5 Steps To Support Meandering Multi-Device Customer Journeys

January and February were brutal for travel in the Northeast. I am painfully aware of it, since I had travel scheduled for each of those four weeks to Boston, which was hit with record snow. The snow led to flight delays and cancellations, and I saw the same scenario play out week after week: tired travelers at the airport, trying to reschedule their canceled or delayed flights. Many were trying to talk to airline representatives on their phones, while using a tablet, laptop or a ticketing kiosk to do the same thing. This was an extreme situation, but is still representative of a majority of the customer experience journeys of today, which are very different and much more complex than those of a few years ago.

Gone are the days when a business could dictate the channels a customer had to use to engage with them. Customers today use multiple devices and expect not only to get the same customer experience on each of their devices, but also expect it to be optimized for every device. In addition, they increasingly use multiple devices to complete a single transaction. According to a recent Forrester report, 80% of US online adults have used more than one device at a time, and 67% have switched devices when completing common tasks such as shopping online, by either starting on a PC and moving to a phone or tablet, and vice versa.

How does a business satisfy and delight users in today’s meandering multi-device customer journeys? Here are 5 steps to get started:

  1. Pay close attention to user context
    Your customers use different devices and channels while interacting with your business, and their behavior often differs based on context of use. Understanding when and why customers use different devices and channels for different parts of their customer journey is the first step in being able to meet their needs.
  2. Design a consistent customer experience across devices and channels
    With customer journeys of today being spread across multiple devices and channels, businesses need to ensure that they are designing a consistent experience across all their devices and channels. This not only applies to the surface-level of look and feel, but also to other aspects like content organization and feature offerings so that customers do not have to re-think their experience based on the device or channel.
  3. Create device-specific experiences
    On the face of it, this sounds contradictory to the previous point, but it really is not. By using device specific features and functionality, the experience on that particular device can be enhanced. Think of how mobile device features like Touch ID, GPS, cameras, microphones and sensors can be used to improve the experience on that device.
  4. Maintain continuity in experience across devices
    Allow customers to pick up where they left off, even if it was on another channel. One such example is how readers can stop reading an Amazon Kindle book in their phone app, continue exactly where they left off on their Kindle device, and maybe finish that book on their computer.
  5. Start thinking about wearables
    Wearable devices are no longer just for early adopters. With that in mind, look at how you can design your customer experiences to support wearable devices at a minimum, or how you can enhance the customer experience using sensors within wearable devices.

The customer journeys of today are long, meandering and multi-device experiences. The customer is in charge now – and a good reminder is that we call it “customer experience” and not “company experience”.