With the current growing interest in visualizing the customer experience and customer journey, the usage of terms and methodologies is wide-ranging. But what is customer experience if it is not marketing and sales? In fact, it is a combination of all of the above; a new way of service and account management.
Every stakeholder that impacts the emotions of the customer, influence the experience directly or indirectly, resulting in multiple departments and employees involved. To get the experience of the customer right, you have to take care of:
- A Customer Experience strategy, aligned with the Brand strategy
- The measurement of the experience (ROI, NPS, CES or just CSAT)
- The design of the experience
- Improvement of the experience
- Creating a customer centric culture within the organization
- Adoption and accountability within the organization
Because the customer is the most important stakeholder of your business, this next step is the most important: to know and understand everything about your (potential) customer. E.g. life events, habits, emotions, feelings, actions, behavior, persona drawings, emotion curves, touchpoints and the channels they use. You can start working on delivering a fantastic customer experience only if you really understand all these things about your customer.
After executing steps 2, 3 and 4 of the list above, you can then choose where to invest, like focusing on a specific touchpoint. Your customer loves the exact moment when dinner is served, when the airplane takes off, when your customer unpacks the product that just arrived home or when coming home from a visit to the theater. Finding these moments of truth, these most important micro moments, is vital if you want to make a branded difference.
We all agree that the world of the customer is important. But how do you capture and communicate this in an easy way? For me, there are basically 3 levels of visualization to get a grip on the customer experience as a whole. To help you understand contextual and behavioral levels, I describe them here:
Customer Lifecycle Management is the visualization, measurement and control of the phases a customer goes through when dealing with a company; from the absolute beginning until the absolute end of the life cycle. This starts when the customer realizes he has a need until he decides to either stay with the company or leave. I describe these major episodes as follows:
- ‘I have a need’
Something happens in my life, which creates a need, or I see a product or service that I want being used by family or friends. The product may or may not be within your budget.
- I orientate
I look for options and do research using different channels. Prize is not that important at this stage; it is the experience that counts and also the opinion of my network.
- I become a customer
I decide to go for a product or subscribe for a service and do everything with this company for the first time. The brand promises are or are not visible. This is the moment where the special treatment needs to take place; this is what I pay for.
- I am a customer
After a period, normally at contract renewal, I decide to stay. It means that the first period was satisfactory enough to pay for the next period.
- I stay as a customer
I experienced that this company is good for me. I decide to stay and renew once and again. I am used to how they deliver services, know the product and how they react when I need support. I have the intention to stay forever.
- I am loyal
I will not leave the company because I am used to it. They have a place in my life, not in my heart (yet). I accept the flaws and like the balance between prize, quality and speed. This relationship fits, I want to stay.
- I stay forever / I leave
I love this company. I want to grow old and I am proud to be a customer. I tell the rest of the world I am a customer.
Something happened which made me decide to leave. It can be prize, quality or speed.
Customer Journey Mapping
To understand a specific life cycle episode or process, it is useful to map the journey from a customer’s perspective, but in a more detailed way than just a Customer Life Cycle. For example: within the life cycle ‘I become a customer’ you want to map the first-time payment and first-time usage of the online newspaper by female customers. In this case the name of the Customer Journey Map is called: ‘I, as a woman, use the online newspaper for the first time.’ Within the episodes you can define the emotions and channels. This is valuable to understand and communicate to stakeholders. But in order to optimize the customer experience, you need more in-depth information, that’s why you also need to visualize the micro moments.
For continuous improvement and managing the micro moments during the experience of your customers, you can map the detailed touchpoints into Milkymap. This makes it possible to have the translation from the Life Cycle to the Customer Journey Map and into the small pieces, also called the micro moments. Google explained it in this 2016 article:
Beware of NPS Scores
NPS scores have become so popular, that clients now seem often bothered by a bombardment of satisfaction surveys. Every time you make a transaction, you get an e-mail with a survey. It may take you 5 minutes of your time (every time!) and you wonder if it’s worth it, what you are really getting back by expressing your opinion. If after your Christmas purchases you’re getting an evaluation survey for every gift you bought, you really don’t have the time to fill these out.
If we look at people’s motivation to fill in surveys, it does not really cover a random population, but those willing to take the time for a survey usually means that they either very satisfied or unsatisfied customers. The middle average hasn’t filled in the survey. You’re taking only the promoters and detractors, and this makes your score completely untrustworthy. Is this really measuring customer loyalty?
Aware of this polarity, and the gray middle area that has not been measured, NPS can be used as a tool to measure these poles, with the intention of reducing the number of dissatisfied customers and increasing the satisfied ones. But, it won’t give you an overall satisfaction picture as expected.
If you are still keen to measure, the advice is to do it on touchpoint or micromoment level. Close the loop by bringing customer feedback directly into intrinsic processes, and ultimately into the front line of customer experience. This means, asking for feedback because you intend to do something about it. Just measuring will not raise the customer experience, instead, we establish a conversation with clients. How many of these client surveys are followed-up? You are already annoying the client by taking from his time, even more if he’s giving feedback and this one goes into a black hole. For example, when an agent talks to a client personally and gets feedback, and the same agent makes sure that whatever the client was unsatisfied with got solved either within the team or a specific situation, then calls the client back personally and communicates this, then you are really creating value from the client.
Good luck with mapping, visualizing, communicating and improving the customer experience. Good luck with Millymapping!