Creating a Consistent Customer Journey: Six Must Haves
When it comes to making a good impression on your intended audience, it’s all about the customer journey, and consistency is the key to success. Familiarity with your brand allows potential clients or customers to feel more comfortable with placing their trust in your business. This in turn makes them more likely to place an order, book a consultation, or create an account on your website.
Fortunately, creating a consistent customer journey does not need to be a mammoth endeavor. While there are many steps you can take to refine and develop the consumer experience, the following ideas will form a strong foundation for your marketing endeavors.
1. Create a Clear Mission Statement
No matter which area of your business you are approaching, the first task will always be the same. To create a coherent plan for optimizing your customer journey, it is vital to set out your objectives.
- Identify the your end goals, and consider the steps required to reach them.
- Determine consumer expectations for each stage of the customer journey.
- Decide on your brand’s message and primary call to action.
- List the types of content you plan to create, and the platforms on which you intend to host them.
- Define your budget, timescale, and any other limitations.
- Research your target demographics and be aware of their habits and preference.
Once you have clear goals in mind, it will be far easier to decide what your brand stands for, and how it should communicate its message. Moreover, planning ahead enables you to preempt potential obstacles, and prepare accordingly.
2. Define your Brand Voice and Message
No one knows your business better than you, yet to effectively convey the personality of your brand, it is important to impart as much of that knowledge and enthusiasm as possible to your target audience. The more defined and recognizable your brand is, the easier it will be for your team to impart a consistent message throughout the customer journey.
Give careful consideration to your mission statement, and think about how that impacts the message you wish to convey. Bear in mind that this message and the overall voice of your brand also needs to appeal to your target demographic. Developing consistent buyer personas can help you set out clear brand guidelines.
Once you have found the right voice, and determined your message, it is essential to use them throughout all areas of your business. Your customers will generally view your company as a unified entity. As such, a lack of consistency can appear unprofessional, and may even be jarring to some individuals.
Yet, while creating a uniform voice across all channels may seem like a significant undertaking, in many ways it can make communication easier and more efficient. This is because you and your team will be equipped with the knowledge of your brand’s standpoint on particular issues, and its typical response to individual customer queries and feedback.
3. Be Transparent and Accountable
Allow your audience to know your company’s aims, ethics, and motivations. Set out your goals, and continually deliver in order to inspire confidence and trust in your potential customers. Transparency with regards to your business practices also makes it far easier for your staff to deliver a consistent service, as they can be open and frank in response to customer queries.
Be accountable, and handle queries or complaints promptly and effectively. If you are unable to provide support services around the clock, ensure that your operating hours are clearly stated, so customers know when they can expect a response.
In addition, if you have multiple channels via which customers may attempt to reach you, ensure that all are regularly monitored. Otherwise, you could provide excellent service on one channel, and still develop a reputation for unresponsiveness due to the neglect of customers on another platform.
4. Create Structured Content
The more your business grows, the more complex content management can become. However, if you plan ahead, and create a body of meaningful, structured content, you can develop a consistent framework on which to build the rest of your customer experience.
By releasing modular, evergreen content that can be easily adapted for use on numerous channels, you make your content far more recognizable to your audience. In addition, your message is more likely to be successfully transmitted, as each time your content is viewed, customers will immediately be able to pick up where they left off.
Reusing and repurposing parts of your content is also an easy way to reinforce your brand’s voice. After all, you will be using the same style, tone, and wording, just from a different, but related, angle.
5. Be Visually Consistent
Using a content management system can make it easier to maintain a coherent aesthetic throughout your content, and even across multiple channels. Online store builders offer similar advantages, enabling you to make sales across a number of platforms, while seamlessly incorporating a consistent style throughout. This extends to the sharing of product descriptions across multiple platforms, and even monitoring omni-channel pricing.
However you approach content creation, it is important to maintain visual consistency throughout. The same applies to all of your marketing efforts, and any other communication with your audience.
- Make sure your logo is visible and recognizable.
- Stick to color schemes that are consistent with your branding.
- Ensure that images contribute to your over-arching brand narrative.
- Use consistent visuals and layouts for menus, buttons, and CTAs. Optimizely is a great platform for split-testing your visuals
6. Get Your Whole Team On Board
You will not be the only person your customers speak to, so it is vital that your entire team understands your brand’s message and is able to communicate these ideals in the voice you have already defined for your brand. This is particularly important for your customer service teams, but also applies to everyone else in your organization.
However great your staff are, you cannot assume that they are automatically on the same page as you. Organize training and support to ensure that each team member is equipped to speak effectively on behalf of your brand, and maintain the consistent image you have worked so hard to create.
Furthermore, you should motivate your team to feel the same enthusiasm for your brand as you do. Invest in them, and they will do the same for you. Not only will this help them to deliver your message more effectively, but it will also enable you to work together to build and improve on the customer journey as a whole.
Creating a positive, consistent customer experience is extremely important, yet it is also something that will soon become second nature, if you keep the above tips in mind. By clearly defining your brand, and imparting your enthusiasm and understanding to your team, you will already be halfway there.
Of course, as your business grows and changes, so too will the needs and expectations of your customers. Nevertheless, the framework you establish now will enable you to continuously develop and evolve the customer journey evenly across all channels. So while your business may one day look very different to its present form, at its heart you will have nurtured a consistency and reliability that your customers will come to know, respect, and trust.
Victoria Greene is a branding consultant and freelance writer. On her blog, VictoriaEcommerce, she shares tips on digital marketing and ecommerce brand development. Big advocate of customer-centric marketing.