let’s talk about follow up emails to customers after purchase.
How easy do you make returns or at least share your policy on it. How easy is it for customers to get in touch with your customer service email if they need it?
Do you follow up with an automate email 2-3 weeks after delivery just to see how they are going? Depending upon product ask if they had any questions or even could they write a review for you. Stay in touch and don’t forget about them!!!
If you ask for imagery and photos of the whole unboxing experience you can then repost images. User generated content (#UGC) is gold in marketing as it shows someone else’s take on the product and how much they love it or how they use it in their home.
Encouraging it is vital!!
Now I am going to talk about bricks and mortar. Hopefully I won’t go on a rant here but I can tell you it does drive me crazy when the customer experience is not thought out or considered.
First of all, again it should match your digital presence (socials and online) and your physical store. The colours, signage and imagery should be similar.
I should be able to connect the two easily. Do you have different logos on your home page or socials but then a different sign /logo on your shop front?
When someone walks into your store how do they feel? Do they feel welcome? Does it have any atmosphere? Vibrant, flat, calming, full of energy?
Is there a scent or music what is the ambience?
How do the staff greet customers?
When I walk into a store and there is no music and the staff look like they are about to fall asleep I certainly do not want to stay in there long!!
I overhead a staff member talking to a customer yesterday and she was saying that you can’t use the online gift voucher in store. Seriously? You have to figure that stuff out. It should not be a different system or experience. Omnichannel retail means consistency and seamless transition between the different areas.
I went into another store and I had to ask the girl working there about 8 times the price of items. Nothing was marked!! It drove me crazy and I ended up leaving. Do not make it hard for your customers to buy things. That is just crazy approach.
I love this example of some gorgeous pricing for jewellery I spotted in Kitte store in Melbourne.
Make sure your signage and counter matches your store look and feel. Make sure your changerooms are well looked after and the lighting is good.
Make sure the way purchases are wrapped aligns with your online orders also. They should be cohesive.
I used to use my own wrapping paper at xmas (which I offered as a free download too) and also used either bright pink builders’ twine from Bunnings or I once found a huge pile of silver ribbon from an eco-recycle place which made the best shiny silver ribbon. I still have some today from 5 years ago!!!
Dos your bag have the logo or branding on it. Such a wasted opportunity of it doesn’t. Again, they do not need to be expensive but it is worth the expense if you want to showcase your name post purchase.
One of the last things I will talk about here today is your staff. Whether they are digital replying to customers complaints or enquiries or in store. Please make sure they are trained to reflect your brand values; they want to welcome customers and that they are well informed. That they know about the brands they sell, that they are keen to chat to customers and build relationships, that they are excited to reflect the values of the store and showcase your wares. That they want to get involved in building a bigger and stronger business.
It is so important they are one of the most visible points of the whole customer journey and experience.
And if the ones you currently have are not good at this either train them or move them on. The impact they can have on customer retention and lifetime value is too important.
Now I really hope this helps you think about and consider what you need to be doing in your business and how you can map out the customer journey and touchpoints and then how you can maybe improve on any or where you might have gaps right now.
All this comes back to the fact that sometimes it is not about just getting new customers but looking after those you already have or making the experience they have with your brand and even more rewarding and pleasurable one. Making your customers feel special, turning them into raving customers and brand ambassadors for you because they can’t help but tell someone else about the experience they had.
That is how you grow a business and develop long term loyal customers.
If you want to hear more make sure you listen to the latest podcast episode here.