While company style guides and brand standards are essential for creating a consistent brand identity, they can sometimes lead to tone-deaf marketing when it relates to the customer experience.

This is because many brands make the mistake of mapping the customer journey from their internal perspective based on business processes, profitability or other internal initiatives. When it comes to cultivating a meaningful connection, marketers should ditch this point of view and shift their perspective to the eyes of the consumer.

Creating long-term loyalty and customer engagement is vitally important in today’s market and there is no better way to do this than to provide relevant customer experiences. I sat down with two successful franchisees — Stacy Adams of Fitness Together and Simon Foster of Elements Massage to get their perspective on this topic. Here’s what I uncovered…

Lay the foundation, listen and learn.

Just like the beginning of any relationship, when laying the foundation for an effective customer journey, it is important to do your research and get to know the other person. Do your homework on your customers and provide outlets for them to easily provide feedback on their experiences. Sometimes, the simplest tip is to take a step back, quiet your brand voice and listen when customers are talking.

“Elements Massage is a membership based business. Our foundation is built on building long-term loyalty,” said Elements Massage owner, Simon Foster. “The more you can listen to customers and create an impactful brand relationship, the more likely they will repeat their business and refer their friends.”

Take the time to understand customer behavior. 

This is so important – not only with your business or product, but overall. What are the competing or substitute products and services that your best consumer or client prefers? How does their customer
experience with those brands compare to yours?

Furthermore, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed because every customer doesn’t follow the same “path” or demonstrate the same behaviors. Don’t let this distract you –focus on the most typical or common customer journey and work on getting that right. Then you can shift your focus to a different path later.

“Baby steps are key for adapting the customer journey, but it is also important to stay focused on what you do and why you do it; this means your business might not be a good fit for every person who walks in the door, and that’s okay!” said Stacy Adams, Fitness Together owner.

Measure customer engagement. 

Develop a foundation that allows you to measure customer interactions across touch points – both online and offline.This will provide you with the necessary inputs to create data-driven insights to improve your future customer journey.

Digital touch points are often the easiest to measure, but remember to focus on non digital touch points too. These are more challenging to quantify, but will give you a more complete picture of your customer

To read the rest of the article featured in Franchising USA by Trever Ackerman, Chief Marketing Officer of WellBiz Brands, Inc. and Fitness Together, page 36-37 after you CLICK HERE.