Your perfect customer journey is based on balanced expectations

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If you fail to manage the customer’s expectations, your potential customer will drop-off and the journey ends.

Fake news has been a hot topic with the recent US presidential elections and several European elections coming up. It’s the perfect example of how clickbait is used to drive traffic. But what’s in it for the users? Fairly little actually. Best case scenario? They waste their time clicking on a link that wasn’t worth visiting. The worst case scenario is that they assume the story is true and share it with their friends. But what’s in it for the publisher? A bit more, given that the click drives traffic to their landing page, generating money for their advertisers and perhaps shifting public opinion as well.

In a time where we all the focus is on a customer-centric approach, this won’t hold up. Personally, I think it’s a trend that has gained a lot of attention in a season ruled by elections, but it’s not something new. And I believe this is where the power of social media will come in, where your social circle will start correcting you on fake news. Since there is no clear benefit for the user, the public will turn against it and develop ways to easily uncover these stories. There have already been several leaders in Tech who announced they will be fighting the fake news epidemic.

But at the same time, it’s a good example of a tactic that will never work for a consumer brand. But why exactly? What makes this so interesting? Through marketing, we’re all trying to influence the public opinion, but only by offering clear value for the consumer. The average customer journey is longer than this example, and stands or falls by the value the customer gains from each interaction. These ‘touchpoints’ will define the final outcome of the journey. If you fail to manage the customer’s expectations, your potential customer will drop-off and the journey ends.

The perfect journey

So, what does the perfect customer journey look like? Even though the length of the journey varies between B2C and B2B, it’s all based on managing expectations. The success of each touchpoint you have with your potential customer will be defined by how you fulfill their expectations. A happy consumer is a potential customer, but the trick is to tilt their expectations so that a potential customer will interact with your brand again.

Many brands try pulling in potential customers with clickbait. It’s not a bad tactic to have people click on your content and visit your site. But that sexy headline and hot picture will create a certain expectation with your visitor. If your content does not meet those expectations, you’ll be served with a bounce. And it’s not just a bounce: it’s a poor interaction with your brand that can continue to haunt you.

Balance, balance, balance

What most brands don’t realize is that they are actually the ones who set the expectation. By balancing the expectation to the extent that you are able to meet it, you’re in control of the touchpoint and able to steer this journey towards the next one. Do this for every touchpoint and it will lead you to the perfect customer journey. This, of course, rises or falls with the power of the product or service you’re offering.

Not entirely unimportant are the many touchpoints that follow the sale, which continue to be based on both expectation and relationship management. So, keep on setting and managing those expectations to create the perfect customer journey.

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