If the customer experience is the entirety of a how a customer interacts with your brand, it's imperative, particularly in a world where consumer technology, tastes, alternatives, and values are constantly evolving, that the customer experience is explicitly designed. That is, you can and should make decisions based on a framework to guide the customer in her interactions with you. Before developing this framework, some competitive, market, and consumer research has to be assumed. Your brand promise too should be understood and frankly validated in the context of this research.
Now, what macro framework or journey model should you adopt? The Customer Strategist Journal outlines a digital experience model, which may prove useful. Also useful are traditional consumer journey frameworks using customer experience stages like Awareness, Consideration, Purchase, Retention, and Advocacy. Those are both good places to start. Where Extole differs from sequential models, however, is in our recognition that not only is the macro journey not linear - after all, non-customers can and do advocate on your behalf during the awareness and consideration phases - but there are micro-journeys of great importance that can be designed, measured, and improved as well.
Here we outline a few journeys and some of the capabilities of Extole's platform that put important customer experiences firmly in the control of marketers to help grow revenue and increase customer loyalty. These customer journeys are likely important parts of your overall customer experience strategy.
As mentioned earlier, we believe advocacy is not the last phase of a journey but rather a customer activity that can occur throughout a customer's interaction with your brand. Traditional journey models suggest that there is a dropoff after the consideration phase presumably by consumers who aren't a fit for your brand. That's why so many journey maps use funnels to depict the path consumers take. However, even a brand that I am not interested in may well be perfectly suited for a friend or relative. I should be encouraged to point a better prospect in that brand's direction. Extole's referral program helps marketers see what customers say, advertise referral prominently even before a visitor makes a purchase, and measure every interaction.
We also believe that rewards can result in steps in traditional customer journey models. Our platform makes adding rewards to programs - referral, ambassador, friends & family, influencer, a new visitor, and more - data-driven, easy, and on-brand. Combined with exclusivity or personal recommendations, a brand message that otherwise aimed at awareness or consideration can be an immediate driver of purchase. With a refer-a-friend, it's always interesting to measure (and optimize) the amount of time after receiving a message from an advocate a referred friend takes to purchase. The speed is often so fast, that you have to reasonably conclude that consideration was replaced with a decision.
Finally, gifting solutions don't neatly fall into traditional models except for perhaps in the retention category. Extole's gifting solution recognizes that both existing customers and prospective customers can perform an act of great importance. They can tell a friend exactly what gift they'd like to receive. Our gift programs are beautiful, on-brand, low friction, and help drive high-converting new customers (gift purchasers) to your brand. Arguably, this journey is one of self-advocacy rather than traditional advocacy.
To learn more about the programs that Extole's platform can power for your brand, please contact us or request a demo. We'll show you how events or journey moments combined with rewards and well-designed programs can help you execute on your customer experience strategy. You can also learn more by downloading our guide!
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