We tend to think of a customer’s path to purchase in a linear path—from awareness to consideration to decision—but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
There are a few major reasons why thinking of the customer journey in a linear fashion doesn’t work anymore:
- The customer isn’t looking for you, she’s searching for a solution to her problem. And one of her other problems may trump that particular search at any time.
- Increased competition means that she may be able to find a solution to her problem that isn’t even in the same industry as you are. She can get to work in a Tesla or riding the bus…
- Omnichannel consumers have incredibly short attention spans for companies that aren’t willing to meet them (and exceed their expectations) everywhere.
Think about the customer journey in terms of taking a road trip in a car.
In linear model, you’ll set your destination—let’s say Las Vegas—and plan your route, your rest stops, and hit the road with a map that shows you exactly how to get there.
The model that more accurately represents the behavior of the modern consumer looks quite different. Instead of leaving on the road trip with a specific destination (Las Vegas) in mind, the new goal for the road trip is to have fun. You could drive to Vegas, Lake Tahoe, Austin, or a plethora of other destinations to satisfy that goal. Since you don’t know where you end up, you can’t plan your route and rest stops, so you’ll take the options that look the best as you drive past them. If there are appealing distractions along the way that seem like fun, you might even veer off the path and try something new. The destination that appears to satisfy your goal and does the best job helping you get there is where you’ll end up.
If you’re still thinking about your customer journey in terms of a line on a map, you can throw the map out the window!
The omnichannel consumer (which is basically 99% of Americans now) expectations for your brand to be everywhere, and also to know where they are and present the message that suits their prospecting and/or buying stage.
It’s not like any of us walk around with a list of expectations for these kinds of things, either—we prove them through our actions.
Complicated? Sure. Doable? Yes, with the right technology in place.
In this post, we’ll look at how digitalization can not only streamline processes for your organization, but provide a slicker omnichannel experience for your customers.
The Role Of Technology In Customer Journeys
Digital technology gives organizations power to add new moments and touchpoints and remove barriers, which streamlines the experience.
A fully functional technology stack can go a long way in guiding your potential customers toward the action you’d like them to take. While no amount of technology will make up for a faulty digital transformation strategy, the tech details are nonetheless incredibly important.
Here are a few major areas to look at.
Mobile—Research, Opt-in, and Payments
Let’s start with the obvious—you need a robust mobile presence and capabilities to meet the expectations of the modern consumer. People expect that no matter what type of device they are using or what type of request they have, the digital presence of your organization should be able to deliver.
This means that while doing research via mobile, including scanning social media for brand presence and social proof, he’ll expect to be able to read product documentation and reviews.
Or, if he’s ready to buy while on the subway, you need a checkout process that works well on a mobile device.
Lastly, if he’s an existing customer and needs support or wants to provide feedback, that needs to be accessible on his phone.
These mobile systems manifest themselves differently depending on your niche, but the basics are mobile website, app, social media, and live chat. With a mobile suite like that, organizations are much better prepared to be present in the situation when the customer needs them.
If somebody is willing to engage with your organization and you know the logical next step, don’t let that moment pass by—strike while the iron is hot!
One example we like to use at HelloSign is the process of signing contracts and onboarding clients.
When a new client signs a contract, she’s excited—she’s ready to start receiving the benefit she paid for. Why make her wait for somebody to receive her contract, review it, then send out the onboarding materials? With HelloWorks, you’re able to use certain triggers (a signed contract) to set off a chain of workflows that would normally have to be done manually.
Additionally, because her unique data isn’t trapped in a PDF, you’re able to provide customized workflows based on exactly what she needs with no waiting. That’s one way to provide an excellent customer experience right out of the gate.
Customer relationship management software is like automated workflows on steroids—you can automate certain things, but you’re able to do so on a more personalized level because of the data you’re tracking at the contact level.
So if the record in your CRM is a prospect, the web pages she is visiting can help you tailor your email marketing efforts.
If she’s already a customer but isn’t using some of the new features you just launched, you can have your customer success team reach out and see if she wants a tutorial.
Or, if she’s a happy and engaged customer, it might be a good opportunity to let her know about your affiliate program where she can earn some money by distributing a link and signing up her colleagues.
Because of the context, all of these tactics increase the experience for the customer while also allowing the business to reach its goals. None of this is possible with a deep relationship between the customer journey and the technology that’s able to recognize different buyer stages, be everywhere, and deliver the proper experience.
Effective marriage of technology and understanding of our customers is baked into everything we do at HelloSign. If you’d like to learn more about the application of digital transformation in the workplace, we suggest you check out our Digital Strength program.