Friday, May 13, 2016

Three Times You Can Get in the Way of Your Customer’s Journey





By Ashley Conway
Senior Director
Customer Experience

WeddingWire





WeddingWire recently created a cross-functional Journey Map of our wedding professional clients, our B2B customer base (engaged couples are our B2C audience). The Marketing team printed out this colorful, impressive document and placed it on my desk for feedback. I circulated this document to my Management team for any additional commentary. Not long after, one of my managers hurried over with water dripping off the edges of the paper, colors bleeding together. “I ruined the journey!” she panicked.

While we like to tease her about this innocent spill, the real moral of this story is that it’s usually the company that ruins the journey, not the customer. Below are three examples of “fail fast” moments that can steer your customers in the wrong direction.

Leaving Your Customer at the Altar

Your product experts are likely your own employees. They interact with and think about the product all day long, so it’s easy to misinterpret how intuitive that product or service is or what success should look like. WeddingWire identified that our customers were purchasing our product, but didn’t necessarily understand what tools were available within their accounts and how to utilize them. To solve for this, WeddingWire created a Customer Success team to ensure that customers received a formal onboarding of tips, tools and best practices; this maximized the value of the customer’s investment and increased membership renewal rates. Providing a valuable service, without instruction, works against both our and the customer’s goals.

When Data Becomes the Ol’ Ball and Chain

In a world where many organizations have data on their data, it’s easy to look to reports and dashboards to inform companies how to map out their Customer Journey. In WeddingWire's case, our data was telling us that feature adoption was a significant needle-mover on reducing churn rates. Feature adoption rates grew at a steady clip - our customers were using everything! Why then did feature adoption stop correlating to lower churn rates? It turns out that while we were emphasizing what the data said was important, we stopped asking the customer what was important - the journey is only useful if the customer actually wants to take it. When we blended customer goals along with the data, we found that specific product engagement mattered a lot more than exposing them to everything the account had to offer. The Journey Map was adjusted to account for the “why” a customer was using the features rather than simply the usage for usage’s sake.

Something Borrowed, Something Blue, Something B, Where’s Your Something C?

In traditional B2B organizations, it’s easy to consider the relationship for its transactional value. We are actually all C’s - even if we are a B. Businesses are comprised of people, who have wants, needs, perspectives and emotions (even in a business setting); it’s essential to keep the person who consumes your product or service in mind as well as the business that benefits from it. We believed that if the product produced results,that meant a strong business relationship. What we were missing was the personal relationship they wanted to have with our brand - they wanted to be heard, to be part of the process. We’ve strengthened the relationship with our customers by proactively asking for feedback and closing the loop with product updates. This confirms to them that we’re a valuable business partner with a personal investment in their business -- that they have been heard and are an equal part of the process.

As our understanding of the journey evolves, we continue to update our mapping and processes to match. Don’t print out your journey - it might get wet.

Ashley Conway serves as WeddingWire's Senior Director of Customer Experience — responsible for the team actively focused on onboarding, product usage, best practices, training and developing long-term relationships with WeddingWire customers. Ashley holds a B.S. in Finance from Miami University.

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