You have likely heard the expression, “all roads lead to Rome.” It’s a reference to the road system developed by the Roman republic around 300 BC. The Romans built a large network of roads radiating across their empire that, regardless of where you started, would eventually get you to Rome.
Today, the expression is used to convey the idea that there might be many ways to get the same result accomplished. All paths or activities lead to the center of things, just as all the Roman roads would literally take you to the same place.
Every Brand Experience Should Ultimately Deliver the Same Consistent Promise
The metaphor of multiple roads converging in Rome is a useful model for many companies to think about as they craft the increasing array of customer journeys that must all ultimately lead the customer to the very simple idea or impression that defines their brand. The potential spots along the customer journey are not only increasingly diverse and unique, but they might wind and meander across multiple “roads” or touchpoints.
In today’s business, the roads might look like a retail channel, call centers, support centers, direct sales, online channels, partners, etc. In retail, this concept is often referred to as omnichannel. The idea of multiple channels that must ultimately work together as one for the customer.
In a customer’s experience with a brand, it is increasingly likely they will move from one road to another in their relationship with a company. For example, I might start researching a company online before connecting with a company representative, either on the phone or in a store. From there I might do some additional online research and ultimately make an online purchase. Once my purchase has arrived, I might have an issue that needs to be resolved with a customer support person at a call center. This might be followed by needing to access user instructions.
Transitions Between Experiences Should be Seamless
The challenge for today’s business is to realize that this is truly the way a customer crafts their individual journey with the brand, and to put effort into making those transitions from one road to another painless, easy while ensuring that directionally, the customer is still moving towards that very simple idea of the brand promise that is at the center of it all.
Recently I engaged with a utility company to establish new service. Without knowing, I ended up on the wrong road to accomplish what I needed to do. We have all been there before, and we are all familiar with the frustration of feeling like we now need to start again and waste more time trying to find the right road.
This case was different. The sales representative I spoke with was brilliant at guiding me to the correct road and seamlessly and graciously handed me off to the person who could help me. That person was equally great and had my issue handled within minutes. During the process the representative casually educated me about some product features I was unaware of but would certainly benefit from. I ended up engaging in a contract with more services than I had originally intended and was so pleased with the experience it changed my impression of the company.
This organization had clearly put effort into connecting the various aspects of the customer journey and making sure that all roads of the experience ultimately led me to a very positive impression of the brand. When was the last time you raved about your experience with a utility company at a dinner party?
As you look at your own organization, what are the various roads that make up your customer experience? How connected are they? Are the transitions easy and pleasing? And, how effectively do they all ultimately take your customer to a positive brand experience (Rome)?
For more thinking on crafting the customer experience, you might be interested in downloading my recent paper: