5D strategy to create customer experience journey in the new normal – ETBrandEquity.com


Opinion: 5D Strategy to create Customer Experience Journey in the New Normal.

By Anupam Narula

Many companies across industries have embraced the idea of customer-centricity, many have yet to adapt to the reality of changing customer behavior. While Customer care has always been viewed purely as a cost center with a focus on executing efficiently, this leads to misspent of marketing dollars and loss in potential sales when the situation is such that companies cannot afford it. In most companies it has been observed that half of marketing spend is misaligned, going to the areas that do little to influence the customer experience journey (CXJ) and provide little help to sales people calling them.

Now the question arises, where does the company focus and where to spend?

The traditional funnel approach started with customers take in information, narrow down the choices, move through the funnel, and at the end they emerge with the one brand they chose to purchase. In current scenario, the funnel concept fails to capture all the touch points and key purchase factors resulting from the explosion of product choices and ever-growing number of digital modes, coupled with the emergence of an increasingly well-informed consumer.

Companies need to focus on deeper understanding of customer experience journey (CXJ) by discovering all the touchpoints of customer interactions and associated experiences which are key in shaping customer perceptions of the company and its products or services. In this approach the post-purchase phase is often as, or more, important than other steps along the way. When customer reaches a decision at the moment of purchase, the marketer’s work has just begun: the post purchase experience shapes their opinion for every subsequent decision in the category. The need now is to provide an effective after-sales experience that inspires trust, loyalty and retention in building long term customer relationships in the next normal.

In fact, when companies take time to learn from their customers what parts of the buying process and touchpoints are most important to them, they can make smarter, more informed decisions about where to allocate resources. Companies have to align marketing metrics with business priorities, favoring customer value creation and return on investment (ROI) as main priority in the new normal.

Here are five suggestions in the form of five D’s to help companies create meaningful customer experience journey (CXJ) that earn loyalty and trust in the new normal for customer retention.

1. Discover the Customer centric solutions.
2.Define an Omni channel strategy for customer engagement.
3. Design Customer Journey Maps.
4. Drive Customer adoption of Omni channels.
5. Deliver an excellent Customer experience through agile approach.

1. Discover the Customer centric solutions.

Companies must first understand what matters most to their customers before they can design an engaging customer experience. By involving the customers themselves to help design the experience process and using data across touchpoints to personalize the experience, companies can build a better customer experience journey (CXJ).

If brands want to stand out, marketers need to personalize their marketing. It will be more important for brands available across a broad spectrum of channels and marketers make sure that they communicate and deliver the way customers prefer in the consumer experience journey (CXJ). Ultimately, the primary goal is to enhance the user experience through a feedback-driven model that fosters higher engagement, greater loyalty and retention. CXJ that can excel at personalisation, reliability, transparency, empathy, and the quick resolution of requests can better differentiate that company from the competition.

The auto industry is one niche where, virtually every major manufacturer offers an opportunity to customize new cars, but Tesla and Volkswagen are really good examples. Using its online design tool, customers can start with a base model and customize almost every detail of their car. From drive system and interior layout to leather trim and audio capabilities, customers receive just about all the control they could desire.

The online e-commerce jewelry company ‘Diamondere’ offers a jewelry design service in which customer’s team up with an on-staff designer and move through the design process in a step-by-step fashion. The idea is to give customers the opportunity to end up with exactly the product they want.

Many insurance companies have made it possible for customers to design their own insurance policy, based on their coverage needs. Rates are calculated through a computer-model. This approach ensures that customers get exactly what they desire; hence, it leads to higher customer satisfaction and loyalty in the customer experience journey (CXJ).

2. Define an Omni channel strategy for customer engagement.

Companies seeking to keep pace with the changing consumer preferences must embark on an Omni channel transformation for customer engagement—one that views touchpoints not in isolation but as part of a seamless transitions and a consistent experience from one channel to the next.Customer experience journeys aren’t simple and linear but a series of handoffs between traditional and digital channels that can vary significantly by customer type, an effective strategy requires an in-depth understanding of what customers truly want?

Customers now have an unprecedented number of ways to engage with companies, from traditional channels to an ever-growing number of digital tools in the new normal. Many customers, for instance, use different channels to gather information on products and services and to make a final purchase. During the crises many organizations have responded quickly by investing in digital channels, frequently in an effort to replace traditional modes of engagement due to social distancing. The thinking is that as customers become more technologically savvy during this period, they will favor digital channels, significantly reducing the need for live agents and thus saving significant costs. While companies are tempted to focus on optimizing individual touchpoints, such targeted intervention can magnify variations in service and inconsistencies in other interactions. Moreover, no matter how successful specific digital tools are (for example, Smart chabots and other online self-service options), companies that lack visibility from which touchpoint customers are willing to interact will experience lower customer satisfaction which leads to higher churn rate in the CXJ.

To apply an Omni channel strategy to the CXJ, companies must understand customers by their digital behavior and offer the right channels that best align with the interests of each segment. Not all customers are the same, and it’s how they differ in their behavior and preferences particularly on digital channels. Customers who are more tech savvy, the goal might be to promote online self-service touchless technology (SSTT)and automated tools as a convenience channel for basic interaction such as inquiry, payments and installation updates. Critical requests to be handled through highly skilled live agent such as cancellation requests, complaints and return of products.

For Example the customer wants to buy a product online; he might begin by searching products and then reach to a live agent to get more information about stock availability etc. After comparing prices,he or she purchases the product online. Then he or she calls to a live agent to check on the order status in order to confirm the package’s delivery time. When the customer decides to exchange/return the product, it sets off an additional round of contact with a live agent to follow up in the process. Since movement between channels has become a common occurrence, managing this movement seamlessly and providing a consistent experience are paramount to customer satisfaction.

This in-depth consideration of CXJ can enable companies to determine what capabilities they need for seamless transitions across technology, people, and the organization.

3. Design Customer Journey Maps.

The customer journey map is the process by which a customer interacts with a company in order to achieve a goal. It visualizes the actions, thoughts, and emotions the customers experience while interacting with the company.This gives a wider lens into the lives of customers buying process and what their pain points are in real life. They are best used for addressing unmet customer needs before customers even know they exist.

Based on what the current customer experience is, company map out where it want to reach and then they layer on the factors responsible for delivering that experience, including people, policies, technologies, and processes. They are best used for identifying the root causes of current experience journeys and identifying the steps needed to attain desired future customer experience journeys.

Once the customer journey map is designed it doesn’t mean the work is done. The most important part of the process is to analyze the results. How many people are clicking to the company’s website but then closing out before making a purchase? How can company better support customers? These are some of the questions to be answered with the finished journey map.Analyzing the results can show that where customer needs are being unmet. By approaching this, the company can make appropriate changes to ensure that they can provide a valuable experience and make it clear that people can find solutions to their problems with company’s help. The whole exercise of mapping the customer journey remains hypothetical until the company tries it out itself.

The journey map should be a constant work-in-progress. Reviewing it on a monthly or quarterly basis will help company to identify gaps and opportunities for streamlining the customer experience journey further. The use of data analytics along with customer feedback can help to check for any further pain-points of customers and then to craft or re-craft processes and encounters to become more customer-centric.

For example the use of customer journey maps in real estate industry is shown below to develop the business.There are six distinct phases: Design, Financing, Construction, Leasing, Model home, and Completion and at every touchpoint the company has to create enlighten experience and ethical promises to turn prospect into a long-term, loyal customer.


The best infrastructural companies recognize the effect of customer journey maps as chance to proactively differentiate themselves from the competition and are able to sell the commercial and home spaces even during the pandemic. They will remain effective in the new normal to remind every real estate marketer’s that customers’ needs should always be kept at the forefront.

4. Drive Customer adoption of Omni channels.

Consumers are now using range of technologies and resources to research products and shop through variety of channels for a single purchase. These connected consumers can shop regardless of geography, store opening hours or their own location. Consumer buying process is therefore becoming truly mobile, allowing customers to shop anytime, anywhere, and making research, shopping and item collection regardless of channel used.

Customers’ experience journeys should be channel irrelevant in today’s scenario. In other words, each interaction they have with a company should be informed by previous interactions, regardless of the channel, function, or line of business involved. Such an Omni channel approach involves an implicit agreement between company and customer: companies benefit from a detailed, comprehensive view of customer preferences and habits, and customers in return expect a consistent experience across channels. To meet those expectations, the system should adapt itself to each customer’s history and context, and buying across multiple channels that should be straightforward and seamless to increase sales.

Omni channel adoption has the potential to reshape the buying process. It empowers the connected consumers by making it easier for them to access information and compare product details, by increasing choice, convenience and range of options for shopping.

In other words, a satisfying and seamless experience through each and every channel would help consumers to adopt, engage and drive conversions, customer loyalty and lifetime value.

5. Deliver an excellent Customer experience through agile approach.

The imperative to become more customer-centric, adapt to changing customer preferences and to deliver an excellent customer experience require companies to have agile approach.

These types of agile, data-driven activities must be supported by an organization that has right people, tools, and processes. Many companies will have some of the talent required,but not all, and internal people will inevitably face resistance when it comes to introducing lean tools and techniques into their sales, marketing, and IT processes. The most successful Omnichannel marketers have established centers of excellence in both analyticsand digital marketing, and they practice end-to-end management of micro solutions.

Indeed, the companies that ultimately succeed in Omni channel marketing and sales will likely resemble tech companies which effectively use big data and digital touchpoints to drive growth and reduce costs. These companies produce and manage a variety of content(catalogs, coupons, web pages, mobile apps, and user-generated content) in real time across multiple platforms to create breakthrough customer experiences. This means companies have to rethink the analytics that inform their segmentation strategies, the flow of the experiences they design,and the way they set up their internal operations for faster iteration and delivery of service.

For Example: IBM business designers apply design thinking to keep people at the center of their customer experience strategy. They imagine the experiences of the future and co-create customer and employee experiences that instill trust — from discovery to purchase and beyond. Frito-Lay,snack-industry leader came together with IBM designers and co-created two solutions built on the salesforce platform. “Snacks to You” is an advanced e-commerce solution, and “Sales Hub” streamlines frontline-employee delivery routes and provides drivers and managers with an efficient mobile app to improve performance and visibility. The IBM designers approach to digital transformation at Frito-Lay was successful because of the synergy and agility between the two partners for innovation and transformation of business.

Which stage has your company reached in adopting customer experience journey?

Customer expectations will continue to rise. Will your company be able to keep pace retaining customers in the next normal? If Not, Now is a time to look at that, and to factor the above five solutions to create meaningful CXJ into future customer offerings. Those companies that will be able to keep pace with the changing market dynamics will be rewarded by customer loyalty and trust and emerge as winners in the long run.

-The author is a professor of marketing at Amity School of Business, Amity University Noida, India.

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