Ashton Media
Marketing & Customer Experience Hub

How to have meaningful conversations with online customers

customer journey mapping

It’s a world turned on its head, businesses no longer have the luxury of initiating and maintaining contact, consumers are driving the when and where of online interactions and they are demanding a more personalised experience. We need to discover new ways to have more meaningful conversations with online customers.

Customer experience is the new marketing

As an online business, this can be your worst nightmare or your greatest opportunity. Customers are looking for experiences and immediacy and marketers have the power to respond with sophisticated technology journeys. It can, however, be difficult to create a genuine and friendly engagement online and even trickier to successfully do this at scale.

From recent data, we know customers no longer follow a direct path from engagement to purchase. They take on a more fluid and sporadic buying pattern, interacting at different points across the customer journey.  The good news is businesses are now able to influence the customer journey through well-timed digital touchpoints to guide buyers and influence business outcomes. But to get there we must first understand the behaviour.

Among high-performing teams, 88% say a customer journey strategy is critical to the success of their overall marketing.
Source: “State of Marketing 2016” research

Mapping the customer journey

To offer a great experience you must first know your customers wants and needs and we do this with customer journey mapping. This is not always easy and will take some strategic groundwork to get the fundamentals right, but it will be well worth the return from more engaged and loyal customers.

73% say that a customer journey strategy has positively impacted overall customer engagement — the second biggest priority for marketers this year.
Source: “State of Marketing 2016” research

customer journey mapping

A few pointers…

We recommend you take the time to workshop your customer journey with stakeholders in your organisation and bring in external experts to facilitate. Here are some pointers you will need to consider as foundational discussion points;

  • Analyse existing data, look for patterns and highlight areas that require change.
  • Segment data, this may include; demographic, geographic and behavioural data.
  • Consumer feedback; Collect data specific to relevant goals using forms and surveys.

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of organisations would like to do better personalisation, while over half want to improve their segmentation (61%), marketing automation (54%) and cross-channel data insights to see the bigger picture (52%).
Source: eConsultancy, “Email Marketing Industry Census 2015”, March 2015

The science of one to one interactions

Not only is it important to understand the overall customer journey, but to go one step further and break communications down to individual, personalised interactions. This way we can meet the true wants of the customer rather than bombarding them with content that they are not interested in, which results in them switching off.

With meaningful conversations based on knowledge collected over time, marketers can continue to build the single customer view, collecting data with every digital touchpoint.

This year, the emergence of customer relationships as a top challenge further illustrates the shift from marketing as a lead-generation machine to marketing as a customer experience coordinator.
Source: “State of Marketing 2016” research

By monitoring and tracking online behaviours such as; purchase cycles, products bought, links clicked and time on page, we are presented with opportunities to up-sell and cross-sell with a more targeted approach. We can set automated triggers to alert the sales team so they know when to send related material and start conversations that get results.

“Marketing is a dialogue, it’s a conversation…It becomes less about a set campaign period and more about creating an always-on presence that will connect with a customer at the point that it makes sense along the customer journey.” Damien Cummings, VP & CMO at Philips ASEAN & Pacific

In the digital world, the ability to walk away is as simple as one click.

Smart interactions help to solve common problems such as understanding customer needs, predicting behaviour and retaining customers.

And finally, you may have heard this before but it is so important – remember to stay human, with a genuinely friendly tone and personality to your messages.

About Marketing Specialist, Site Improve
Haley is the Regional Marketing Specialist for Siteimprove APAC, a technology company offering the world's most comprehensive cloud-based digital optimisation software for websites. Haley is responsible for managing Siteimprove’s full stack marketing and branding initiatives in region. Haley delights in developing new and innovative ways to capture the attention of customers and engage in authentic interactions.