We’ve been blogging a lot about the business benefits of optimizing the customer experience to create advocates and establish an effective presence in the social, digital world. Much of the work required to achieve these goals involves the optimization of the Customer Journey. Only by deeply understanding your customers and how they interact with your company— from discovery through long-term relationship—can you optimize interactive touchpoints, deliver delight, and inspire loyalty and advocacy. Creating a map of the Customer Journey provides a structured approach to achieving these goals.
A Company of Customer Experts
A major benefit of the Customer Journey mapping exercise is the opportunity it offers to educate and align your whole team on important service and operations issues. The goal is to make everyone an expert guide, ready and willing to reach out to prospective and current customers – and improve their experience.
There are three qualities all service experts must possess: 1) they must be knowledgeable; 2) they must engage authentically in the customer’s progress; and 3) they must be observant, and continually adjust their methods to help the customer attain success.
It’s not a small task, but achieving customer expertise across the organization is possible when your Experience Management program includes creating Journey Maps. Map creation requires participation of the entire team, intense customer study, committed optimization objectives, and continuous assessment. These tasks help your team become customer experts, ready to guide the Customer Journey.
Finding Highs, Lows and Deadends
Your objective in constructing a Customer Journey Map is complete coverage of your key customer-business interactions. Focus on the paths of significant value creation: the map should not include uncommon or infrequent touchpoints for unusual customer segments if they have little business impact.
Thinking as a Real Estate service provider, consider the customer challenges of moving. Despite a recent slowing for internal US migration, household relocation remains a very common American activity. Some people who move, however, have a good experience, while others get frustrated and unhappy.
We should understand that moving is intensely personal, and often there’s a lot of pressure – everyone wants a “good” place to live. Usually there’s been some driving change in life status, and time is limited. The birth of a child, a new job, family and/or health issues, etc.— the reasons are many.
We should recognize that the paths different individuals take to resolving these challenges can be quite similar. Finding the right neighborhood, evaluating features and costs, navigating applications and contracts, and developing local relationships – each stage and many of the sub-steps are frequently very common.
In order to deliver the best experience, you will need to understand the traits of your key customer segments. What are your customers’ motivations, decision criteria, and service and communication needs? What common contextual elements are present? For example, is your location near an Armed Forces base, university, or concentration of industry? How do these influence the requirements of your customers? Your Customer Journey map should account for the wants and needs of those customer subsets. Ideally it should document how you interact with them today, and uncover opportunities to improve experiences and deliver delight.
In our next installment, we’ll delve into the map creation in more detail and discuss strategies for a successful mapping exercise.