There is no denying that the customer journey has changed since the dawn of modern technology. The real question is, has the customer journey been rerouted or derailed?!
The customer journey was once a straight path with a beginning, middle, and end. Now though, there is no longer one journey to making a purchase but several! Blue Nile Research tells us that 76% of B2B buyers are using at least 3 different channels to research a potential purchase. The top three channels used include search engines, brand websites, and customer review or case study pages. The modern customer journey is anything but predictable. In fact, some argue that the customer journey has become so random that it has ceased to exist at all. This news might seem discouraging, but take heart! We have a plan to get you tracking with your consumer.
First of all, if you want a scapegoat for the shift of the customer journey- blame Amazon. Amazon is who every business should aspire to be, as Andres Nicholls muses on the Prophet Blog. It has been the pinnacle of excellent customer service, anticipates the needs of the modern consumer, and outshines any and all competition consistently. Nicholls remarks, “If people can buy a mountain bike that is perfectly sized for them in just one click, why can’t their bank, doctor or airline offer the same level of service?” In 2013, Amazon introduced Click and Collect locations in the UK, which took Amazon to a whole new level of visibility and convenience for those who turned up their noses at “the gamble of online shopping” and their current customer fan base, by providing the option to order items online and pick them up at nearby locations.
Obviously not every business has the manpower that Amazon has at its disposal, and thus the capability to deliver spectacular results and maintain excellent service. But as all businesses know, without risk there is no reward. So setting attainable goals of being more accessible and versatile should be on every business’s list of goals.
So how do you take your business to the next level and meet customers along their paths to purchasing in your industry?
- Relationship– Who is your customer? Your customers are more knowledgeable, confident, and skeptical than they were before the digital age, but that doesn’t mean they are incapable of loyalty to your business. It just means it might take more effort. Building good customer relationships, both in store and online, will result in positive customer reviews and testimonials- which studies show are almost 12x more trusted than product descriptions.
- Delivery– you will derail your goals if you do not properly scale your products and services to tailor the size and capacity of your business. Rather than rolling out an entirely new line of products or list of services at one time, start small. Take one new product and find a way to test it with a group of volunteer customers. Once rolled out, continue talking to your customers to make changes and solidify the impact of that one product or service.
- Visibility– Be where your customer is. Find out what they’re doing online. To help you out we’ve done some of the research for you; we have determined that out of the 45% of contractors visit social media sites, here are the most common ones they are using:
- 94% use Facebook
- 43% use LinkedIn
- 17.5% use Twitter
Setting up an account on any of these platforms is free, but can require a good deal of time and maintenance in order to be productive. Fear not, we are here to help. Our social media specialists can manage your social presence for you through our service GoSocial.
In conclusion, I would argue that the customer journey has not derailed, but that the target is moving, and we’ve got to find a way to calculate our shot. If you would like assistance in uncovering where your particular customer is looking, or what platforms you might better reach them, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.