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Customer Journey Management is the Future of Small Business

Here's the story of the new customer journey, their way points, and how to reach them.

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The Expansion from Social to Digital Engagement

One of the ways I’ve defined “engagement” over the years was quite simple, when a business and consumer interact within their channel of relevance during various moments of truth.

Engagement though, is then measured by the actions, sentiment, and outcomes that result from each interaction. To optimize results, experiences, click paths, outcomes, and sentiment must be defined and enlivened through each channel in each moment. To do so takes vision, articulation of that vision, and collaboration with all stakeholder groups to cast a unified approach. Yes. It’s the age-old argument of bringing down silos and opening doors between departments and groups that just don’t talk to each other right now. But, that’s just what needs to happen and the more progressive companies are already taking note.

Uniting Disparate Channel Strategies

One such company is one that you’re more than familiar with. Starbucks appointed Adam Brotman, former senior vice president of Starbucks Digital Ventures, to an entirely new executive role, chief digital officer (CDO). The CDO role assumes all of Starbuck’s digital projects, which includes web, mobile, social media, digital marketing, Starbucks Card and loyalty, e-commerce, Wi-Fi, Starbucks Digital Network, and emerging in-store technologies.

Sephora is another forward thinking company that is uniting disparate channel strategies and various customer journeys in the name of holistic experiences. Sephora recently underwent a makeover to define the ideal customer experience and how it would play out in digital and real world channels, including in store engagement, while complementing and optimizing one another.

Perhaps a CDO is just the beginning. What we’re really talking about is someone who can bridge marketing, sales, customer service, and technology to create a frictionless path between customers and the business … at every step of the journey.

Perhaps it’s time to think about escalating the role to someone who can own the entire customer lifecycle and bring the people within the organization together to do it. To break down walls, someone must be able to show how and why everyone can and should work together and also what’s in it for them. It would take someone who isn’t tied to any one function, but instead someone who has everybody’s best interest inside and outside the organization to redefine the experience and how it’s formed and sustained.

The digital lifestyle is just a way of life now and businesses that don’t think beyond social or traditional will miss the greater opportunity to lead desirable customer journeys, experiences and outcomes.

Take one more look at the Dynamic Customer Journey. As you plan for social, mobile, digital, and other channel strategies, consider how each can converge into a reciprocal and congruous ecosystem. The future of customer experiences lies in experience design and more importantly, customer journey mapping … across the screens and IRL.

Welcome to a new world of customer journey management (CJM) and the ability to bring people together around a common vision for improving customer experiences, sentiment and relationships.

Connect with Brian Solis on Twitter.

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Photo: HUGO BOSS

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