Everyone talks about creating win-win situations and having focus on value for the customer. But are we really doing a good job in that? How often do we end up shifting our focus on the business value proposition in our efforts? Nothing wrong about it because in the end businesses need to be profitable to survive; But where to draw the line?
Creating beautiful customer journey starts by understanding how customers interact and engage at various stages and touchpoints. Doing that is tricky and requires constant research because we don't live in a static World. And this adds to the cost of running a business. As a result, more often than not, we start diverging from the original idea of creating beautiful and seamless customer journey towards the idea of a customer journey filled with cross sell and upsell offers – carefully weaved so as to make the customer journey look seemingly seamless – but in reality, utterly non-value adding for the customer. For example, when a customer buys a trashcan, we clutter their inboxes with cross sell and upsell offers for another different sized trash-can, or a life-time supply of trashcan bags or even cleaning solutions! We try to make it so seamless that they'd just need to click one button to make that purchase happen. Instead, what we should be doing is sharing valuable information about what will make their purchase worthwhile, what will help them keep the trashcan longer and defect free, where its placement might help in keeping the germs off, etc. We hardly see that happening in the post purchase customer journey.
But one could argue, how far we could take this philosophy; after all how a business would then survive in today's extremely hard competitive landscape? It pretty much feels like as a business you are walking a very thin line between customer value and business value. The moment you start drifting away from that thin line, you start losing against your competitors. The answer lies in having a strong feedback loop – making it part of your customer journey. It's OK to cross sell or upsell when the customer demands for it. It's OK to provide information when the customer needs it. Of course it's very hard to precisely identify those moments, and that's why a strong feedback loop helps. A strong feedback loop also helps in enriching your knowledge about your customers – what they like and don't like beyond what you offer – a peak into their lives; which is invaluable information for future product innovation.
Customer journeys that go beyond the typical path of awareness to purchase are the ones that truly create win-win situations for everyone.