The PR Adviser: The 4 Superheroes of the Customer Journey
Columnist Lilian Raji introduces readers to awareness, consideration, decision, and loyalty.
My sincerest apologies for keeping you. Family always takes precedence, and this year has found my family needing me more than before.
That is not to say, however, that I don’t consider you family! That is especially true of those who’ve been reading this column ever since my genius editor shared my vision for helping companies infiltrate the zeitgeist.
And the zeitgeist—commonly known as the spirit of the times—is where we begin today.
Whether your customers buy from retailers, or buy directly from you, we’re now living in an omnichannel world. This is the zeitgeist. You must meet your customers at every channel they choose to meet you.
Omnichannel and the customer journey go hand in hand.
Each channel represents an opportunity for your target customer to learn about you. Omnichannel fulfills the awareness portion of the customer journey, which is really our beginning.
Imagine, if you will, a Conclave of the Four Superheroes of the Customer Journey.
Our intrepid initiator, awareness presides over the conclave, decked out in a sparkly sequined cape because, how else are they going to be seen?
Awareness demands of you, “How does your target customer first find out about you?”
Once upon a time, “Saks!” would have been a sufficient answer if you are, for example, a designer. But we’re in a different zeitgeist now. Whether a designer or a retailer, your answer should include social media, digital adverting and, yes, the Metaverse.
(Spoiler alert: For a future column, I’ll be interviewing the Meta executive who recently awoke me to the possibilities of the Metaverse. Stay tuned!)
Your homework is to make a detailed list of how and where customers can and have found you. For my fellow overachievers, email your team and ask them to contribute to the list.
Don’t limit yourself to obvious answers. A client once found me from a question I answered on LinkedIn.
Another found me after asking a mutual friend, who was responsible for a competitor’s enviable publicity, and the friend pointed them in my direction. In this case, my reputation preceded me, followed by word of mouth. (Note what initiated the latter client’s customer journey to me.)
Developing a reputation for quality craftsmanship and exceptional customer service is a severely underrated part of the customer journey. If your quality is poor, your customer journey will end as soon as your target customer learns this.
Back to our conclave!
After awareness comes consideration, a bit more subdued in their no-nonsense Armani suit, a magnifying glass in hand, scrutinizing you with the same judgment with which Anna Wintour scrutinizes carbs.
Consideration stares unblinkingly at you and asks, “What are you doing to ensure your target customer buys, whether immediately or in the future?”
Bravo if you were ready with an answer, and double bravo if you understood this requires some thought.
But don’t worry if you weren’t—we’ll get there together.
Decision is next, spinning around with the glee of a child blazing down a waterslide. They are perpetually excited because every decision they make adds to their possession something that brings immense joy.
Decision stops spinning around for a moment to ask, “Now that your target customer has admitted to liking you, how are you going to seal the deal, my friend?”
I’m sensing those synapses are firing up again. I love it! Get your brain ready for when we explore the one, sole, and exclusive right answer.
Just kidding! There are many right answers, but how many of them are you maximizing? And how many involve building customer relationships?
This is where loyalty comes in.
Loyalty, adorned in a 24-karat gold cape embedded with Burmese rubies, padparadscha sapphires, Paraíba tourmalines, and black opals, oozes a seductive confidence because they know they’re the most precious hero in the room.
Loyalty removes their Gucci sunglasses, leans toward you with a smile both in their eyes and on their lips, and asks, “Since your target customer is now your actual customer, what are you doing to keep them coming back?”
Don’t worry if these questions intimidated you. Our upcoming agenda together is to learn and implement answers that will compel our superheroes to give you a standing ovation by the end of the conclave.
Before I leave you, friends, a confession: I have battled anxiety for as long as I can remember, fueled by an unwavering commitment to always doing what is right and not necessarily what is easy.
Those who have worked with me will tell you I’m a pain in the tuchus for this reason, but they can always depend on me to deliver on my word. Finding ways to manage my anxiety is the exclusive source of my resilience through both personal and professional turmoil. Remember, I’m on the 11th incarnation of my company!
I’ve been accepted into the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Miami program, where I’ve committed to helping the nonprofit nature reserve, Patch of Heaven Sanctuary, raise $50,000 by Dec. 1 to help build a Mindful Pocket Park.
Through this project, I’ve since learned 20 minutes in nature can help lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Attending to my own mental well-being is how I’ve sustained my commitments and rebounded after every reincarnation. The Mindful Pocket Park will offer everyone who visits Miami the tools to create such resiliency within themselves.
I have personally donated $500 toward the fundraising goal, along with more than $10,000 of in-kind services. Can you join me in making a donation? Tag #LMR in the donation message section so I know you’re with me.
If you match my donation by half—giving $250 or more or supporting the project in other ways—I will extend you five hours of my time for whatever your company needs. That’s $2,500 of my personal attention for a tax-deductible donation of $250 or more.
Just email your donation receipt to email@example.com, and you’ll have five hours with me to talk shop, plan your 2023 communications strategy, get matching tattoos or go bungee-jumping. Donor’s choice! Alas, I can only offer this to 10 people.
I’ll add a sweetener: those whose donation exceeds $250 will get prioritized in the final 10. If you truly blow me away with your donation, you’ll get a surprise worthy of your generosity. Nonetheless, I’ll still find some way to show gratitude to everyone who donates, no matter the amount.
Thank you for your support, in both reading this column and for this project. See you next month!
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