The sight from your office chair might indicate that your company is doing its outer best to please customers and that your customer experience is volant. Do not fall for this double-cross as statistics show that 80% of organizations claim to have built their company around the customer, however, only 6% of the customers feels truly heard and seen. (Bain & Company) So, you might be fooled in you assume your company is customer centric.
But where does this gap come from? The view from a customer’s perspective is apparently much different than we expect, meaning that we might have to change our focus. Let me tell you why.
Because the most important metrics for many companies are sales focused. While thinking about customer happiness, a company gets so absorbed on measuring retention, patterns of use, conversion rate, ROI and segments, that buyers become numbers instead of individuals. When looking at the customer, managers are still looking at them from their chair and not from putting themselves in the customer’s shoes.
Sales focused organizations are dedicated to meeting sale digits and increasing market share. There’s nothing wrong with that, except that very often, even customer experience is sacrificed in order to achieve targets, while cultivating customer loyalty and engagement is more likely to give you a greater potential for sustained and rock-solid growth.
Several decades ago, businesses had a very simple customer contact. Customers could either visit your store or reach out by phone. Nowadays, the digital revolution allows a customer to establish contact through mobile devices, tablets, laptops and even a TV, all of these influencing their buying decisions. Consumers may hop on their mobiles to research a product, and then later that week visit the store, followed by using their laptop computers to place an order online and maybe afterwards reach out to customer service through a chat. There are a number of ways in which a consumer can move through the customer journey making it complex. A customer moves across multiple devices through time and each touchpoint with a different need. People want to be served tout de suite whether they connect with you. Each of these interactions is an opportunity to prove to the customer why they should choose you instead of the competition. This is where Customer Journey Mapping comes in as the key to researching your customer experience efforts. So how do you place yourself in the customer’s shoes? Go out into the field, get out there. You can do a customer safari or mystery shop your own organization.
Customer Journey Mapping- More than Great Touchpoints
This means that when making a journey map, every touchpoint will have multiple channels. In order to have a broader view of the whole story, every channel must then be mapped. Measuring a channel in isolation, will only tell you a fraction of the story of what your client experiences. Visualizing all touchpoints in a customer journey per channel means that you might end up with up to 100 to 140 touchpoints per journey map and you will have a greater overview of the story.
In 2017, our founder Danny Peters (link to about us page) worked together with Natuurmonumenten, an organization that buys, protects and manages nature reserves in The Netherlands. He mapped the experience of visitors to a natural park. The ultimate goal of the organization was to promote the membership program and for which Customer Experience was the key. At the beginning, the team from Natuurmonumenten thought they only had 3 channels with the respective touchpoints for visiting an information center in the park: the website, the center itself and the app. After a full day workshop, we were able to map 19 channels, all of them linked to each other. For example, the visitor read the magazine, looked for the address on the website, called to make a reservation for an activity, had contact at the reception, talked to a park ranger and even checked their mobile phone for the nearest restaurant for after the activity. With these insights in mind, they were able to re-design the journey through optimizing and synchronizing the channels, which made it easier for the visitor to find the information, book an activity, and even find a discount for the nearest restaurant.
Basically, a customer journey map is a representation or model of all the touchpoints where customers come into contact with your company, online or off. You might then proceed with identifying moments of truth and after that implement improvement ideas. However, this approach as helpful as it might seem might get you caught up in loose, individual, incremental improvements. Reverse thinking on the other hand, requires greater ambition. Instead of improving loose touchpoints in the intent of working towards the desired customer experience, reverse thinking redesigns the entire journey based on the client’s perspective. This may mean eliminating touchpoints and changing your entire operating system in the delivery of the experience. This gives you the chance to nail 100% of the experience instead of improving 15% in an individual touchpoint.
Reverse Thinking and Engineering
The biggest challenge of this exercise is employees and managers usually get trapped discussing about internal processes and KPI’s and tend to think “this would be too expensive to implement”. They think about how things worked out today, rather than what customer onboarding and retention really means to the customer, and what the customer really wants. They struggle to think like the customer, to really understand the goals of the customer in their everyday personal or business lives, and how they want to experience services.
By analyzing customer journeys in reverse, companies can pinpoint the operational improvements that will have the greatest effect on customer experience. At a multinational in Europe, our founder and also founder at Conexperience, Danny Peters, designed a complete journey for a new app that is to track the movement of elderly and notify family members for any unanticipated moves. With the Customer Journey 6 step methodology on which Milkymap is inspired, it was possible to get stakeholders and customers in one room and design all the micro moments in a timeline, including needs and channels. The targeted emotions were also mapped, so that the communication could be built per episode of the journey. After the journey was ready and validated, it was time to translate the micro moments into user stories, which was picked up by the Scrum teams. They could easily relate the functionalities to be built in the customer journey and the emotions and communications designed based on the needs of the customer. 100% customer centered.
With these tips, you’ll be sure to be heading in the correct direction and take the right approach to achieve a customer centered operating model and most of all, a company that is loved both by your employees and customers.