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Unlocking success: How to embrace a holistic approach to customer journeys

Discover how &Open's focus on thoughtful gifting fosters positive connections and customer advocacy.

&Open3 min2023-09-26

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A holistic approach to the customer journey

In a bygone era, the relationship between a customer and a shopkeeper was almost sacred. They knew each other intimately, extending lines of credit, sharing in family celebrations, and even knowing how much butter you needed each week. Commerce was personal, and trust was implicit. However, as commerce scaled and populations sprawled, personal interactions gave way to remote sales via phone, telesales, and eventually digital channels. In pursuit of rapid scale and efficiency, the human touch in customer interactions began to erode.

Enter the concept of the "funnel," a term coined by ad agency executive Elias St. Elmo Lewis. The funnel mapped a theoretical customer journey, starting from awareness and progressing through interest, desire, and action. It treated customers as pawns advancing toward a business's goals, reducing personal connections to mere conversions.

Want to understand more about the B2B sales funnel? Read our blog: The definitive guide to B2B sales.

But as markets expanded and evolved, the pursuit of customer loyalty became more challenging yet more valuable than ever. The tide has turned, and a shift towards a customer-centric approach is underway, symbolized by the "flywheel." Unlike the funnel, the flywheel prioritizes customers and their experiences. It recognizes that happy customers generate momentum and energy by evangelizing your brand to new customers, ultimately fueling your company's growth.

As Michael Redford, General Manager of Hubspot's Service Hub, aptly puts it:

In ever-expanding and evolving markets, loyalty is harder to attain and becoming more valuable than ever.

Michael Redford

Today, we find ourselves in a world dedicated to the customer and their experience, within the flywheel. Customer retention and delight are now integral to every moment, and building customer satisfaction and relationships over time is a core business priority across all teams.

A holistic approach to the customer journey

A holistic approach to the customer journey

But how can we stay close to customers on their journey? How can we foster positive connections at relevant touchpoints? It involves three key strategies:

  1. Prioritize the human experience: Infuse a customer-centric mindset into all facets of your business, from sales and marketing to customer experience. Prioritize the human element in every interaction.
  2. Reduce friction thoughtfully: While eliminating friction is important, do so thoughtfully to maintain customer engagement and leave room for continuous improvement. Learn why creating UX friction can lead to a higher gift redemption rate.
  3. Gifting as a powerful tool: Consider thoughtful corporate gifting as a strategic tool to regularly attract, engage, and delight your customers. It's a tangible way to express appreciation, mend relationships, and create memorable moments.
  4. Learn from success stories: Explore real-world examples of businesses that have successfully adopted customer-centric strategies. Understand their journeys and adapt relevant lessons to your own organization. Learn more about how Intercom leveraged strategic gifting to delight customers and nurture client relationships.
  5. Measure and adapt: Implement key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the impact of your customer-centric efforts. Continuously gather feedback and adjust your strategies based on customer insights.

By incorporating these takeaways into your business practices, you'll not only navigate the complexities of the modern customer journey but also build enduring relationships that drive growth and success.

At &Open, we focus on the third strategy; corporate gifting. What could be more engaging and delightful than receiving a thoughtful surprise? It allows you to express gratitude and show your employees and customers that you care.

In this hyper-digital age, a well-considered gift landing in your customer's hands can be exceptionally impactful. It creates real-world moments that prioritize the human experience and demonstrate genuine empathy. Thoughtful gifting serves as a bridge for teams across the entire business—sales, marketing, and customer experience—to connect with customers, ultimately converting them into active brand advocates.

Most importantly, thoughtful gifting transforms customers into people once again. They become individuals with whom you can interact and come to know through meaningful moments. While the flywheel may not replicate the local store's intimacy, it rekindles that feeling of thoughtfulness and personalization, a sensation we've only recently reclaimed in an era of cold digital storefronts.

In this age of digital commerce, let's not forget the power of personal touch, for it's the human experience that truly sets your brand apart.

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