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Optimising your customer experience at every stage of the buyer journey

According to Smart Insights, every minute ‘online’ sees over 4,000 clicks on sponsored Instagram posts, almost 700,000 videos viewed on TikTok, 350,000 new tweets, and 21 million snaps created.

Brands are producing more content — on more platforms — than ever before. This has quickly increased the competition, the noise, and your brand’s ability to stand out from the crowd.

So, more than ever it’s important to build an unbeatable relationship between your business and your consumers whose expectations are at an all-time high.

That’s where customer experience comes in.

Whether you’re a start-up or an established brand, your existing customers, potential buyers, and their key influencers are your most valuable assets. They all use social channels and they can amplify your brand.

You need to make it as easy as possible for your ideal customer to find your business, access all the information they need, and make that all-important conversion — whether it's making a purchase or signing-up to regular communications.

Equally, you must identify what’s important to your audience.

Businesses have access to an abundance of information from their customers, and prospects. Armed with this invaluable insight, marketers have the opportunity to design and deliver customer experience at every stage of the buyer journey. This includes catering to specific needs, observing online behaviour, and building their brand to align with audience values.

So, how can you develop an unbeatable customer experience?

There are three simple ways to optimise the customer experience.

  1. Listen: monitor reviews, complaints, and comments on social media to help you identify what your customers like, and more importantly, what they don’t like.
  2. Analyse: gather data from social media and surveys, like NPS, to understand your brand’s sentiment, any negative talking points, and what competitors are doing.
  3. Personalise: bridge the gap between data, tech, and customer experience by treating each buyer as an individual with a personalised approach.

With this in mind, let’s explore how to harness your social media channels, and the information they provide, to deliver a customer experience strategy that’s second-to-none.

The customer experience revolution

In our culture of instant gratification, it’s safe to say that today’s buyers want speed, efficiency, and most importantly fast communication. Gone are the days of 48 hour response times. With on-site instant messaging and AI chat bots on the rise, your customers can get answers in seconds. Whether they’re in the early stages of ‘just browsing’, or ready to commit to a purchase, easy access to information is vital.

For years, consumers have taken to social media to make enquiries, conduct research, read reviews, and ultimately make a purchase. This isn’t new. Thanks to the growing popularity, variety and versatility of social media platforms, however, there is no longer just one stream of communication to consider.

In 2021 and beyond, the channels we know and love are evolving every day; with the addition of new platforms and services, more opportunities for paid advertising and intelligent targeting, and an ever-growing increase in influencer marketing.

When it comes to your digital presence, customer experience should be omnichannel — spanning your paid, earned, shared, and owned media at every stage of the customer journey.

But, what does today’s customer journey look like?

Customer journey mapping

The buyer journey has five stages. Mapping yours out, along with the content, tools, budget and metrics you’ll need at each stage, is a must.

1. The awareness stage

Here, your ideal buyers are discovering you for the first time. They may have come across you thanks to a targeted social media or search engine ad, or organically through an engaging piece of content or a successful Google search.

They might not be ready to buy, but remember that first impressions count for a lot.

Take advantage of analytics tools to monitor your website traffic, as well as in-platform analytics tools to measure your social media success. Be sure to track engagement level, reach, and impressions.

2. The consideration/evaluation stage

Now, your buyers know your brand and are familiar with what you do. But, they want to know more. What are other vendors doing and how do you compare? Do your social media pages and website look up-to-date and reliable? How are you ranking on review sites? Ultimately, your reputation and digital presence will help your customer decide their next steps.

Consider optimising your lead generation strategy for this stage by implementing effective and GDPR-compliant data capture tools for further nurture through email, SMS, paid-for ads and remarketing.

3. Purchase

Armed with the information they need, your customer is ready to make a purchase. At this stage, you need to be on-hand to help get them over the line. Make their purchase as simple as possible. Think ‘optimisation’: ensure fast-loading website pages, simple instructions, easy-to-find FAQs, a live chat or chat bot feature, and send them a confirmation of their purchase.

Your conversion-rate is your most important metric here.

4. Customer experience

The purchase is complete. Now, it’s time to turn a one-off buyer into a customer for life. Consider building a retention marketing strategy specifically for your existing customers, focused on upselling, repurchasing, and maximising the relationship so it’s mutually beneficial.

Obtain feedback from your buyers, use it to fuel positive change, and even convert potential buyers in the consideration stage. Similarly, by analysing your buyer data, you can identify what your ideal buyer looks like — improving the accuracy of who you target, helping you discover new audiences, and optimising your marketing spend.

Remember, not every customer is going to love your business — so be proactive in dealing with negative reviews, rather than reactive.

5. Loyalty

Your most loyal customers are better at selling your brand than you will ever be. It’s simple: people want to hear from people. Building powerful relationships with customers, to turn them into brand advocates, is the most effective way to generate revenue.

Consider implementing influencer relations, customer loyalty schemes, referral programs, post-purchase workshops, and more into your strategy. According to Invespcro, it’s five times more expensive to attract a new customer than it is to keep an existing one. So, to get the most out of acquisition, retention is key.

How can we help enhance your customer experience (CX)?

No matter what industry you’re in — whether it’s maritime, luxury, or B2B — your customer experience strategy matters. We can help you create a strategy so your business will stand out in a crowded digital space.

Branding and tone of voice:

The most successful businesses are instantly recognisable. We can work with you to create content that is ‘on brand’ and suitable for its purpose, platform, and intended audience.

Consistency helps familiarise your customers with your brand, which will position you as the ‘obvious’ choice when it comes to making a purchase. Similarly, ensuring you’re using the right tone of voice for your audience could make all the difference — according to Software Advice, 65% of customers prefer a casual tone when it comes to customer support, for example.

Market research and social listening:

When it comes to getting customer experience right, research is vital.

Market research, for example, will provide you with the information you need to support your business decisions. Working with our research teams will ensure better and more accurate results — we’re impartial, so the participants will know they’re not being ‘sold’ anything, and will likely be more comfortable being open and honest.

Similarly, with the right tools and resources in place to collect both qualitative and quantitative data, social listening will calculate the popularity of your brand based on your earned, owned and shared channels. What are your buyers saying about you online? How likely are your existing customers to recommend your brand or products? What should you be doing differently and why? This valuable information can fuel important business decisions, minimise risk, and provide insight into your customers’ minds.

Maximising reach from your website:

Your website should be the hub of your business. It needs to be attractive, engaging, responsive, and user-friendly, SEO-optimised and regularly updated. We can build a bespoke, engaging website designed to suit your brand, and meet your audience’s requirements.

Regular social media output:

Getting social media ‘right’ can be tricky — especially if you don’t have a strategy or team dedicated to it. To stay at the forefront of your audience’s mind, your social media output must be regular, relevant to your followers, and both reactive and proactive. Remember, this is where your customers are looking while deciding if they want to work with you.

Our teams can create content that resonates with your audience, ensuring it is posted frequently in the right channels. They will share content that is evergreen, as well as commenting on current issues and trends relevant to your audience. With an effective plan in place, they can reply to comments, respond quickly to direct messages on your behalf, and more.

Digital advertising:

Your paid-for digital strategy shouldn’t just complement your organic social media; they should work in harmony to ensure the best results. In fact, your market research and organic social media results should directly inform your paid-for strategy. When it comes to digital advertising, every penny counts.

Your customers want a streamlined journey across all content avenues. To elevate your customer experience, your website content, social media messaging, customer service responses and digital advertisements need to be aligned.

Working with our agency team will help you avoid silos and instead, ensure you deliver relevant, high-quality content across all channels, and at every stage of the pipeline.

If you are looking to understand how to optimise your customer experience at every stage of the buyer journey, let’s have a chat.