What does the ideal customer experience look like now? One thing’s for sure – it’s more than just having an issue resolved by Customer Service.
Future transactions, reviews, and loyalty depend on the total experience your customers have with your organisation. Your customers’ perception of your organisation is holistic, and relates to how they are treated at every touch point. And with customers now willing to pay a premium for better customer service, it’s time to pay attention.
Delivering good customer experience is no longer the exclusive domain of the Customer Service Department. Marketing, Sales, Contact Centre, HR, and even IT leaders are involved in shaping and managing the total customer experience. In addition to managing customer expectations at every step, these leaders are also grappling with how to serve four generations of customers, while integrating mobile, digital, social media, in-person and content strategies — all at the same time.
Where to start with Customer Journey Mapping?
A smart way to design and implement a seamless and satisfactory Customer Experience across your entire organisation is to forget about departmental silos, and to think like a customer. You can start by mapping typical customer journeys across all physical and digital channels.
The concept is best understood by example. Let’s take a look at two potentially very real customer scenarios.
- The first journey involves a customer with several needs over time, and includes physical and digital locations.
- The second journey is fast and purely online.
In both scenarios there are multiple touchpoints, and at each one of them the customer experience needs to be satisfactory. Most of the elements of these journeys would be applicable for just about any product or service purchase.
1 – Gen X John buys a new TV set
- John looks at ads for TVs in the print media
- Goes online and reads customer reviews
- Checks out TV companies’ websites
- Scans TV companies’ social media such as Facebook and Twitter
- Visits the local retailer and inspects his shortlisted models
- While in store, compares prices on his mobile phone
- Finds cheaper online offer, and orders it
- New TV delivered to his home
- Uses it for six months, when there’s a technical issue
- Calls the company’s toll-free number
- Company’s service technician arrives, fixes problem
- Company makes a follow-up call for status and feedback
- John is satisfied and gives positive comments on an online review site and on the company’s social media page
- He posts about the great service he received on Facebook and Twitter, and talks about it to his friends when they visit his home.
John’s customer journey traversed print media, the internet, social media, his personal computer, mobile phone, a physical store visit, a physical service visit to his home, and a toll-free call to a contact centre. All in all, John is happy, and he tells everyone about it.
The CX challenge with John
In this illustration the online retailer has a central Support Hotline, but does not physically provide the after-sales service. Instead, they liaise with the TV Distributor to arrange the Technician’s visit. Both the Contact Centre and the Distributor’s Technical team need to be on the ball to ensure that all engagements with John are personalised, relevant, seamless, and actionable. John doesn’t know or care that he’s actually dealing with two different companies – he just wants his every request to be actioned properly, and to be treated like a valuable customer, no matter who he talks to.
2 – Millennial Sally orders a new party dress
- She clicks on the ad and is taken to the website product page
- She decides to sleep on it
- Back on Facebook on her phone on the way to work, she sees the ad again (remarketing) – but this time it contains a coupon code, which prompts her to click through and buy the dress
- She pays online and gets a discount by using the coupon
- Her dress arrives two days later, but it’s the wrong colour. So she complains on the company’s Facebook page, and expresses disappointment on their Twitter Page
- Alas, she hears nothing back on these channels, so goes to the website, looks up FAQs and sees how to return it, but it’s not clear who pays the return postage
- So she gets on the webchat and thankfully the return process is instantly sorted by the agent
- She returns the dress by mail
- Three days later when the replacement dress still hasn’t arrived, she sends a text containing her order number to customer support
- She receives a reply within 20 minutes containing Expected Delivery Time and a link to Tracking Information
- The dress arrives, she loves it and posts selfies on Facebook and Instagram, and shares a link to the website with her friends
- She updates her original complaint on the company Facebook page, with details of how much she likes the dress, and leaves comments and a review about the average service she received.
The CX challenge with Sally
In this scenario, Sally has been marketed to in a way that prompts her to take action online. She therefore expects to continue the online process, communicating digitally at every step, without having to physically call anyone, and to get a fast response no matter what channel she uses.
While she loved the dress and was impressed with the service she received on webchat and by SMS, she was still let down at three touchpoints.
Though Sally can understand that mistakes can occur (like being sent the wrong coloured item) her expectations are that
- If she is marketed to on Facebook, why doesn’t the company respond to her on Facebook?
- If she buys online, why doesn’t the FAQ area have all the answers?
- If she Tweets at the company, why don’t they respond?
Sally is a millennial. They prefer not to phone anyone, but to get answers from the channels where they spend time, and quickly.
Benefits of mapping and managing the customer journey
Sometimes it takes only one poor experience along a whole customer journey, for a sour note to overshadow all the things which were done right at every other touchpoint. Unfortunate as it may be, the natural human inclination is to get caught up in the negative, and “forget” all the positives.
More than at any time in our long history of buying and selling things, Customer Experience has become more important than ever. It has become the key differentiator, and getting it right involves careful mapping of the journeys your customers take.
Step into their shoes and actually research: buy and get support from your company, and see what it’s like to do business with you.
Properly mapping, designing, and operationalising the customer journey delivers payoffs which include:
- Significant improvement in the customer experience (CX) at each touchpoint
- Development of customer trust, loyalty and advocacy
- Customer Service truly becomes your key brand differentiator
The Contact Centre and the Customer Journey
Though it may be only one segment of the whole customer journey, the Contact Centre is a significant component. Every touchpoint with your Contact Centre team members needs to be easy and seamless. Strategies to make this happen include:
- Minimising the need to transfer Customer Service calls to different departments
- Reviewing your authentication processes to see how many times you ask a customer for the same details
- Ensuring the customer’s details and conversations are transferrable between devices and channels
Take a journey as a customer with your organisation and discover if there’s any frustrating gaps or less-than-ideal experiences. Mapping these is the first step to developing a “whole of company” Customer Experience which improves customer satisfaction and loyalty levels.