They say you never really know anyone until you walk a mile in their shoes. We whole-heartedly agree. And we also know the best relationships take time to develop. Just a shake of a hand is not going to do it. It takes sustained effort.
It’s the same with your customers.
A communication or two to a mailing list and sending your target customers on a path you hope they take will not give you the ins and outs of what makes them really tick. It’s an investment into their customer journey that will open the doors to their inner-workings and lead to higher customer lifetime values.
The customer journey is step one to customer obsession.
So what is their customer journey? Yes, it is the physical journey they take from the moment they learn about you and through every touch point you hope they experience – from awareness and education, to trial and buy, to repeat and refer. But many stop here.
To be truly obsessed, you must understand their emotional journey as well. What are they feeling at each stage along the path? What are the important relationships and influencers they have in their lives regarding the product category you are marketing?
Learning the physical AND emotional steps each customer takes in regard to your product will be some of the greatest insight you can acquire to totally and completely know your customers and prospective customers. And that obsession will not go unnoticed by them. They will recognize that you not only know them, but you also care about them and making their lives better. And this caring leads to deeper ties, long-term loyalty with repeat purchases and advocacy. It’s the classic and powerful everybody wins scenario.
Amazon has set the standard.
In fact, Customer Obsession is Amazon’s first principle of leadership. They work “vigorously” to earn and keep customer trust. Amazon continually looks for ways to heighten customer expectations and meet them while enhancing the customer’s journey at every step. They know what you want long before you want it — or need it. They wisely push the parameters of convenience by providing whatever it is you may need and delivering it within hours.
And because they know their customers so well and make the experience so easy and effortless, the phrase “I’ll just get it on Amazon.” is becoming one of the most uttered in the English language and beyond. Now that’s customer obsession.
How do you begin?
Follow the lead of many of the most successful, customer obsessed brands out there like Amazon, Google, Apple, McDonald’s. If you don’t already have a physical customer journey map, create one. Take a walk in your customers’ shoes and document every step from before need recognition to purchase decision to advocacy. You will begin to know and understand exactly what they are experiencing — and therefore exactly what you need to do — at every step of your customer’s journey.
Next use any current marketing data you’ve already collected to give you insight into what your customers are thinking or feeling at each point in their journey. Who are they listening to for guidance at each stage? Where are they seeking advice? Why do the majority of drop offs occur at the same point along the path? How can you address it?
If you don’t have previous campaign data that provides this insight, it’s time to get out there and talk directly with your customers. You’ll find this qualitative research leads to some of the deepest insights you will ever collect.
Armed with this intimate knowledge into what your customers actually need at every touch point, you will find yourself knowing your customers even better than they know themselves. And their appreciation and response to what your new customer obsession brings to their lives will create the long-lasting customer relationships that lead to long-term success.