Gestalt: Enhancing the customer’s path to purchase
by Leeya Hendricks (@LeeyaHendricks) Good customer experience (CX) is the responsibility of everyone in a business, not just the sales teams, service centre or — increasingly — marketing. This shared approach is especially important as we consider the customer’s path to purchase. Companies that create unforgettable CX focus on the entire journey, highlighting the need to move from isolated touchpoints to a journey that flows.
We can liken this approach to the difference between video and stop-motion animation. The latter moves jerkily with little regard for realism, while the former flows fluidly to tell a life-like story. Your CX journey should be just like that — a flow of movement taking your customer gracefully through a journey from start to end, and not a series of jolting experiences.
McKinsey & Company perfectly sums up the benefit of getting it right: “[M]aximising satisfaction with customer journeys has the potential not only to increase customer satisfaction by 20% but also to lift revenue by up to 15% while lowering the cost of servicing customers by as much as 20%.”
And who doesn’t want to raise their revenues while reducing their costs?
Customer experience mapping vs customer journey mapping
To achieve fluid CX at all points in the customer journey, we need to consider the difference between mapping the customer journey and mapping the customer experience: While a customer journey map summarises the interactions between consumers and organisations, from their first interaction through to conversion and subsequent interactions, a customer experience map goes one better. The latter builds a comprehensive canvas of the customer’s experience with the brand, while also analysing the customer’s behaviour and interactions across touchpoints and channels.
Rather than portraying this series of interactions as a straight line from point A to point B, a customer experience map provides an understanding of the true complex nature of the process that customers go through in multiple interactions with your brand.
Unpacking the path to purchase
Using customer experience mapping, we can unpack the path to purchase at the hand of total customer experience.
Traditionally, companies have modelled this path by focusing on individual customer touchpoints, such as their interaction with support or front desk staff. However, this is a fragmented way of looking at it. Modern assessments of the path to purchase takes a more-holistic view by exploring customer experience, thus modelling the path to purchase in three stages: awareness, consideration and purchase.
Unlike the customer journey, the consumer’s path to purchase is a complex, non-linear construct. Much may be learnt from it, requiring the company to be firmly embedded at every step along the journey.
The data that may be captured along this path study shows how consumers behave from the start of their shopping journey — including what they look for, where they are looking and more. Knowing this captures the search terms to be incorporated into content, allowing marketers to advertise on key apps or build their own, thereby driving consumers to the company right from the start.
Keeping customers on track
Ultimately, the path to purchase is about much more than making consumers warm and fuzzy about your brand; it enables brands to pinpoint where they might lose prospects and existing customers at any point in their journeys. Using path to purchase insights into online and in-store shopping behaviours is a good way to customise your marketing approach to get consumers back on track to the purchase point.
With knowing where your charges are going off course, the next step is to study what your competitors are doing. Knowing which other sites your consumers are researching is a good way to start improving competitive value.
Acting on this data can turn your company’s customer experience on its head and keep consumers on the straight and narrow, resulting in customer satisfaction and increased profitability.
It’s important to understand the totality of the experiences customers go through if we are to master the subtle art of hitting the right person with the right message at the right time and through the right channels. Get all four elements of the successful connection right, and sales will surge.
Updated on 19 November 2018.
Leeya Hendricks (@LeeyaHendricks) is a designated chartered marketer, global marketing strategist, digital driver and a Women in Tech leader. She holds a BA degree in fine arts, a BA honours degree in brand marketing management and is currently completing her MBA. She is currently director marketing for the ECEMEA region at ORACLE, responsible for driving digital strategy, demand generation and transforming portfolios to develop sustainable revenue growth. Leeya contributes the monthly column “Gestalt”, about putting customer first for sustainable business success, to Marklives.
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