How CRM Automates the Delivery of Customer Experiences
Every customer interaction tests your brand's promise and results in a customer experience that builds upon the customers memory in a way that either supports or undermines your brand. That memory is more vivid to the customer and telling of your brand than all your advertising, marketing and promotion combined. Customer experience research clearly shows that successive positive customer experiences correlate to customer loyalty, repeat purchases and referrals, while as few as 1 to 2 negative customer experiences push customers to try your competitors.
Customer-centric businesses understand the importance of satisfying customers at every interaction. Best in class customer-centric businesses research, map and automate these customer interactions in order to deliver consistent, predictable, rewarding and memorable customer experiences.
Customer journeys are varied, fluid and often unpredictable. Businesses can get quickly overwhelmed if trying to identify all the possible customer journeys. Fortunately, that's not necessary. IBMs Institute for Business Value research shows that 20% of customer journeys often account for up to 70-80% of total occurrences. Initially focusing on that 20%, or prioritizing customer interactions based on frequency and impact, can quickly identify the biggest upside opportunities to satisfy customers.
The research also shows that most businesses can identify over 80% of customer interactions with 4 to 5 personas and journey maps. This combination of personas and journey maps shows how to satisfy the majority of customer interactions across channels and customer purchase cycle phases (shown below in image) with relevant, personalized, contextual and predictive customer experiences.
Customer Journey Maps — From Creation to Automation
Creating journey maps is the first step in understanding and facilitating customer journeys. But by themselves, journey maps fail to deliver or automate customer interactions. To advance from visual depiction to customer satisfaction requires technology integration at each customer touch point in the journey.
To illustrate how CRM software can be leveraged to automate and satisfy customer goals, I've created a sample journey map for a single persona that shows how CRM technology can be applied at the intersections of purchase cycle phases and channels.
Properly designed customer experiences satisfy customer objectives with fast, accurate and easy responses.
In this journey map, the initial contact originates from a search engine result, which leads the prospect to visit the company website. The below sequence of events shows how the CRM software interacts with the visitor's browsing behaviors to begin to understand the visitor's interest and objective.
|Customer Objective: The prospect wants to identify products of interest and learn about the company's services, pricing, support and more|
The CRM system creates an anonymous lead record and records the visitor's digital footprints in order to automatically detect buyer interests (based on what website pages were visited and revisited, how much time was spent on those pages, any keywords entered into the Search function, etc.) Based on visitor browsing behaviors, the system may dynamically render suggested website content, prompt the visitor with a relevant offer or ask the visitor to opt-in to a nurture campaign. In this sample scenario, the CRM system offers a newsletter subscription, however, the prospect declines. Behind the scenes, the CRM system measures website content and offer effectiveness (using A/B or multivariate testing) as part of a continuous process improvement program. At the end of this interaction, the CRM system has created a Lead record for the anonymous visitor that will be recalled if the visitor returns.
|Customer Objective: The prospect wants more detailed information on a particular product that she read about in the prior visit|
When the visitor returns to the website to gather more information about a product or service that caught her interest, the CRM system recognizes the anonymous visitor, appends the visitor's new browsing behaviors to the prior visit and presents an offer, via a landing page, for more detailed product information. The visitor completes the landing page offer, downloads the product content, and subscribes to the newsletter.
|Customer Objective: Relevant, personalized and contextual customer engagement|
Based upon visitor's website browsing behavior, the CRM system determines the prospect's primary interest and inserts the prospect into a relevant newsletter nurture campaign. The CRM system sends the first nurture campaign flight 24 hours after newsletter sign-up. Subsequent nurture campaign emails are sent based on a schedule and with progressive messaging aligned to prospect's buy cycle stage. CRM tracks the contact's interactions with company content in order to gauge the buyer's interest and measure content effectiveness.
|Customer Objective: Prospect calls company to inquire about a new product introduction described in the newsletter|
When the prospect reaches out to the company to learn more about a new product described in the newsletter, Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) recognizes the prospect's telephone number and auto-displays the CRM record with prospect's prior digital footprints on the Agent's desktop. The Agent may use scripts, dialogues or a knowledgebase search to find and deliver information or answers regarding the new product. The Agent responds to the prospect's question, and then a CRM Activity record is posted to the contact profile.
In this scenario the prospect called the company on the phone. However, other automated technologies such as chatbot, email to case, intelligent email response or a self-service Portal are alternative technologies that could have been used.
|Customer Objective: Prospect visits social network|
In this interaction, the prospect goes to Facebook to check out comments and reviews on the company. Upon Facebook login, a company advertisement for the product the prospect is interested in appears on the prospect's wall. The prospect clicks the ad and is taken to company's Facebook page. The prospect Likes the page which permits subsequent message syndication on the prospect's wall. The prospect then clicks the Facebook page link and is referred to the company website for more information.
The CRM system used the Facebook Exchange integration to link the product under consideration to the prospect's wall. When the prospect Likes the company social network page, the page can promote social sharing for the product under consideration and offer an attached inventory image and suggested promotional content. This will display the product with an attractive picture in the prospect's social circles, and ask for their opinions.
|Customer Objective: Prospect wants to see other customer ratings for company and product|
The prospect wants to see what other customers say about the company. To satisfy this goal, the company website product page includes embedded and curated customer ratings as well as product back stories such as how the product is made, where the product is made and a story about the people that make the product. Buyer confidence is increased and the prospect puts the product in the cart for purchase, but does not complete checkout.
Curated social reviews can be displayed on the company website using subscriptions, widgets or iframes. Additionally, product-centric content such as special interest stories or details on how the product was made or who made the product can be managed on company inventory or product records in the ERP or CRM system. This product record content may include links, text, images, videos and curated social reviews. This then makes the social content available across channels, to be applied on the website, email campaigns, self-service portal, agent dialogues or scripts, or even chatbots.
|Customer Objective: The prospect is interested in the product, but needs some engagement or an incentive to complete the purchase|
In the prior website visit, the prospect added the product to the cart, but got cold feet and abandoned the checkout process. The CRM system detects the abandoned checkout process and initiates an event based email with a special interest story, or promotional offer for the product, and a link back to the website and cart.
|Customer Objective: The prospect wants to complete the order but needs assurance she is not going to be disappointed|
From the email link, the prospect returns to the website cart. The prospect wants to purchase the product, but needs more assurance that she is not going to be disappointed. The system displays the cart order, along with prominently displayed third party trust certifications, a purchase guarantee and customer comments. Based on customers with similar profiles and purchase history, the system also suggests an intelligent cross-sale product. The customer adds the cross-sale item and completes the order.
CRM systems can display intelligent up-sell or cross-sell items by applying algorithms based on prior product offers to similarly segmented customers. Algorithms may also consider factors such as prior purchases, inventory availability or time required if back-ordered. A common cross-sell technique is often referred to as the Amazon illustration, which shares that "customers who purchased this item, also purchased one of these other items."
|Customer Objective: The customer forgot to print the order invoice, so from her mobile device, sends a text asking for the invoice|
Upon order completion, the CRM system emails an order confirmation with links to company resources, a self-service portal and a chat bot for mobile support. When the customer sends a mobile text message requesting an invoice, the chatbot authenticates the customer and satisfies the request.
Consumer billing issues often make up a large percentage of consumer inquiries. This customer goal can be automated and available 24 by 7 with a chatbot or customer self-service portal – both of which may offer escalation to a live operator to enhance the service and the customer experience.
With the exception of #4, every interaction and response in this customer journey is automated, and no human intervention is involved. Understanding customer objectives and applying automation at touch points across channels and buy cycle phases orchestrates the delivery of consistent, intentional, differentiated, and valuable customer experiences.