It is an ambition of any company today to create an unrivalled customer experience, but how can this be achieved? The consumer journey has long been regarded as an experience review lens-but should you get on board the bandwagon? And what can you gain from doing that?
When engaging with the brand or service, the term 'customer journey' describes each and every meeting a customer has; these can be direct or indirect. Of course, the journey involves purchasing experiences, but it goes beyond that, from the early moments when a consumer becomes conscious of your brand through their post-purchase experience, any loyalty building efforts you use and, eventually, brand advocacy. It is important to remember that every organisation's client journey is special.
The Traditional Customer Journey
Traditionally, a touch-point approach to understanding the consumer journey has been taken by organizations. This means defining key consumer contact points (i.e. marketing materials, point-of-sale, episodes of help, etc.) and measuring / monitoring their efficacy. To define problem areas and initiate meaningful change, metrics for each are used.
While it may be the aim here to improve general customer service, it can be argued that the opposite is achieved by this approach. First, in terms of their objectives, the touch-points are defined by the company, not the consumer. So what if it's not these touch-points that really matter to the client?
Secondly, all of your customers are at risk of bulking up into one bag-one bag; one set of touch points; one order; one journey. This ignores every essential nuance of the journeys followed by different people: information that is the difference between a good and an exceptional customer experience.
And finally, with this technique, what you are looking at is a snap-shot of success as a single independent entity from each touch-point-what if the experience you generate at one point is not balanced by the experience at another? What's the knock on effect?
The End-to-End Customer Journey
The power of the 'end-to - end consumer journey' strategy is its perception that the whole is much more than the sum of its components. It is a collective experience that a consumer does not perceive their encounters with a brand as a distinct collection of unconnected interactions, judging each on their merits; re-shaping their opinion with each new interaction. From this viewpoint, it is important to holistically handle the relationship, not as isolated components, as a negative contact might at any time stop a customer in their tracks.
A new outlook on positive customer interaction and improved customer loyalty can be implemented by viewing the customer journey as a complex continuum. I'm not saying you forget, far from it, touch-points. Instead, let the customers tell you what they are, i.e. implement at the beginning of the process customer intelligence, as opposed to the midpoint, and be mindful that the ties between touch points are as critical as the touch points themselves.
Understanding the End-to-End Customer Journey
But how do you grasp the end-to - end client journey? The mapping of customer journeys is both a common and efficient tool. Briefly, people from key customer groups are formed, the stages of their journey are mapped and the different touch points are defined during each stage. The main characteristic is customer-fueled mapping.
When the customer journey map has been created, it is time to decide to what degree the current customer experience meets the needs of the customer, where changes can be made and what these changes are. At each point of the customer journey, customer requirements, motives, behaviors and obstacles to action should be considered. For example, what inspired that persona to perform that action? What's this need to satisfy? What would inspire them to move to the next step of their journey? What barriers would they encounter?
In knowing the end-to - end consumer path, primary research using qualitative methodologies is a must if you do not want to risk making assumptions about your customers. Big data definitely has a role in the mapping of consumer journeys, but it is limited to the phases of the journey, i.e. what and what the customer groups are doing. Qual is what tells you why they do it and this is where they win or lose business.
If properly performed, online research diaries, VoC communities and interviews all have the potential to provide the rich insights needed. They give the client an outlet to share with you their thoughts on, and impressions of, their journey. Bear in mind that the aim of using these tools is to understand the journey of the customer, in detail, in its entirety-their objectives, feelings, expectations, etc. It is in this degree of detail that possibilities are defined for added experience value.
When you understand the end-to - end customer journey, you can really see where lags in customer service are present, concentrate back on them and evolve from the point of view of the customer. Imagine a photo of 'joining the dots.' When you have finished standing back to see the image produced as a whole, you carefully link each feature, then hone in on any errors. However, note that the image will change and there will be more than one depending on customer grouping-the customer journey is continually changing. A dynamic customer experience development program will be assisted by reviewing customer reviews periodically.