No organisation ever converts all its prospects or retains all its customers. We all lose business. The question is how much effort should we put into trying to win it back? What actions should we take in rescuing customer journeys that are reaching a dead end?
I read a great blog post yesterday from Wootric on mapping customer journeys. The post highlights the benefits of doing mapping. It also gives useful examples of different ways to map journeys: linearly, using charts, by department, by need and using emotions.
The one important element that was missing, especially from the emotion and need maps, was rescuing customer journeys that are leading nowhere.
Business can be lost at any stage during a customer journey, for example:
- an interested contact gets distracted and goes cold
- a hot lead prefers a competitive offer
- problems with a product make a customer angry
- at renewal time, a customer received a better offer for switching to another supplier.
So we need to map different paths for rescuing customer journeys as shown on the diagram below:
The black line and crosses indicate an ideal journey. This is a smooth progression of increasingly positive emotions. The prospect starts with disinterest since she is not aware of our brand, then moves through interest and satisfaction to delight and trust as she gains experience of our products and services.
Of course, the normal journey rarely goes so smoothly and every map will include actions to avoid customers become stuck at a certain stage. There will be actions to listen, entertain, inform, question and reassure and make offers as customer emotions wobble up and down.
But what if there is a dramatic change of emotion? What happens if a contact become uninterested, a prospect favours a competitor or a customer becones angry or disillusioned?
The diagram shows three example paths for rescuing customer journey:
- The green path: the prospective customer loses interest. The rescue action here might be to ask her what benefit she is looking for from a solution like ours, then to direct her towards material such as testimonials demonstrating that this benefit can be achieved
- The purple path: here the customer is angry due to some fault with our product. So the rescue action might be to assign a specific customer service agent to deal with them. The agent needs to have the authority to solve the problems. Note that a successful resolution can often make the customer more satisfied than she was before. She now trusts that we will solve any future problems that occur.
- The red path: a case might be where a renewal is due and the customer is no longer sure she needs the product. A rescue action could investigate what use is being made of the product and provide help for using it more fully in future.
As the examples show, the dramatic change of emotion may require rescue actions that are costly and require significant effort; Will they be worth it?
We have to decide on a case by case basis. The analysis should always take into account the value built up in the customer journey. Even in the early stages it can be more cost-effective to nurture a contact who has shown interest rather than try to identify a new one. As the journey progresses, relationships and understanding develop between us and the customer, increasing the value. If the journey progresses to a sale, then customer satisfaction has a huge value in terms of our reputation and our repeat business.
When implementing a marketing dashboard for clients, I often use the analogy of a car dashboard. While this is useful, it should not be taken as an exact parallel, since a marketing dashboard has to show clearly and briefly four key things: the status of marketing efforts, the progress they have made, the direction of travel and the ETA – expected time of arrival or how long until objectives are reached.
A car dashboard shows
- speed of travel: the marketing equivalent of speed of progress is important to know
- mileage: for marketing, this translates to the progress made
- RPM: how hard the engine is working, or in marketing terms, how much effort we are putting in to get the results
- fuel gauge: just as on a journey it is essential to know how much is left in the tank, so we need to know the resources left for marketing campaigns
- hazard lights: it is vital to know if anything is going wrong or will soon need fixing, whether this is in a car or in marketing activity
Marketing dashboards also need to show the route ahead and the distance or time to reach the destination (goals). This is the equivalent of the GPS screen (and looking through the windscreen) on a car.
You also need to track what is going on all around you – checking on what customers are actually experiencing,what is happening in the market and what your competitors are doing – just as in a car, you would use the rear-view and side mirrors as well as looking ahead to get a picture of what other cars are doing and of changing road conditions.
So the key elements of a marketing dashboard are:
- your goals – the destination you have tapped into your marketing GPS
- progress in the last period: key measurements such a leads, sales, profit which show you how fast you are going
- forecasts: showing your ETA to reach the goals
- recent activities: the marketing RPM, a measure of the effort going in to achieve the results
- planned activities: this together with future resources and available budget,tells you what is in the tank
- where problems are emerging, timelines are slipping and forecasts being missed: your hazard lights
- customer experience: tuning in to the sound of the car, the smoothness of the ride
- major changes in the market, industry or underlying technology: the all-round view
What measures you choose for each of these areas, depends on your organisation and its current position.
The skills lie firstly in identifying the elements that you can change to make the most difference to the results and secondly in designing it so that the key measures are easy to read and warning lights show critical situations.
This continues my series of articles discussing the synergies and differences between marketing and learning. Both marketing and learning are having to adapt to today’s interconnected, always-on, social world. Here we examine the need to be involved with micro-moments throughout the whole customer or learner journey.
Historically there have been three main “moments of truth” (MOT) where marketing and sales are involved in the customer journey. The first moment of truth (FMOT) is where the customer first saw or looked at the product or service, after they had decided they were interested in buying. The second (SMOT) where they purchased and started to use it. Finally the third moment (TMOT), where they gave feedback on their experience. This is shown in the first diagram below.
In 2011 Google introduced idea of ZMOT (Zero Moment of Truth). This reflects how customers now react when they first think about something new – either to address a pressing need or with the dream of something better or more exciting. More and more often people will go online to ask “How can I …?” or “What is available to…?”. Marketers must be ready with answers at this zero moment of truth. And they must then accompany the customers on their journey, providing the appropriate content for the micro-moments when additional questions crop up (“Will it work in my situation?”, “Is it compatible with…?”).
The second diagram shows the new marketing involvement – from the very beginning of the journey through the decision process all the way to the aimed-for loyalty at the end. Companies that do not engage with potential customers right from the beginning find that by the decision point they are probably already out of consideration. Those who have engaged have already demonstrated their value to the customer.
The journey of a learner has different stages. Traditionally L&D and training companies were called in to provide training in support of some change. The change might have affected an individual such as the induction of a new hire or a change of job or responsibility; or there might have been a change effecting a large group or the whole company e.g. the launch of a new product, introduction of new software, or enhanced compliance requirements. With the focus on training courses, learning after the event was often left unstructured and supported only by some generalised user guides. This journey is shown below:
Marketing has to adapt to users finding out for themselves online and via social media. Similarly L&D and learning providers have to help learners who expect to be able to find out answers at the point of need and whose go-to resource are the mobile phone and internet. Happily, this learner demand fits in with the increased use of learning methods such as 70:20:10 and the emphasis on performance support.
So as users are demanding more support at the point of need, learning providers are putting in place learning tools that are available as tasks are being done. They are also providing bite-sized learning modules that can be consumed when the learner has some time.
Micro-moments for learners occur when they come across a problem in their everyday work. Learners want to consult a support community or find help that is specific to their situation – and they expect a rapid answer. They also want to use spare moments, maybe while commuting, to learn something to help them for tasks that are coming up.
Learning resources need to be provided to help coach people who are putting new skills into practice. Then at the point of need, they need support for their situation, from guides or from communities of use. Providing these learning resources will allow them to gain expertise more quickly. The added benefit is that they will then be able to share their expertise with the community and so help others on their learning journey. The final diagram shows the constant involvement in the learner journey.
Google has identified key elements for being involved in the customer journey. Two of them apply just as strongly for learning:
- Be present in the moments that matter
- Have something relevant or engaging to say
This is the challenge for marketing and learning. The rewards, however, are great, in being able to understand and satisfy customer and learner needs. This allows solutions to be tailored to their needs – building loyalty in customers and expertise in learners.
In the last week I have come across two great examples of companies taking simple steps to engage well with their customers.
Firstly I bought a PowerAdd external battery backup for my laptop. The laptop does not have an exchangeable battery (at least not without taking it apart) and on days when I was using it intensively away from external power, I was sometimes running out of charge. The PowerAdd PIlotPro that I purchased provides enough power to recharge my battery and so see me easily through the day. It also comes with adaptors and settings for many different types of laptops as well as USB output, so it is really flexible – and it looks good.
The simple step that PowerAdd took to engage me as a customer was to put in a small folded piece of card. On one side there is a smiley face and on the other an unhappy face, with a short message of the reverse of each face. On the reverse of the smiley face is a simple message to say that the company is pleased I am happy and a request to share a review. On the reverse of the unhappy face is the message that their support team is ready to support me with details of different ways I can contact them. The messages are shown on the image at the top of this page.
What is brilliant is how simply the message is delivered: Happy – please share. Unhappy – here’s how we can help.
Many other companies try to achieve the same effect, but don’t execute as well – the messages are hidden in lots of documentation, or delivered at the wrong time, or swamped with questions that the company would like you to answer. With PowerAdd the messages were obvious, quick to read and delivered at the time I was trying out the device.
The other recent example, was on the invoice of a company, CDRC Roofing, who did some repairs to my roof. The invoice arrived with a request to review them via Checkatrade – a simple form to fill in was enclosed with postage pre-paid – or else to like them on Facebook. Again, asking me for a review is a simple thing to do, but so few traders I use bother to do this.
Those who have just purchased are the most important people for suppliers to engage with. But so often we either forget to do so or do not work hard enough to make feedback easy. Satisfied customers are our best source of future sales – via recommendations, referrals or follow on sales. If they are dissatisfied, then the sooner we know, the easier it is to correct mistakes and turn them into satisfied customers.
The three key steps to engaging new customers shown in these two examples are:
- Make it clear how they can get support if they have any issues
- Ask them to recommend, refer or review
- Keep it simple
Starting with these, you can then build up further conversations with the customer over time.