Below is part 3 of our 4-part series aimed at helping you kickstart your journey of creating a Customer Experience Excellence strategy for your business. To read part 2 of the series, click here.
Develop Customer Experience Journey
To implement a comprehensive Customer Experience Strategy, you will want to understand your customer’s behavioral patterns. Each customer is unique, but generalities and patterns emerge when you analyze what customers are looking for and how your business can align with delivering results to meet their needs.
The following tools can help you better understand your customers and the investments you should make before solidifying your Customer Experience Strategy.
Understand the Customer Journey and map it out.
A valuable exercise for many organizations is to develop a Customer Journey Map. These customer journey maps should outline each unique step taken by the customer on their journey from prospect to purchase and then be used for support and beyond, including renewal.
When conducting a Customer Journey Map, it should aim to identify the following:
The customer persona is the characterization that exists for each type of purchase by the customer. A buyer persona is a representation of the ideal customer. Typically based on market research or historical data about existing customers, the buyer persona can help your business better understand the audience you want to market or sell your products and services to.
Key Measurement Touchpoints
The key measurement touchpoints contain the areas, tools, engagement points, or interactions that occur along the way that provides some form of measurement. Some examples of key measurement touchpoints include:
- When an online user peruses a website and interacts with pages or components of the website
- When a prospect interacts with a chat interface on the company website
- When a prospect downloads a document by submitting their email address via an online form or interface
- When a prospect completes an online form for more information or to be contacted by the company
- When a prospect becomes a customer by conducting a purchase online via a shopping cart or purchasing interface
- When an existing customer logs into a support portal and submits a case for assistance
- When a customer logs into their user account and interacts with components of a community portal or website
Phases of Engagement
The logical engagement phases or groupings of interactions are aligned to internal business processes or enablement areas. While the number and phases may vary from one business to another, the following five general phases tend to exist for most organizations:
A prospect becomes aware of your product, service, or business. Typically this is the first step of a prospective customer trying to find an answer to their problem and how your business aligns with their needs.
A prospect becomes interested in your product, service, or business. The customer compares how your offerings benefit them and the perceived value and may even actively seek other options to consider before pursuing with you.
Purchase and Decision Phase
When the prospect has realized whom to engage with for purchase., making the purchasing process as accessible and compelling as possible at this stage is essential. Studies show that a good sales process can place the odds in your favor.
When a customer has finally been acquired, the goal becomes to keep that customer, maintain their satisfaction with your product or service and encourage them to grow a positive perception of your brand.
This is done by providing the customer with a meaningful experience, which can be a virtue of the product or service itself. It can also be how you manifest good customer support should they require to engage with your service organization. At this phase, you can develop customer advocacy, where your customers become evangelists and references for additional prospects to learn about your product, service, or brand.
Dimensions of the Journey
A customer journey may have dimensions where a customer’s influence can evolve into higher tiers of value; this can be especially true for organizations that provide products or services with tiered levels of access and influence.
For example, a restaurant’s customer may have a particular level of influence as a reference to another potential customer. This can include recommending your business, conducting a review, or rewarding the customer for their patronage, such as collecting points per dollar spent.
Building on the previous example, that same customer can become enamored with your restaurant and is also a business owner. They may consider catering services for their next business outing or as a point of reference to another business looking for catering services. While in this example, the services being offered are similar, the actual value of the service is significantly higher both in the dollar amount of the meals and the scale of influence. Everyone at the catered event is now a potential future customer of your restaurant.
This concept is a factor that all businesses should consider and put into practice. Examples include expanded service offerings, reward programs, promotional sales, volume discounts, and ad-hoc ancillary services. If you have dimensions of the journey directly tied to your customer’s potential path, consider and document these branches and their respective hand-off points. This could help you expand revenue streams and reach more prospects.
Handshakes along the way
The play-by-play of all possible interactions in the natural and virtual sense should be documented. This includes the decision point options along the journey, which decision points occur from the customer’s perspective, and decision points made by an employee.
If the journey involves technology, ensure specific decision points or automated decisions are documented along each path and a possible path that can be taken.
Identifying and documenting the technology landscape in its current state
Understanding the current state of the tools in use to enable your customer through purchasing and service engagements is immensely valuable. It not only plays directly into your ability to forecast continued investment but also develop a roadmap of future investment as needed to deliver better results.
Document the people and resources required to deliver your strategy
Documentation is directly tied to the handshake item within the Journey Map but should go one step further. Some specific roles are crucial to the customer experience. These roles can sometimes be underappreciated in delivering a good customer experience. Be sure to capture ancillary aspects of the journey map.
For example, if your company manages vending machines and a product falls below a certain quantity, the vending machine sends an alert with the supply levels. Document this as well. It’s an ancillary process that plays directly into the overall path of how the journey impacts your customer. Even if this process consists of inserting money into a vending machine and selecting the product of their choice, believe it or not, when fully mapped out, improvements can be made to any customer journey to delight the customer further.
Build a Technology Roadmap that will get you to achieve success
A technology roadmap can provide a plan that takes you from your current state to the desired future state. It can also help you identify what strategies are missing and require further investment to come to fruition.
How StrataNorth can help.
Are you thinking about improving the customer experience for your business? Do you have a Customer Experience Excellence strategy defined and the technology roadmap to get you there? Let us help you. We can help you go from an idea to execution. StrataNorth is an IT Advisory Consultancy. We help businesses of all sizes adopt the right technology to help them grow, work smarter and deliver the best customer experience. Our consultants have decades of experience in the industry. We are cost-competitive and fiercely independent in our analysis.
If you are ready to transform your business’s operational efficiency and are looking for experts to guide you, StrataNorth has Customer Success Management consultants with decades of experience. We can help you reach Operational Efficiency nirvana and give you a roadmap for success. Reach out for a no-cost, no-obligation chat with a Customer Success Management expert today.