In part two of this series we'll look at a process for building a flexible model of potential customer interactions that can be used to support a larger customer experience strategy. The idea that it's "potential" interactions is key to the whole modeling process. Companies don't "control" customer interactions, customers do. So thinking about the stages that a prospect / customer might experience in making the decision to buy (and then buying) a product leads to a list of stages, but not a rigid and controllable sequence.
The stages of buying are loosely: Need - Brand Awareness - Education - Evaluation - Decision - Purchase - Advocate (there's also the opposite of advocate, but we'll ignore that for now). Or graphically, it could look like this, with the stages overlapping and not following a specific sequence:
This is purely focused on what the prospect / customer is doing and thinking, but not on the company at all. Yet the company could provide some input to these stages if there was a way for them to do so. This is where the modeling really comes in, think about the opportunity to interact during these stages and the potential touch points. The following matrix, which is very generic and high level (a necessary evil of trying to provide a broad understanding of the topic rather than an industry / company specific view), should at least provide some idea about the model.
Hopefully you get the idea. The tactics, which equate to a level down of detail for the Potential company actions column, are the real meat of the model, the actionable components of the process. Building the model is a reasonably straight forward process, but requires involvement from a broad section of organizations and individuals and takes a focused effort to get to a usable outcome. The stages can be customized to an industry (actually should be customized to the industry) by substituting an industry lexicon. For example maybe the buying stage is subscribing for a cable operator, or booking for a rail line. The idea is to make the model "your" model. Generally the process of building the model uses this process:
- Define stakeholders
- Define data sources (really critical to make the model data driven. Collecting as much social and transaction data about your customers to use a basis for the model is critical)
- Data collection
- Data analysis
- output / fill in detail tactics in the matrix
- continuous feedback and refinement
In the end the model must be a set of actionable strategies and tactics, it needs to define the tools, roles, activities, engagement opportunities in detail for your company. If it sounds like a lot of work it is, but what's more important to your business than your customers and understanding your customers in a deeper way. That's really what the model is all about.