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Understanding customers to design their journey

After hearing me speak about Customer Experience Management, Sandra asked for help designing her customer journey. As we explored her request, I learnt that Sandra had recently taken a franchise with a travel organisation and had become a Travel Consultant. Like many founders, Sandra funded the business and was working in another job as she established her new venture.

Sandras has a people-centred approach, and she wanted to better understand her customers to meet their needs. She saw this as an opportunity to delight throughout her customers’ journeys and to target her marketing and business development.

I designed a workshop for Sandra to explore and define:

  • Customer personas.
  • The value she needs to offer in her proposition to meet customer needs.
  • Her current service and how it stacks up against customer needs and her new value proposition.
  • The ideal customer journey, meeting customer needs not just on holiday but before and after.
  • The actions Sandra would take after the workshop to earn a return on her investment in Customer Experience Management.

I designed the workshop at 8 hours plus lunch and breaks. We spent 11 hours together as our joint learning distracted us from the time! In Sandra’s words:

The workshop was a good mix of activities – a bit of talking, brainstorming and writing. I really enjoyed it, felt I achieved something and left with really good ideas.

After the workshop, I gave Sandra three follow-up sessions. She used the last to explore and understand the experience of a customer.

Sandra uses her personas and customer journey to deliver delight

As a result of our work together, Sandra changed her customer journey, introducing an app to simplify admin and reassure customers. She will also use the personas in more targeted marketing.

Her greater understanding of the needs of her ideal clients has helped her design a better experience and given her the confidence to say no to clients that don’t fit with her Ideal Client Profile (ICP). Being Sandra, she does this with grace, helping them to find a solution even though she will earn no revenue. Perhaps one of these people will move into her ICP or recommend her based on her approach?

By truly getting into the head of one persona, Sandra realised a potential clash between that persona’s need to be in control and her own attention to detail. This gave her the confidence to step back when clients want to take on specific aspects of their booking, for example, checking in. Now she thinks “it is up to them” and doesn’t worry that they don’t want to use that aspect of her service. I think of this as letting clients design their own customer journey. It is a mature CXM capability.

After every trip, Sandra follows up with her customers. Asking for feedback helps her understand what they enjoy and appreciate about her service and helps her do more of the same. It also helps her enhance her questioning during early conversations, so she understands more about customers’ ideal holiday.

Of course, sometimes something could be better. Feedback helps Sandra redesign the customer journey or better understand customers’ preferences.

Building capabilities

Since our workshop and follow up sessions, Sandra has flexed her CXM muscles.

She maintains her original personas and plans to add a couple more. She has focused on Honeymooners, both for personal satisfaction and because she can add more value by leading customers through the design and planning of their honeymoon. She has even established a sub segment of honeymooners who love to travel and appreciate her insights.

Her journey map is also evolving as she adapts to customer preferences and learns from feedback.

Sandra was bootstrapping, but has now given up her ‘day’ job to focus on her travel business.

Having first meeting Michelle in 2019 and getting to know her and her passion for her business it was only natural for me to want to ask Michelle to work with me when I decided to take my business to the next level. We started with a customer strategy workshop which lasted a whopping eleven and a half hours. Needless to say Michelle is as serious about your business as you are! I walked away from the workshop with great ideas, tools and a good understanding of where I am heading with my business with Michelle’s support.
Looking forward to continuing my journey with Michelle!

Sandra Dowling, Founder and Travel Consultant

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