Your customers' journey - a cruise or a slog?
We've all been there - a customer experience that leaves us flat, disappointed or downright angry. The so-called slog often comes not from the product itself, but from the service delivery around it. Even the best quality product can be diminished by a poor customer experience. It doesn't matter whether you're a B2C or B2B business, everything we buy comes with its very own customer experience.
Each step in our journey of interaction from first awareness, through purchase to use and beyond adds up to the customer experience, which in turn contributes to our opinion of the brand as a whole, and our likelihood of buying it again and/or recommending it to friends and family.
When a customer experience feels like a cruise - smooth, easy, hopefully all inclusive - where you be come an advocate without being asked to, you can be sure that it hasn't happened by accident. Careful thought will have been put into every interaction and touchpoint that you have with the brand.
So do you know whether your customers get the cruise, the slog or an experience somewhere in between? It's easy for us to assume we do a great job with customer experience, but the reality is that we can always do more to leverage our strengths and work on our weaknesses. And we can only know what those areas truly are by digging deep for customer insights. If we rely on customer complaints and general feedback like reviews to inform us on where our customer experience needs improving, we're only scratching the surface. Creating a customer journey map using direct observations and conversations with customers not only reveals how you really measure up to expectations at each moment, but it's also the source of insights about what the experience should be like. These insights then provide the springboard for your improvements.
How to create your Customer Journey Map:
1. First we need to think about our customers' end-to-end buying and usage process in our category. This is where we list the main elements and activities of the customers' journey. Each industry or category will have it's unique features, but generally there will be the following stages - recognition of need, research and consideration, purchase, usage, and repeat purchase/referral (if we do well).
2. Next we reveal your customers' experience - gather together current information across the customer journey. Sources might include direct customer, distributor or retailer feedback and complaints, online reviews and ratings, or survey data. These will indicate some strength and problem areas, but be aware that they will only provide limited insight around why the customer felt they way they did, and at which stages of the journey. Direct observations and in depth interviews with customers at, or close to, the point of purchase/usage are vital to get detailed insights.
3. From customer data and interview information gathered, we can start to build the map to create a more full picture of the sequential sub-steps within each main stage of engagement,
4. After that we can identify the points of pain, neutrality and delight experienced by your customers along the journey. This can be confronting but it is essential to be brutally honest with ourselves.
5. From the pain and delight points we develop customer insights and areas of opportunity which is where we take all the information sources and turn it into customer focused statements of need or desire.
6. Innovating the customer experience comes next and this is where the rubber hits the road. In this phase we take the prioritised areas of opportunity from our map and develop solutions to meet the respective customer insights using "how might we?" type questions. Ideas are developed and prioritised for effectiveness vs effort required in the same way you would for other innovation initiatives.
7. Your prioritised ideas can then be prototyped, tested, iterated and implemented. These might become projects themselves, but often there are small and inexpensive initiatives that can go a long way to improving your customers' experience of using your brand.
8. Follow up and evaluation are as important with customer journey mapping as they are for any innovation. Have they resolved your customers' pain point? Have you enhanced the overall brand experience? Have you leveraged points of delight?
Sounds like a lot doesn't it?
You're already busy running your business and this might feel like a large time and resource commitment. With experience and a streamlined process, your customer journey map can be completed with efficiency and minimal disruption to you.
I'm here to help
Customer Journey Mapping is one of the services I offer here at Auburn. I can greatly lighten your load by driving the process while ensuring that you're fully involved in the development, prioritisation and implementation of ideas.
You'll walk away with a clear, concise and prioritised list of actions and activities to enhance your customers' experience, and build your business through improved customer retention, spend and advocacy.
So if you're keen to sort out some pain points, emphasise those moments of delight and get your customers cruising, give me a call for a free chat about how I can help you.