Customer Journey Mapping in the Internet Age

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Customer Journey mapping is an integral part of customer experience design. Customer journey maps help to understand the 360 degree view of customer experience lifecycle. While designing the customer experience for any business, it is very important to start with a holistic customer journey map.

 

 

How it began

Earlier, life was simple and easy. There were only brick and mortar stores to shop from. Customers would visit shops and supermarkets and come out with bags full of products. But in late 90’s, the Internet changed the entire ballgame. Everything became connected. Customers now have a “border free” pass to shop. Options increased and so did competition among brands. Life became complicated for brands and simpler for customers.

Every shopping experience has a journey with arbitrary starting and ending-points. Brands try to articulate this journey by drawing an end-to-end customer journey map. An effective customer journey map represents the journey of the customer from the initial desire/need of a product/service to its fulfillment.

With the huge penetration of mobile and social channels in our lives, the previous notion of effectiveCustomer journey map (CjM) is fading. Customer journey is not simple anymore. The traditional funnel has transformed into a never ending loop. Customers are always active on one or the other channel and different customer segments may take different paths to complete the same objective.

Take this for instance, traditionally a person would call customer-support of the respective service provider and log a complaint regarding pathetic speed of his 3G connection. A modern, net-savvy customer may just log a complaint onto the service provider’s website. But, for the same issue, a millennial may just post a negative comment (“3G service sucks”) on the service provider’s FB page and expect the company’s representative to respond and resolve. The goal remained same, but the paths taken by the customers were different, and so would their experiences.

 

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So what should be done?

Customer Journey Mapping is not new. Early adapters and evolved brands have used it for long to deliver rich experience across all the touch-points and throughout the channels. Amazon and Nike are best examples of retail giants who have used “Customer Journey mapping” as their tool-kit to deliver seamless in-storeonline and out-of-store experience.

In the age of customer, it’s necessary to have seamless Omni channel experience across all  possible paths of the customer journey. Social media and mobile have added new channels in the customer journey but it’s of prime importance that we do not create new customer journey with inclusion of new channels. Customers relate with the products and brands instead of the silos, they want the flexibility to seamlessly interact with both traditional and modern channels.

Companies are required to understand that each touch-point is an opportunity to deliver better customer experience.  Brands should know different customer segments and all possible paths in a consumer’s journey. A holistic CjM is required for seamless customer experience throughout the journey and across the channels regardless of the paths. For mapping a holistic customer journey brands need to consider:

  • Omni-channel experience (in-store, online and Out-of-store)
  • All possible touch-points
  • Interaction between customer and touch-points
  • Customer emotions at different channels and touch points
  • Connected channels

The benefits of early CX adopters are slowly fading as customers already have a lot of CX oriented companies to choose from.  The present age requires that organizations refrain from self-centered policies and adopt a customer-centric view instead.  It is the era of holistic customer journey maps and delivering memorable experiences.

By: Shantanu Singh

5 Key Business Functions Social Media Can Enhance

Fact: ‘72.6% of salespeople who use social media outperform their colleagues who aren’t using it.’

There is no denying the fact that social media, if done right, can do wonders for a business. Most organizations depend on some kind of funding or revenue. They have to keep either customers or stakeholders or both happy. Social media can help satisfy these needs. Let’s get into the specifics of which business functions can be amplified with social media.

Sales

Like all other communication channels, social media can help drive sales revenue. When it comes to leveraging social media to increase sales for an organization, acquiring net new customers via social channels and converting them via social engagement are two basic ways of driving sales. If you try to be creative enough, you can also leverage social media to increase the number and frequency of customer transactions in addition to increasing the yield (buy rate) of customer transactions.

You can also increase sales by amplifying the reach of the marketing campaigns.

EXAMPLE:

You want to increase sales of your newly launched perfume. You create an ad campaign for it, with PR and other marketing and promotional collaterals. 10 years ago, this would mean TV, radio, print, billboards, events, dealer incentives, point of purchase displays, and trade reviews. It is still relevant today, except that media environment is richer today. Television ads and other videos have huge audience on YouTube. Blogs can enhance the relevance and depth of content around the new perfume. Facebook presence can be leveraged to promote discussions, publish videos and articles, schedule events, launch contests and distribute offers.

Companies can also promote special sales and offers directly through social platforms without being too pushy!

Customer Support

Today brands are at an advantage since most of the conversations and mentions of a company or brand happen openly out there on social. It implies that your customer support department can easily monitor on what is being talked and how the public opinion of your brand is faring. A brand now has the power to spot trouble, help the customers in need and immediately sort out the issues. It all depends on the brand whether to make or mar its reputation in front of the customers.

Human Resources

You can either sift through piles of resumes or hire through trusted networks of peers, colleagues and friends. You can either take your chances on strangers or trust someone you know has your best interest in mind to recommend only qualified applicants they think will be a good fit.

I am sure it’s easy to make a choice here. 🙂

Public Relations

Social media has direct and immediate impact on the way your business is perceived in public. The ability to monitor online mentions of a company name or particular product or service gives companies the opportunity to respond to negative attitudes, invalidate false humor and separate myth from fact.

This practice is commonly called as ‘online reputation management’ or ‘digital reputation management’.

Business Intelligence

Everything in social media is easy to monitor and searchable. Access to Business Intelligence is now cheaper, faster and richer.  From keyword searches to analysis covering share of voice, sentiment, and volume of mentions, the amount of actionable information a company can capture on the social web is mind blowing!

Social media is one of the most important areas of focus when it comes to social media integration for organizations. It’s the first area a brand should look into.

Get your social stuff going then!

By: Prerna Singh

Designing for Dyslexic Users

Dyslexia_Mervin

Dyslexia is a learning disability which is often overlooked while designing accessible websites. However dyslexia is fairly common among young users and should be definitely considered while designing sites which might cater to children. Dyslexia also occurs among adults and hence designing for it should also be a factor while designing any site irrespective of whether it caters to children or adults.

So what exactly is Dyslexia?

The British Dyslexia Association defines dyslexia as:

“A combination of abilities and difficulties that affect the learning process in one or more of reading, spelling and writing.

Accompanying weaknesses may be identified in areas of speed of processing, short-term memory, sequencing and organization, auditory and/or visual perception, spoken language and motor skills. It is particularly related to mastering and using written language, which may include alphabetic, numeric and musical notation.”

As per the Dyslexia research institute, 15% of the US population is dyslexic while about while about 10% of the UK population suffers from dyslexia.

The challenges faced by dyslexics has been highlighted in a number of movies including Taare Zameen Par which was India’s official entry for the Best Foreign Film award in the 2009 Academy Awards.

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So how do I design for dyslexic users?

When asked to design for accessibility, designers are overawed by the large number of requirements and expected levels of compliance which are needed to make a site accessible.

While it is of critical importance that your site should be accessible to provide a uniform experience to all users despite them being differently abled, designing for dyslexic users is relatively simpler provided some design principles are adhered to as elaborated below:

1. Avoid using justified text

Justified text was introduced while designing for print as the straight line of each margin can guide the eye across columns of text and the aligned columns help define the different areas of text creating a logical flow of words, thus enhancing readability.

That said, justified text in the web causes large uneven spaces between letters and words making it hard for people to read and even more harder for dyslexic users. When these words line up above one another, a distracting river of whitespace appears which causes dyslexic users to lose their bearing while reading content. This is called the river effect.

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2. Avoid double spacing after periods

While browsers eliminate redundant spaces, additional spaces present between the HTML content tags are retained. Hence double spacing after periods can confuse dyslexic users, as they can create “rivers” within text that make it difficult for users to find the end of sentences.

3. Avoid extremely high contrast between the text color and the background

While high contrast does enhance readability, extremely high contrast such as pure black text (#00000) on a white background (#FFFFFF) is hard for dyslexic users are they are sensitive to the brightness that high contrast colors cause resulting in the words to swirl around or blur for them.

How Dyslexic see

To avoid this, ensure the text color is a lighter shade of black like dark grey to ensure dyslexic users are not affected by the contrast.

This W3C article has good recommendations on the recommended contrast while designing for people with dyslexia.

4. Avoid using moving images

While moving images and flashy animations are distractions for everyone, they are even more severe for dyslexic users as they constantly distract them from their focus on the page and almost make the page unreadable for them. Hence while designing pages with animations, make sure they are very subtle and don’t distract the user from the content. However if possible avoid using animations at all.

5. Break your content down

While long lines are text are hard for users to read, it’s even harder for dyslexic users as they suffer from low concentration and can lose their place while reading long lines of text. Hence break down the text into smaller manageable pieces with a lot of white space and a suitable heading. To quote this research article on document design for dyslexic users

 

“Text should be chunked into groups according to subject matter. This breaks up long groups of text into more easily read sections. Chunked text should usually be grouped under a heading and spaced out, so the reader can easily tell apart each chunk. “

An excellent example is how apple does it

Apple_ Engineered to perfection

 

6. Choose your font correctly

While there are a number of font options available while designing for dyslexic users, If possible, use a sans-serif font. The decorative “hooks” on the main strokes of serif letters may create problems for dyslexic users.

This is because Serifs tend to obscure the shapes of letters, making the letters run together. But a sans-serif font would allow dyslexic users to see the shapes of letters clearer. This is because a lack of hooks increases the spacing between letters and makes them more distinguishable

Hence dyslexic users might see words with a washout effect as shown below:

Dyslexia User

 

Some good font choices while designing for dyslexic users are

  • Arial
  • Century Gothic
  • Verdana
  • Trebuchet
  • Lexia Readable ( free font designed specifically for dyslexic users)
  • Dyslexie (free font designed specifically for dyslexic users)
  • Sassoon (paid font designed for dyslexic children)
  • Sylexiad (paid font designed for dyslexic adults)

Designing for dyslexic users does not involve significant effort and if some preliminary efforts are taken during the design phase, you can make it so much easier for someone with dyslexia to view the site without frustration. It’s not easy to get information when you read with visual distortion. Everyone has the right to information, whether they’re dyslexic or not.

 

By: Mervin John Singh