Designing Customer Journeys for the Post-Pandemic World
Millions have opted for the COVID-19 vaccine and prepare to venture out into the world again. This means organizations are expecting relationships they previously had with their patrons to resume. Unfortunately, now is not the time to breathe a sigh of relief. In their personal lives, your supporters have faced uncertainty, strife, fear, and loss. And even though they’re getting back to many old things, they’re doing it with a whole new perspective. You must consider this when designing customer journeys.
Old supporters will come back to you, but only for a trial run. Right now, your organization should be stepping up to make it clear that you understand their new priorities. Adapting to the “new normal” is essential to re-shaping the donor journey and ensuring it meets the needs, preferences, and behaviors of your supporters as they re-emerge in the market. So, how do you do it?
Be Supporter-Centric, Not Organization-Centric
There’s no doubt that your organization’s supporters are integral to your operations, and they’re quite happy about it. Every time a supporter sees a goal met, a mission completed, or a life changed, your organization gains loyalty, advocacy, and future donations. So, why do so many donor journeys focus on organizational outcomes instead of supporter outcomes?
Many organizations approach the donor journey in a way that tries to manipulate the supporter into a good result for the organization when, in reality, the organization merely needs to focus on giving the supporter what they want (like information on what their donation does and where it goes) to get the ideal outcome for both supporter and organization. All the while, the supporter would gladly give the organization what they need with no need for force, tricks, or manipulation if they simply had what they wanted.
The concept of having to steer a supporter to a certain organizational outcome is so engrained in the world of business that we’ve dubbed it “the funnel.”
Some organizations take a particularly self-focused approach. They have just a single “donor journey” that’s basically a vertical funnel turned sideways. Think of a livestock chute prodding supporters toward whatever outcome the company has chosen. The corrals they force supporters into, ranging from stages of “awareness” to “action,” are all trapped by the context of what the company wants instead of what the supporter wants.
Flexibility Driven by Needs, Not Touch Points
Donors have more choices than ever when it comes to how, when, and where they engage with you. However, the last year limited supporters. They had to deal with interactions via website, app, chat, text, social media, or maybe phone. This means they’re more comfortable with these methods now than ever before, regardless of their demographic.
Over the past year, your organization has surely opened up new channels of interaction or pivoted to be more responsive on some or all of these channels, given that “traditional” engagement was minimal or nonexistent for much of that time. With that said, you must remember to re-think your donor journey. You can no longer tie it to rigid “touch points.”
Customer Journeys Don’t Need Tradition
Traditionally, donor journeys have portrayed a very specific and linear series of interactions. Think of a donor seeing an ad offline and responding by visiting your website. From that point, you can re-target them to social media. Of course, they may then go back to your website where they enter their email, and so on. The problem is, your supporters aren’t following a script. And since they now have more ways to interact with you than ever, rarely will you see the same pattern twice.
Supporters act on urges, impulses, and preferences, and they’re certainly not going to match your specific order of touchpoints. That’s why you need to understand the “need points” that supporters see as they go through the decision process on their way to attaining their desired outcome, whether that’s becoming a monthly supporter of a cause or volunteering locally.
Be Proactive Across Channels
As an organization, it’s your responsibility to understand the content, answer, solution, or recommendation the donor needs at that point in their journey and across all channels by which they may choose to get their information. This is, without a doubt, complicated and time-consuming because supporters may interact on company platforms (i.e., app, website, chatbot, in person) and third-party platforms (i.e., search engine, blog, retail partner, review site).
Still, no matter how complex, it’s your job to address the supporter’s needs in the fastest and most relevant way at all “need points” they come to throughout their journey. That’s how you assure that your organization is the one they decide to go with to obtain their goal.
Measuring and Optimizing Supporters’ Experiences
Your organization’s outcomes depend on how well you help supporters acquire their desired outcome. The better your can monitor and measure supporters’ outcomes, the better you can manage organizational outcomes. Therefore, implementing metrics to measure the effectiveness of your donor experience is crucial. You can do so by using customer performance indicators (CPIs).
CPIs measure your organization’s performance for each need-point. The better you perform with outcomes that supporters find important, the better your organizational outcomes will be. Organization outcomes can be represented by KPIs, or key performance indicators. Setting both CPIs and KPIs will give your organization a more complete picture when it comes to your organization’s health and performance. This is true for both the long- and short-term.
So, as your organization prepares to welcome back supporters, it’s essential that you’re tracking both CPIs and KPIs. In these key moments, these metrics will help expose disconnects early on. This will give you as much time as possible to adjust your approach to retain old supporters while welcoming new ones. You must do this before they find their way to another option.
Getting Back on the Path to Growth with Customer Journeys
Has your organization adopted these principles yet? Now is the time to rethink your outlook and rewrite your perception of the donor journey. As supporters begin to enjoy in-person experiences again, the old way just won’t cut it — you need to take an objective look at your organization and ask yourself: Are you able to perform with society’s new needs, behaviors, and preferences?
Here at DonorWerx, we coach leaders every day to help them shape the donor experience and build real connections with their supporters. This is just like creating improved customer journeys. Interested in learning more? Schedule a Discovery Call and see how DonorWerx can help you re-cement old relationships and successfully grow new ones.
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