Adapting the Customer Journey in 2020
In just a matter of months, COVID-19 has changed how consumers interact and do business with brands. With the world in various stages of lockdown and reopening, brick-and-mortar brands have had to rethink the traditional customer journey to reach consumers in this new normal. This guide will give your business a look at how to adapt to your customers’ journey in 2020.
1. Increase Awareness in the Discovery Stage
The first point in the customer life cycle is the discovery stage, in which the consumer has their first few experiences with your brand. The outbreak of COVID-19 resulted in a large loss of customers for many businesses. Reaching new consumers and reacquiring customers during this time is vital to driving customer traffic. In the discovery stage, your brand has the opportunity to make a great first impression on the customer with trust and credibility. 86% of consumers rely on the internet to find a local business. A great first impression starts with investing time into optimizing your local SEO strategy. A local SEO strategy will help your brand rank higher in local searches, a fundamental method in enabling purchase-ready consumers to discover your business, whether it’s through their phone, voice assistant, or on the web.
Since business listings are one of the first touchpoints in the consumer’s discovery stage, you want to provide them the most up-to-date information that they can easily access in seconds. This matters now more than ever. In the first month of COVID-19 alone, businesses made 3.2x the average number of updates to their listings. Businesses have had to continuously adjust their business hours and temporarily close and as a result, faced frustration from consumers who interacted with inaccurate listings. Maintaining accurate listings will give consumers a seamless start to their first interaction with your brand and increase online visibility.
Claim and optimize all your business listings across tier 1 directories such as Facebook, Google My Business, Apple Maps, and Yelp. You can head over to our blog to check out the best business directories to list your business in 2020. Next, display accurate information by making sure every listing has NAPWCHD consistency:
N – Business Name
A – Address
P – Phone Number
W – Website
C – Categories
H – Hours
D – Description
2. Engage With Consumers As They Explore Your Brand
Once the consumer is able to gain better understanding of your brand, here are some deeper questions you should keep in mind to provide a seamless customer experience:
- What separates your products and services from the competition?
- What can make the purchase process smoother for the customer?
- What are my customer’s pain points?
- Where can they reach my business for information and customer service?
As the consumer goes further along the customer lifecycle journey, they begin to look at other sources to make a better informed decision about your brand like social media and reviews. More and more people are increasingly turning to social media as a secondary resource for business information during the pandemic. By having a strong online presence on social media, your business will raise more brand awareness and reach consumers.
92% of consumers read online reviews when weighing out a brand’s products or services. With reviews being seen as one of the most trustworthy resources available, it’s essential for your brand to optimize for reviews. By responding to all reviews, your brand will show consumers that you are taking the time to address customer feedback. Reviews not only provide consumers with a lot more detail, they also are utilized as an unbiased source, in comparison to what your brand has to say of itself. In this stage, consumers are comparing you to other brands who essentially provide the same services and products as yours. Your review star rating serves as valuable evidence as to why your brand should be chosen over another.
“Where to buy” + “near me” mobile queries have grown by over 200% in the past two years. Local pages address the local intent consumers have when they are searching for products and services nearest them. By creating a local page for every location, you can capture the consumer’s local intent and help them easily find your closest business location. Tools on local pages such as optimized local content, SEO optimization, and location finders all give consumers the ability to easily locate and purchase from your brand.
These are all valuable in addressing the customer journey experience. When answered and implemented correctly, your business will start to build a valuable relationship with your customers, which will go a long way in creating repeat business.
3. Redefine the Purchasing Process for Your Customer
An elevated omnichannel presence will make the process to purchase much smoother for your customers. Consumers are searching for your products and services on multiple channels, from your website, to social media, in-store and more. Ensuring every channel is connected and consistent will make it much easier for your customer to navigate through your business. Implementing these services will help your brand maximize revenue and success with your customers:
- Curbside Pickup
- No-Contact Delivery
- Mobile App
- Location Pages
- Online Ordering
- Virtual Product Experiences & Tours
- Contactless Payment Services (Apple Pay, Google Pay, Venmo)
4. Follow Up With An Exceptional Customer Care Experience
Once a customer uses your service or product, your brand needs to follow up with an exceptional customer care experience. Reviews come in handy here because this is the next stop customers will make to discuss their experience with your brand. Your brand needs to respond appropriately and try to make it right with the customer if they had a poor experience. Think about keeping open lines of communication anywhere else customers may express feedback as well, whether it’s through chatbots, over the phone, social media, reviews, or email. Due to the fact that customers can’t resolve their questions or concerns with your brand in-store, your business needs to provide additional areas for customer care online. Whichever way your customers choose to reach out to you, your business should be there with great service.
5. Ask Your Customers for Their Feedback
Successful businesses not only listen to their customer’s feedback, they continuously implement it into their products and services for customer retention. Asking and implementing this feedback shows the value you place in every customer. Sending out surveys will give your brand insight into the experience your customer had with your brand. Automating your survey process with tools like Chatmeter’s custom feedback surveys can help you quickly integrate your customer’s wants and needs through survey templates.
6. Build Longer Relationships by Engaging With Your Customers
After your customer has purchased from your business, the most important thing to keep in mind is to understand how you can engage with customers to create brand loyal fans. Brand loyal advocates are customers who develop an affinity for your brand, ultimately recommending your products and services to their friends and family. This requires continuously engaging and strengthening your relationships with your customers, a fundamental aspect of retaining customers during this pandemic. By engaging with your customers, they’ll feel more confident in purchasing from a brand who they know cares about them.
Engaging with customers encourages customers to purchase your products and services repeatedly. 75% of consumers say they favor companies that offer rewards. Incentivize your customers with brand loyalty programs, email promotions and discounts, reward programs to reward your loyal customers. In addition, your brand can show off loyal fans by sharing what they have to say about your business on social media. Look to user-generated content and be active with consumers on social media to build relationships and create a sense of community. Maintaining brand loyalty plays a large role in customer retention, and boosts profits from 25% to 95%.
Addressing these new changes in the 2020 customer journey will go a long way in boosting your brand’s online visibility and customer retention. Consumers are changing how they choose to interact with businesses now as a result of the pandemic. By adapting your strategy to meet these changing behaviors, your business will be able to provide a seamless experience and reach more customers today. Our Chatmeter experts can help your brand enhance your brand’s customer journey with our all in one local SEO and reputation management platform.