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Marketing & Sales
Jun 1, 2017

Tools To Improve Your Customer Experience

Sponsored Content provided by Jim Ellis - Vice President, Account Director, Signal

Two fundamental tools can be used to help define and improve your Customer Experience (CX).
 

It All Starts With Personas

Personas are representations of ideal customers based on your market research and data about existing customers. They provide insight into where to focus your marketing time, and they can help guide your customer experience (CX) efforts.
 
Elements that help craft a Persona include customer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations and goals. Personas are valuable because they give you the ability to hone in on the needs of specific users, rather than “everyone.”
 
At a minimum, Personas typically address your ideal customer’s:
  • Job title
  • Company / industry
  • Pain points
  • Goals
  • Motivations
  • Preferred communication channels


Creating Personas

You can begin developing Personas based on traditional market research, sending out questionnaires, reviewing website analytics and social media, talking to your customer-facing employees, or talking with your customers directly.
 
Try to ask open-ended questions like:
  • Give me a little background on your job.
  • How and why did you take on this job?
  • How do you stay up to date and get information on your industry and profession?
  • How do you measure progress or success?
  • What are the most enjoyable parts of your job?
  • Describe a typical workday.
  • What are the most difficult, challenging, annoying or frustrating aspects of your job?
  • After a typical workday, what about your job, if anything, is still on your mind? In other words, what issues keep you up at night?
  • Have we missed anything?
As for the Persona document itself, they come in all shapes and sizes. Use what’s right for you.
 

The Customer Experience Map

For even more insight into what customers are thinking and feeling, the Customer Experience Map, often referred to as a “Customer Journey Map,” is the perfect tool. It outlines the customer journey from the initial contact through the process of learning and engaging – and into long-term trusted relationship with a company. It identifies key touchpoints and the customer’s perceptions and questions during those touchpoints, which helps marketers convert data into a story to share and use throughout the organization to improve CX.
 
A typical experience map could include the following stages:
  • Aware
  • Research
  • Purchase
  • Use
  • Support
Then, at each stage, you enter the following:
  • Goals
  • Expectations
  • Process
  • Touchpoints and channels
  • Emotional peaks and valleys
  • Frustrations
  • Ideas
The format I prefer for the mapping above is a chart, where the columns are the life-cycle stages, and the rows are the goals, expectations, etc. See some example templates here.
 

No One-Size-Fits-All Recipe

While there is no formal template for what a customer experience map looks like, one tool I use is UXPRESSIA. No matter what tool or method you choose, the most important thing is to include both analytical and anecdotal research for a robust representation of what the customer goes through.
 
Assembling and combining the data – operational, marketing and customer and competitive research – to build your Customer Experience Map may sound complex. The Harvard Business Review notes that “the reward is well worth it, because the fact base that’s created allows management to clearly see the customer’s experience of various journeys and decide which ones to prioritize.”
 
For more on CX, visit Signal’s feature article, Unleashing the Power of CX.

Photo c/o uxpressia.com

Jim Ellis has over 20 years of experience in marketing strategy and implementation throughout a variety of industry sectors. Since 1999 he has been with Signal, a digital agency based in Wilmington and Raleigh, North Carolina. Signal has proven strengths serving as the “local agency” for global companies, generating solid results in web design, brand identity, mobile app development, digital strategy and more. Jim provides counsel to many of the agency’s largest clients with an eye toward integrated communications and a vast knowledge of both traditional and modern practices. As a songwriter and musician with a business degree, he believes his artistic/corporate “dual personality” gives him added perspective to be an effective liaison between clients and Signal’s talented creative team. Originally from Ohio, Jim graduated from the University of Richmond with a B.S. in Business Administration.
 

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