Your customers experience an increasingly mobile customer journey that is strongly influenced by ads, apps and social media. In the course of this, there are numerous touchpoints for you as an entrepreneur to interact with. In the following article, you will learn how best to reach your customers – and ideally pick them up.
Mobile is the new agile
Those who rely only on their own homepage and advertising one or two ads in local newspapers as their company’s presence will miss out on the chance of a modern, communicative image. How do such entrepreneurs imagine a potential customer? Are there really still enough disinterested buyers who make their purchase decision true to the motto “What the farmer doesn’t know, he doesn’t like”? Which would mean they only visit those dealers and shops that they have long been familiar with. It’s nice if you can call such loyal regular customers your own, but if they disappear one day, from where do you acquire new customers?
Without mobile communication today, it is hardly possible to build an appropriate and, above all, profitable company. Optimizing the homepage for mobile devices, integrating apps, sending bulk SMS and using social media channels are just a few examples of how to increase reach. For many, however, the question arises which type of communication they should invest in, to what extent these investments are worthwhile at all, and whether in the end they really appeal to the target group that suits their products or services.
Accompanying the entire customer journey and being present at every step is, of course, one possibility. However, this is both time-consuming and cost-intensive. It usually makes more sense to have a thoroughly planned strategy that targets touchpoints and picks up customers precisely. But you have to be quite mobile and committed.
Reaching customers means reaching their mobile devices
Consumers are increasingly using mobile phones, tablets and notebooks for their search and purchases from start to finish. These devices play an essential role in the lives of consumers. Thus, the success of a company also depends on its mobility. Parallel to the growing number of smartphones and the like, the time spent with them is increasing.
Especially tablets combine the advantages of mobile communication with those of a sufficiently large display, intuitive handling and comfort in size and weight.
Desktop devices, on the other hand, are becoming less and less important when it comes to customer journeys. However, this does not mean that they should be neglected when planning a marketing strategy. Since many systems are integrated across devices, they are used accordingly. Companies must therefore ensure that their communications are compatible throughout.
Communication needs of customers
Consumers are showing a clear trend towards mobile contact. What used to be the service hotline is now the live chat. Sometimes this is just as frustrating from the customer’s point of view. Automated announcements, standard answers, waiting times – and no professional competence far and wide. Meanwhile, such support offers can also be evaluated online for everyone in a comprehensible way. And so it is up to the companies to improve their communication tools before negative opinions spread. At this point, sustainability also means responding to poor ratings and publicly accepting criticism.
The customer himself wants to have a direct line to the label of his products. Questions often arise about the application, production or ingredients. Here again transparency plays an important role. And this is exactly where entrepreneurs and customers meet at so-called touchpoints.
Communication needs of companies
Of course, it is up to the companies themselves to decide how much they want to disclose or which topics they prefer to communicate. Naturally, every company also has taboo topics, about which no information may reach the public. Some explosive events, on the other hand, should first go to the press agencies as unique content before the social media community rushes to it.
Here it needs to be differentiated clearly which content is appropriate, important or at least nice-to-have. Often it is even the supposedly irrelevant topics that motivate customers to buy. Simply because timeless still works. This could be, for example, information on the supply chain, payment modules or corporate philosophy.
The exact matching of continuity and timeliness is a great challenge for marketing. Thus, choosing the right touchpoints is not that easy.
Touchpoints of the mobile Customer Journey
Not every customer trip is the same. In addition, there are countless possibilities for interpretation on the part of the companies. Some interfaces, however, can almost always be found. As part of the process, they have fixed placements on the customer journey.
Demand meets awareness
The customer has a problem, needs something or is looking for a certain solution. Sometimes these needs only emerge when he sees an advertisement and suddenly realises that he still lacks exactly this product or that he absolutely wants it. This is, of course, the easiest way for everyone involved. However, it also happens that some customers have a problem, but do not even know what solutions there are or what would be possible at all.
Companies can then
- arouse the need through targeted advertising. This means segmenting the target group, selecting advertising tools and hitting the right tone.
- Intercept search queries, for example through well-prepared content, shops and rankings. Attention must be paid to responsive design.
- Inform the customer extensively about their proposed solutions, with as wide a reach as possible. Social media is ideally suited for this.
Research meets selection
Before a customer makes a final decision, thorough research and comparison is carried out. The competition inevitably appears here. Therefore it is important to convince with good results and an even better selection of products/services. This orientation phase is very often completed via mobile devices. Using various channels also promotes communication diversity and increases your chances of intercepting customers.
As search modules serve:
- your own web shop, clear and intuitive to use, with detailed information about the offer.
- Comparison portals in which competitors can be compared directly. Classification also takes place.
- Blog campaigns, video tutorials and specialist articles explain all the details of the offer. Pictorial language and visualizations are usually preferred.
In order for a purchase decision to be made, the way must be paved, if possible, without stumbling blocks or other obstacles. For example, anyone who points out difficulty in this context, e.g. by rating form/assessment, should be contacted by the company immediately. Ideally, there should be a corresponding link that other customers can also use.
In addition, the purchase process should be as easy as possible, thanks to:
- a clear interface. The website or shop should be operable with just a few clicks. Navigation and internal links should be set up accordingly.
- a functional customer account. An integrated login area allows customers to create watch lists, save personal data and view, change, cancel or re-trigger orders that have been placed.
- order in just a few steps. Once the customer data has been created, an order should be placed quickly. Shopping cart, general terms and conditions and a possibility for comments are essential. Data protection is also important.
Conclusion or payment
It is not uncommon for IT experts to observe a cancellation of orders in the area of payment options. Especially for mobile devices, many shops are not yet sufficiently optimized in this respect. If the payment procedure is too complicated, many customers shy away from making the purchase at the last moment.
Therefore it is recommended:
- offer several payment options. These can be, for example, credit card, prepayment, immediate bank transfer and purchase on invoice.
- to integrate trustworthy partners. Especially Paypal is very popular for mobile Shopping. The access data can be stored on the device and the purchase is completed within seconds. Equally user-friendly are various payment providers such as Klarna (purchase on invoice), Coinpayment (payments with crypto currency) or Billsafe (also from Paypal, but on invoice).
- to pay attention to international transactions. Depending on the country, specific regulations apply to how a payment is to be processed. In particular, customs duties, transport costs and the disclosure of VAT must be taken into account. This is the responsibility of the supplier – not the customer.
Receipt of the goods
The customer journey does not end with the purchase itself. First, the customer decides on delivery and condition upon receipt, before actual customer satisfaction is achieved.
What can companies do at this point?
- Fast shipping: Customers who have to wait a long time for their order will rarely order again in this shop.
- Safe shipping: Goods should arrive safely at their destination, well packaged and in perfect condition. Traces of use must be avoided.
- Shipment tracking: The tracking number allows the customer to track the deliveries himself. Delivery services also offer e-mail or SMS notification of when delivery is expected to take place.
Usability and benefits
If you want to reach your customers lastingly, you have to deliver the right quality. Intuitively operable products with high value are only one part of the success concept. Operating instructions can be extended, for example, by application notes, recipe suggestions or similar. These could contain a link, QR field or SMS code where the consumer can call up further information online.
How can the customer still be picked up at this point?
- Thank them for the purchase and suggest suitable products, e.g. from the same series.
- Ask for feedback. The customer can be contacted easily in the form of email or SMS and can react as desired.
- Offer support. If questions about the product arise, you must be able to help immediately.
The big goal: customer loyalty
Ideally, the customer will buy from you again and again after such an effectively designed customer journey. But the competition doesn’t sleep either. So it’s always a question of maintaining interest and manifesting loyalty to the brand or the company.
There are a few popular solutions for customer loyalty:
- Loyalty programs, such as collecting points, which can then be redeemed in the shop.
- Subscriptions that grant discounts when buying a product on a regular basis.
- Special promotions such as sales, friends recruit friends, votes, events and so on.
These are just a few of the touchpoints that are available. It is always important to know your target group exactly and to estimate when and where they can best be reached. However, the customer journey is a dynamic process full of variables, which means staying tuned, knowing the trends and developing an excellent strategy.