Customer Engagement Live! is always one of Customer Response Summit’s most exciting and interactive events, and this year in Hollywood, FL was no different. Orchestrated by the CX experts at Interactions, this year’s Customer Engagement Live was entitled, Strategic Mapping of a Customer Self-Serve Journey, where attendees gathered in groups of 5-6 and collectively mapped out storyboards in an example scenario for different customer personas looking to book hotels for their various upcoming holidays.
Each “customer” had different goals, expectations, and pain points, and it was the job of the attendees to guide them through the booking process as quickly and easily as possible through this journey mapping activity. During the panel discussion prior to breaking into groups, panelists noted the key considerations for journey mapping to be non-linear, rely on data, and contain many variables.
The six different customer personas were:
Ethan: The budget traveler who is always on the go, both for work and pleasure
Kate: The tech-savvy business woman who works hard and rarely takes vacations
Doris: The grandmother who loves to connect with people and is very involved with her family
Dave: The do-it-all father who is always busy and heavily influenced by ads and what other parents say
Betty: The new mother of two babies who is heavily involved in her online mom groups
Mary: The millennial law student and part-time waitress with little time for herself
The panel described the process of journey mapping by highlighting the importance of looking at the experience from end-to-end, finding milestones, and figuring out what happens at each junction to examine what is working and where there is untapped opportunity. During the exercise, attendees mapped along five different customer journey stages – awareness, considerations, purchase, post-purchase, and pre-arrival. Collectively we dove into the completed journey maps and evaluated the various responses to get a better idea of what drives decision-making processes from a CX leader’s perspective, and below is what we found.
Word of Mouth Still Matters
A few of the personas involved in the exercise had attendees design their journey maps with a parent, or middle-aged buyer in mind, and each map showed that word of mouth is still a crucial aspect to a customer’s journey.
Attendees fleshed out their journey maps for Dave (a father) under the presumption that he would likely seek out the opinions of other parents as influential factors in his journey. Groups also felt that Betty (a new mom) would probably follow suit and might even go a step further and seek out the opinions of those who are a part of a mom group or blog. Doris (a grandmother) mapped out to prefer voice communication and to be influenced by personal recommendations.
Technology can provide many wonderful luxuries in 2020, but it’s impossible to replicate the value of the spoken word from a trusted source. The younger crowd values word of mouth. Brands realize this, only they see that persona’s discussions happening more often through a different channel.
Nearly Every Map Documented Social Media as an Awareness Channel
Aside from Doris’ (the grandmother’s) mapping, all the other personas were partly designed with social media as a key awareness channel, particularly for the youngest personas. In many cases, this is now the most important channel when it comes to raising awareness for a brand.
Social media is a perfect tool for connecting with customers who haven’t heard of you yet. PPC advertisements and other campaigns can quickly show value to relevant users within the target audience.
Even though social media can serve as an incredibly effective tool at every stage of the buyer’s journey, we noticed it show up most consistently in the Awareness category, as perhaps this is where major brands still find it to be most impactful.
The Value of Celebrity Endorsements
In 2015, Microsoft released a study that showed how human beings now have an attention span of roughly eight seconds, which is less than that of a goldfish. Attention spans have been on a gradual decline, and are continuing to do so.
This plays directly into the value of celebrity endorsements. In advertising, a celebrity endorsement is an impactful way to grab attention, establish credibility, provide an associative benefit of the product, ensure higher degrees of recall within the customer, and leverage the love and adoration the celebrity’s fans have for them as a person to sway fans towards the brand. In an era where we all have 8-second attention spans, any method that consistently grabs eyeballs and establishes value immediately is a method worth implementing.
Our attendees knew that, as a good portion of the journey maps showed celebrity endorsements as consistent influences, namely with Mary’s (the millennial’s) journey maps. As a member of a younger demographic looking to book a spring break trip, Mary was mapped to be influenced largely by celebrities, trends, or Instagram influencers.
Most Common Thought or Feeling: Excitement
A critical part of the journey mapping exercise was to keep the customer’s thoughts and feelings in mind through each stage of the journey, both positive and negative. The most common feeling we saw, by far, was excitement.
Excitement was most prevalent during the awareness and pre-arrival stages of the journey, understandably so (as no money is spent during these stages). There were some mixed emotions during the middle stages of the journey maps, as customers were worried about getting the best deals possible, overwhelmed by a flurry of options, unsure if they made the correct decision, and at times even a bit frustrated with the process in general and how long it takes.
The emotional aspect from a customer’s point of view may vary from one industry to another, so it is always crucial to put yourself in the buyer’s shoes at this part of the exercise. Most purchases are not as fun as booking a vacation, and therefore not as exciting, so to map them out as such might be biased and wouldn’t make the most of the exercise. That being said, it was interesting to see what negative feelings the attendees would envision customers having despite buying something so exciting.
Customer Engagement Live is always a fun, collaborative way to get inside the minds of our attendees at Customer Response Summit to see the processes that have made their brands so successful be put to use on the spot. In this installment, we learned so much about how brands shift processes to accommodate for each persona, which proved to be an impactful new wrinkle in this year’s session. We can’t thank Interactions enough for providing such an organized, creative, and engaging activity for our attendees and we can’t wait until Customer Response Summit: Coronado, CA where we will host the next Customer Engagement Live session.
Blog post, written by: Execs In The Know and featuring the Customer Engagement Live Session at Customer Response Summit, Hollywood-FL, presented by Interactions