There’s no question the customer experience is everything. Marketing and sales departments spend a great deal of time meticulously mapping out that perfect experience. After all, up to 88 percent of users are less likely to return to a website after a bad user experience. And since so many consumers today start their purchase journey via online research, a bad website experience is enough to turn off potential customers.
But let’s back up to what brought the customer to your website or product in the first place. What need did they have that prompted them to decide to research your product or service? Before you start running through your perceived customer journey and touch-points, understand that customers don’t always follow your script. Sure, they may follow some of the classic touch-points: advertisement >> research >> consideration >> purchase. But what need kicked this off?
Customer Mapping - Touch-points vs. Need-points
As nice as it would be for customers to follow your perceived touch-points, customers often operate on initial impulses prompted by unplanned moments of opportunity. Something breaks, they need to fix it. They see a neighbor with an epic lawn mower and have to have one. What are the pain moments, or need-points that brings on the urge for your customers to make a purchase?
It’s time to stop focusing solely on your perceived touch-points and start considering your customer’s need points. Stop and think about the series of need-points customers experience and traverse in order to achieve whatever outcome they ultimately need.
According to the Harvard Business Review, research states that “although companies know a lot about customers’ buying habits, incomes, and other characteristics used to classify them, they know little about the thoughts, emotions, and states of mind that customers’ interactions with products, services, and brands induce.”
It's also important to consider that it's not only the post-covid environment your customer's are trying to navigate, inflation is also driving their decisions. Below are three things to consider when attempting to map your customers’ need-points instead of touch-points.
How are your products differentiated from competitors and what is your true value to key customers? What would prompt them to research your product? How can you initiate interest for your product in a way that speaks to their needs.
How can your products can be used in new and innovative ways? More importantly, how can your products evolve to better meet the needs of those you serve?
Market and talk to your customers based on their needs, not the needs you want them to perceive. Go beyond the typical features and benefits. Appeal to your customers’ functional, emotional, and social needs. Find what really drives decision-making.
Above all, remember your touch-points are not what’s important, it’s your customer’s need-points that should drive future strategies if you want to stand out in this post-covid, inflation riddled environment.