“Our customers are loyal to us right up until the second somebody offers them a better service,” Jeff Bezos said in a Fast Company interview about Amazon last year.
Similarly, Google published a 2015 study on mobile strategy that found that “people are more loyal to their need in the moment than to any particular brand.”
Google calls these needs in the moment “micro-moments” which they point to as the new battle ground for brands. Many brands are starting to map elaborate customer journeys to better understand the myriad “micro-moments” that lead to customers considering one product or service over another.
When walking the customer journey in our customer’s shoes (vicariously through customer journey maps), marketers often discover unintentional pain points — areas of friction that make it harder for customers to do business with our brands. Brands sometimes treat actual customer experience as an afterthought, in favor of paid media acquisition tactics.
The last time our family had to buy a dishwasher, our previous dishwasher had stopped working in a funny way. I came home to find water all over the kitchen floor and the letters “F.U.” flashing on the display. I later learned that “F.U.” stands for “Failed Unit”.
It struck me as a metaphor than brands sometimes unintentionally say “F.U.” to customers through customer experience. “F.U.” became an apt description for the apathetic attitude that particular brand took as we tried to troubleshoot what had happened with our old dishwasher and start the process of buying a new one. We ultimately went with a different brand, despite all of the retargeting ads our original dishwasher brand served us.
I’m struck by this insight from Google SVP Sridhar Ramaswamy:
“We’re heading toward an age of assistance where, for marketers, friction will mean failure, and mass messages will increasingly mean ‘move on.’”
Here are a few related cartoons I’ve drawn over the years.
“Customer Journey Mapping” April 2016
“The Customer Journey” September 2016
“We Appreciate your Business” August 2012