I walk to a local coffee shop every morning, at the same time. It’s my version of commuting to work in a virtual work environment. As I waited in line and recognized the other two “regulars” ahead of me, I realized that I knew exactly what their orders were going to be. The first person got their usual 4 shots of espresso with a splash of two percent milk and then the other regular ordered a black coffee. I ordered the same thing that I normally do—an extra hot almond milk latte. The baristas always say, “Hey Leah, your usual, right?” and for some reason that gesture, as simple as it may be, really makes me feel delighted. As I observed how each person went about ordering, how the baristas interacted with them, and then how we went on our separate ways, it occurred to me that this is an “in the wild” example of why customer journeys should be designed for personas. How people take their coffee are like the differences that make each persona unique—there are underlying needs and motivations behind the coffee orders. These differences influence what their expectations may be for their coffee shop journey and how the coffee shop is best positioned to support and accommodate their needs to drive customer loyalty, advocacy, and satisfaction.
But really, how does this coffee shop journey apply to better marketing?
The next day, I went back to the coffee shop, and I noticed the owner was replenishing the shelves with a new blend of coffee. As I was waiting, they thanked me for being a regular and asked if there was anything that the team could do to make sure that I stay a regular. We chatted for a few minutes and I noticed another regular, who always orders online, pick-up their order and was in and out within seconds without speaking to anyone. These coffee shop interactions created a light bulb moment for me. I really enjoy personal interaction and love to talk to people, I felt as though that coffee shop owner recognized that I like to be listened to and give feedback in that way vs. the other regular—their persona may be more likely to offer feedback in the app that they ordered their coffee as they are walking to their destination to save time. Personas in CX and marketing are a synthesis of empathetic research that paints a picture of how a like group of people may operate, what their goals and needs are, and how they might want to interact and be listened to. So, the point of this anecdote is to begin to help you to address a common challenge that comes up in conversations with CX and marketing leaders: How do I gather more insightful feedback from customers? Your brand can be a better at engaging with your customers, be a better listener, and be more successful at gathering feedback from “your regulars” if you use persona-driven journeys to inform the way you listen and help your customers. In a recent Qualtrics XM Institute study, over half of consumers agreed that brands need to do a better job at listening to feedback. Brands are missing an opportunity to listen better by leveraging persona driven journeys to enhance your approach.
How you can better approach and interact with your customers can be learned from the journey, but those moments are also a part of the customers’ journey itself. Whether you do this well shapes their perception of your brand’s ability to recognize their needs. If you take the time to use your persona-driven journeys, you might find that your customers are more likely to receptive and responsive. By listening and learning from our clients, Gartner has created a step-by-step guide (note you’ll need a subscription to access) to help develop persona-driven journeys so that you can begin to build deeper relationships with your customers.
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