Employees having a meeting at a table.

Brief

Customer Journey

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Introduction

Great companies add value by offering a solution that improves their customers’ lives. The Customer Journey includes all customer interactions with our brand, from initial awareness to post-purchase support. As our prospects move through the various stages of our Customer Journey map, their experience may not always be linear but rather have some twists and turns down the funnel.

A graphic of an infinite loop in two main phases: prospective customers and existing customers.

One of our guiding principles at Ninety is a simple phrase — “we don’t sell; we serve.” Our goal goes beyond making a sale or earning a subscriber. We aim to attract and retain what we call our Ideal Customers. We do this by constantly thinking about how to best turn our prospects into customers and customers into enthusiastic, referring fans of who we are and what we provide.

The traditional sales and marketing funnel of awareness, interest, desire, and action still holds fundamental truths about the Customer Journey. However, businesses with newer sales and marketing models, such as SaaS companies, are more inclined to guide potential customers into a loop of continued partnership. This loop keeps customers interested in our brand. For these strategies to be successful, customer journeys are becoming increasingly personalized.

Context

1. Segue — Each meeting starts with a Segue. During the Segue, everyone shares a piece of personal and professional news. The idea is to stay connected as humans. Think of it as a quick gratitude session.

2. Headlines — Headlines are bits of news that are important but not necessarily related to the company’s goals. Think “Jill had her baby” or “Stephen’s going out of town for a week.” If it’s news worth sharing with other teams, share it using the Cascading Messages feature.

3. Rocks — We execute a quick fly-by to ensure our Rocks are on track for completion by the end of the quarter. If a Rock looks off-track, ask if the Rock owner or any other team member needs to discuss it further. If they do, make it an Issue. No discussion.

4. To-Dos — We only need five minutes to check our To-Do list and see if there are any complications. If something is off track, right-click and set it as an Issue. We’ll have time to dissect it later.

5. Scorecard — Every team needs a Scorecard containing KPIs and targets to help ensure everything is running well. Targets should be set to make it easy to see when there is an issue. Don’t fall into the trap of analyzing each number. If there’s an issue, move it to the Issues list. No discussion.

6. RDR (Raise, Discuss, and Resolve) — Time to tackle the Short-Term Issues list. Resolving Issues is the primary purpose of a Weekly Team Meeting, after all. Start by reviewing the list for opportunities to kill or combine Issues. Then, rank the remaining Issues from 5 (must discuss today) to 1 (not urgent). Ninety lets you organize and document each decision in the Meetings tool.

The goal is to do one of three things with each Issue:

  • Make it a To-Do and assign it to someone.
  • Turn it into a Long-Term Issue to tackle in either your Quarterly or Annual Planning Meeting. These are the bigger Issues the team’s not ready to address.
  • Solve it. Hash it out. Frequently, the team can make a decision on how to proceed, and the Issue can be checked off the list.

7. Conclude — Issues handled, it’s now time to conclude our meeting. We take a beat and recap what happened. Then, everyone involved rates the meeting on a scale of 1 to 10. This rating represents the meeting’s efficiency, the topics covered, and overall preparedness. Meetings start at a perfect 10, and if we rate it less than 9, we should explain why and how it could have been better.

Core Disciplines of a Great Customer Journey

1. Identify your Ideal Customer. Your Ideal Customer has a geographic, demographic, and psychographic profile. Additionally, most buyers are concerned with one of four Unique Value Propositions (UVPs):

  • Lowest total cost
  • Great customer service
  • Helpful innovation
  • Gained status

For instance, the “lowest price” value proposition won’t resonate with a prospective Ferrari buyer.

2. Make the journey an integrated experience. The best storytellers show rather than tell. Show your potential buyer how their life would be better with your offered solution through product tours, product demos, and case studies. Many companies offer free trials to give prospective customers hands-on experience with their product/service.

3. Ideal Customers reduce the cost of customer service. Suppose your UVP centers around customer service, but you acquire a customer focused on innovation (the latest bells and whistles). They’re not buying what you’re selling and are likely to stress your Customer Service team constantly. The hours spent appeasing non-ideal customers are much better spent serving Ideal Customers

Hopefully Helpful Hints

  • The entire brand can strengthen pre-purchase touchpoints of the Customer Journey. Before purchasing from you, prospects will compare your brand experience to that of other companies. Was your website a top result when they searched for answers to their problem? Do your social media channels answer prospects’ potential questions? Do you offer live chat support while customers are engaged with your content? Do customer reviews on sites like TrustPilot, G2, and Capterra reinforce your UVP? The answers to these questions will inform how seamless and positive your customers’ pre-purchase experience is.

  • Post-purchase support reinforces the loyalty loop. For us, post-purchase support usually starts with our Client Success team. These team members are the face of our company. Our customers remember when Christine solved an issue that was slowing them down or when Matthew showed them a new feature. We also support existing customers by taking our decades of experience working with entrepreneurs and small business leaders and turning them into easily digestible content (like this brief) to help your organization thrive. By continuing to provide post-purchase value, we build trust and loyalty with our Ideal Customers.

Takeaway

Our customers should learn and grow from their journey with our brand. After choosing to do business with us, their lives should improve. Great companies strive to create a positive, seamless experience that turns pain points into opportunities for a continued partnership. We learn to let go of our nonideal customers so we can have the time and resources to build high-trust relationships with our Ideal Customers. 

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