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Enhancing Luxury Customer Experiences: The Power of Customer Journey Mapping

Clients often ask me how customer experience differs from marketing as a function, and I find the best way to explain the difference is by elaborating on the customer journey view. Marketers certainly try to understand the customer and finds ways to attract them through attention grabbing campaigns, events and targeted brand messaging. Customer Experience examines how customers are experiencing the brand at every moment.  The scope involves every micro and even mundane customer interactions that are supported by every business function like retail, e-commerce, tech, human resources and customer service.


The key to designing a unique customer experience is understanding what the customer expects from the brand and reflecting that across the customer journey. For example, we know luxury customers want to feel a sense of belonging to the brand. There are several ways the customer experience can achieve this; ensure the sales professional communicates the brand story in the welcome phase, invite the customer back and make them feel part of a community during the farewell phase, remember to stay connected with the customer with personalized communication, once they leave the store. 


Customer experience design requires the ability to think broad and deep and that’s why I recommend the customer journey tool. It facilitates three critical insights every business needs if they want to deliver a superior experience. The first is the outside in perspective – walking through the customer experience from the customer’s perspective and developing empathy for them.  The second is the ability to document and deep dive into micro interactions, and the third is solving for customer’s needs horizontally, across functions.


All three insights are especially critical when it comes to the luxury customer experience. Every micro moment matters – it’s the consistent action a brand takes that will deliver a memorable experience.


How can you use a customer journey map with your team to derive fresh insights?

1. Do it together: Bring a cross functional team together, involve few employees from your boutiques to get on the ground insights. Create a comfortable environment where everyone has a voice.

2. Map micro interactions: Choose a common customer scenario and map your customer journey – that means break it up into key phases from the time a customer becomes aware of the brand to post sales interactions. Then deep dive into each phase mapping the micro activities of the customer. Today the journey could be omnichannel as a customer jumps between channels. You will need a board and some sticky notes and markers to get started or use a virtual whiteboard like miro.

3. Identify points of friction & solutions: Now ask the team to stimulate customer empathy and think about the customer’s needs at every micro moment. For example, how does the customer feel when they are told they have to wait in line? Or how can we ensure the customer emotionally connects with the brand ? I find posing some questions at key moments helps facilitate the discussion and lead to concrete ideas.


Wrap up the discussion by reaching consensus on priority areas and assign execution responsibilities, which may even involve quick prototyping and testing of ideas before the next meeting.


The customer journey tool is a great addition to your weekly or monthly team meetings, as it helps visualise micro customer interactions that otherwise get lost, builds empathy for the customer, and allows the team from different functions to identify problems and ideate on solutions together.


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