The constantly growing number of choices for customers mean many aspects of our products and services are in danger of becoming commoditized, but customer experience is not one of them.

Importance of Customer Experience

Gartner reports that “By 2017, due to internet-enabled price visibility, the digital customer experience will be the key differentiator of your organization.”

But it’s not only digital — customers expect consistent, seamless, high value experiences – both digital and in-person. If you don’t give it to them, they will go somewhere else.

Providing Outstanding Customer Experiences

How can associations continue to provide outstanding customer experiences to remain relevant to members and prospects?

Similar to commercial brands, associations have to view every interaction through the lens of the customer.  Sounds simple, but its easier said than done.

At a minimum, associations have to understand and manage their touchpoints. Customer touchpoints are your brand’s points of customer contact. Examples include online advertising, social media, direct emails, customer service, events and conferences, membership joins and renewals, purchases, and surveys.

It’s important to carefully manage each point of interaction. A single negative touchpoint can sour the customer on the overall experience.

Customer Journeys

Interestingly, the research shows that careful attention to individual touchpoints may not be enough. The customer experience with your association happens over a period of time, across multiple channels, and most importantly, across multiple business functions. These multichannel, cross-functional interactions are called Customer Journeys.

Consider a customer registering for an event.

In this example, the customer navigates through multiple channels (print, website, direct mail, word of mouth, social media, in person).

In addition, their touchpoints span multiple departments (Marketing, PR, Events, Publications, Member Services, Finance). Each department has different goals and performance measures for their customer interactions. The challenge is to move away from this siloed approach to managing customer interactions.

When we think of the journey instead of just individual moments, we can see each touchpoint influences the others and the whole journey is greater than the sum of its parts. This cross-functional, customer-centric view is the essential first step to analyzing and improving your customer’s journeys.

Customer Journey Analytics

To understand customer journeys, you need Customer Journey Analytics – analyzing how customers use the available channels and touchpoints to interact with our organizations. You can read more about Customer Journey Analytics in Association Analytics® News and subscribe to our monthly newsletter for more information on the latest trends in nonprofit data analytics.