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30 November 2020

How to Keep Things Personal in a Digital World – A Proven 5-Step Process

How to Keep Things Personal in a Digital World – A Proven 5-Step Process - The Value Engine


We’re constantly told that we’re living in a digital world, and it’s true. Businesses with smart digital sales models have thrived in the pandemic, and we all seem to spend our lives on Zoom or Teams. But, and there is a but, many leaders tell me their business is all about the personal touch, going the extra mile for customers and really understanding their needs. Let’s face it, if we’re making a big purchase, we want more than a chatbot; we want an authentic personal connection. So, the question which needs to be answered is: how can I take advantage of digital opportunities and keep the personal touch? In this blog, I’ll share some thoughts on how you can do this.

Digital hello

1. Start with the customer work backwards

Before we jump into the main question, let’s spend a few moments thinking about the foundations: your understanding of your customers.

The better we know someone, the better we can relate to them. This makes sense for our personal relationships, and I’d argue that it holds true in business. So, time spent understanding the challenges and motivations of your customers always pays off. I’d recommend using a structured process to do this. My go-to here is the excellent Value Proposition Canvas tool by Alex Osterwalder. This tool looks at the jobs your customers need to get done, the gains they hope to achieve and the pains they want to avoid. When used well, it’s really powerful. 

Adapted from the Value Proposition Canvas 

Osterwalder, A., Pigneur, Y., Bernarda, G., Smith, A. (2014) Value Proposition Design: How to Create Products and Services Customers Want, John Wiley & Sons.

2. Split your customers into groups

But before you jump into mapping your customers’ world, ask yourself: can I split my customers up into a few groups which share common aims and challenges? By doing this, you’ll sharpen your focus on the particular challenges these groups face. To keep things manageable and keep the number of groups down, I’d suggest a limit of 3 to start with.

3. Put your feet in your customer’s shoe

It’s now time to put yourself in your customer’s shoes and think about their journey from initial research to the final ownership experience. To do this, I use the customer empathy map shown below. It helps you to get your head around what they’re thinking. 

You’ll want to do this for each of your customer groups – see why I said to keep the number of groups to a manageable number!

Updated Empathy Map Canvas ©2017 David Grey

Photo credit: David Gray, Gamestorming, Empathy Map Canvas,

4. Map the journey

Right, we’ve really started to understand our customers. It’s now time to think about their customer’s journey from initial interest to long-term loyalty. To do this I suggest mapping that journey. I’ve completed a simplified version of a journey map in the diagram below.

Online & offline experiences

5. Making in personal

By mapping the journey, you’ll start to work out how you can help and serve your customer throughout the journey. Now ask yourself this: 

In which parts of the journey does the customer need smart digital tools and in which parts does the personal touch really matter?

Armed with this knowledge, mind map possible ideas for each stage of the journey. Once you’ve done that, make a prioritised list and start getting the projects done, creating the mixture of online experiences and personal touches that make the difference for your customer.

As you start to gain experience, you can even begin to put all your customer knowledge to use by creating personalised online journeys to raise the customers’ experience to the next level.

When correctly applied, the proven and scientific approach discussed in this blog will focus your energy into creating the right offline and online experiences for your customers. Do it right, and you’ll soon be outpacing the competition and enjoying increasing revenues and profits. What’s not to like?

#5 Top Tips to take away

  • Understand and map your customers using a proven approach 
  • Put yourself in their shoes
  • Map their journey
  • Find the moments which matter
  • Ask how you can best serve them in the moment
    • Great how-to content online
    • Online explore and quote tools
    • Online chat, co-browse sessions or Zoom calls
    • 1:1 offline conversations

Sounds good? How about a bit more insight – free of charge?

As a Digital Consultant, I work with clients to enable them to get close to their customers, uncovering the insights and creative strategies and smart use of digital to deliver long-term results. I’d love to learn more about your business. Click on the link to book a free initial consultation

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