The key to a great customer experience is obsessive compulsive marketing.
And a software to help you manage your OCD, is not really a classic CRM but something like Intercom.io.
I have just finished a project for a subscription-based startup here in London. I worked for around 2 months, mostly on their acquisition funnel, but I also looked at all their retention metrics and how to improve offer and model. An incredible experience that gave me the opportunity to think about the customer experience from different angles.
A lot of us are control freaks and I found that being deeply obsessive/compulsive about customer experience (CX) is a positive thing! Indeed, there are actually many software today that can help you automating and monitoring your CX.
The reason why I like Customer Experience
In my entire professional life as marketing manager in the ICT Industry I tried to spread the idea that product and marketing are the same thing. Customer experience is the sublimation of this concept.
With customer experience management, you look at your product or service in its entire lifecycle and try to improve it with marketing metrics.
Customer Experience is important for three reasons.. well four..
- It is the main point of differentiation for a company today.
- In many industries retention is more important than acquisition.
- While managing the CX, companies come up with great ideas on how to simplify and innovate their product and business.
- But most importantly: the product and the brand are the customer journey. Today great companies usually don’t create product but experiences (See Brian Solis on this). There is no distinction between the product and the customer journey.
Identify which business metrics drive engagement and revenue
The business model influences which data we needed to track the customer experience performance.
I spent the summer of 2013 working for a betting company, a typical transactional businesses. In that case I was focused primarily on acquisition, return frequency and spend per visit.
On the contrary, in this new project working with a business based on ongoing contracts, I focused on acquisition, engagement, retention and upsell.
Mapping the customer journey for a SaaS business
There are many CX articles and frameworks on the web that in my opinion focus on the wrong metrics.
Personally, I really like Avesus approach and their blog is a great source for inspiration for me.
You also need metrics you can measure every day at zero cost. That is why I like to measure “product usage metrics” or “sales metrics” or “conversion page metrics”. Define some events in your product that can be measured with Kissmetrics or Mixpanel and just start to measure.
My idea is that you don’t have to come up with an over-complicated journey and, as usual, startup marketing practices offer a great and simple way to summarize the main steps:
- Triggers and Communication
Brand communication must be in line with the experience that we want to offer.
- Touchpoints and conversion points
There are probably many touchpoints for your prospects and leads, but the points (pages) where you convert them in real customers are few and you should focus on them. And find ways to improve them.
- Onboarding and Must Have Experience
Onboarding is the most important step and startups understand it better than big companies. Since getting a new product or service is usually not so simple, many marketers have found useful to think about a Must Have Experience and how to deliver it as quickly as possible.
Many customer esperience issues and bugs, so a great customer service is essential in this phase. Onboarding management can lead to product and service innovation that reflect new customer need and behaviors.
At this step you have customers that understand your product, understand all key features and need to be encouraged to become heavy users or pay.
- Upgrade and Cross-sell
Normally subscription based business have a Freemium model or Free trial offers and promotions. In this step you need to motivate and assist the client in the upgrade phase.
This phase is all about engagement, customer service, issue management, and again, product and service innovation.
Automate and test!
As I said, managing the customer journey can lead to insights on how to improve the product, expand the offer and increase profitability. Technology and data are needed to manage this process.
However, classic CRM have always been focused on transactions and sales, so they were not great tools for customer journey management.
That is why today there is a new branch of Customer Experience management software that automate interaction with the client, intelligently predict what it is that the consumer is likely to want, and provide the answer in whatever way is best for the consumer.
I loved working with Intercom.io because it offers in-app messages (a simple and fantastic feature!) and a way to automate all communications with the client during her journey.
[Art: Interactive Wall by Flightphase]