We are all busy. And in your business the people responsible for finance, product and services development, customer service, sales and marketing are busy too. What's more in our heart of hearts we don't want to hear that we might not deliver a compelling customer experience. So why make the time for Customer Experience Management?
You need three things to manage the experience of your customers:*
- Knowledge of every interaction
*if you think customer experience only applies to consumer-facing industries, please look at this post.
- A good understanding of how your customers perceive their experience
When you put the first two items together you get a customer journey map. However, no single team or individual can gather or make sense of all that information.
The organisation has to work together. This gives us our third requirement – shared accountability. Shared accountability can achieve a lot; so we’ll start there.
In smaller organisations, sales sits next to engineering, and members from both teams happily speak with production, software and supply chain management. These relationships might stand in the place of formal accountabilities.
However, as organisations grow, lines of communication stretch and snap. Each department builds its own priorities and contradicting objectives arise. Moreover, no one has accountability for the whole of the customer experience, which may fragment. In larger organisations, brand management takes on a great deal of responsibility for CX. But, they cannot do it alone.
If delivering a compelling customer experience is not in a job description, personal objectives don’t set a target, or processes don’t support customer focus, then you are unlikely to satisfy your customers.
Loved businesses go one further, their leaders give their teams the power to make decisions and take action when working with the customer – see this great example from Southwest Airlines.
Understanding how your customer perceive their experience
You have many options for understanding your customer: surveys, support centre, reviews, etc. All of which provide rich, useful data, data that is too complicated to report along side single-figure business metrics. While describing the perception of your customers as a single number is useful for observing trends and the impact of change, it is not the same as understanding how your customers feel. Words and numbers have to act together so you are never guessing or assuming what your customers are telling you.
Customer journey mapping
A Customer Journey Map is the collection of information from different sources describing what happens and how your customers feel at every point of interaction.
For example, in the images above we have laid out five stages of the customer journey and listed the negative aspects of each stage. Yes, it is that simple.
When planning paths through a park, planners watch how people use the space and then lay pavements and other features.
How does that compare with how you planned your customer journey?
Mapping the customer journey brings a lot of benefits.
Every team contributes and learns about each other. Maps help us identify issues and the potential for change. When we are thinking about change, we can map the new journey to understand the impact on our customers and plan the best outcome.
Pulling it together
Only you and your team can make a compelling customer experience. Study after study shows a link between culture, employee engagement and customer experience.
Your customer experience management process must involve and recognise the contribution of everyone. Teams have to understand and trust each other. They have to learn each other’s language and constraints; they must support as well as challenge. And you can help if:
- Your customer journey map look for root cause.
- Dashboards celebrate success.
- Accountabilities cross organisational barriers.