How do you become the business of choice for your customers?

In this article; we discuss ‘Customer Journey Mapping’ as an essential tool to sustainable business growth.

Some background

As more and more businesses are facing increased competition, they are developing their sales growth strategy around online activity. However, they are often not embracing that consumers have developed higher expectations than ever before, affecting all areas of the ‘customer experience’

The need to both ‘measure’ and ‘value’ as the consumer has never been more important.

This is relevant to all business types and if ignored; on the basis of ‘nobody has raised any issues’ We ask, is this sensible and realistic?

What is the customer journey?

It is to fully understand everything the customer experiences, sees, feels directly or indirectly when dealing with your business and should not be just limited to online presence, but every touch point within their interaction, from order to delivery.

Key point - all of us may forget the detail surrounding any transaction but we never forget how things make us feel. This is equally relevant if the feeling is ‘negative’ or preferably ‘positive’.

What we suggest

Businesses have a considerable range of factual data available via the various platforms, providers and internal sources. This needs to be evaluated carefully and used to determine what is actually happening and how individual customers are affected.

Key trends to check are:

  • What the user (consumer) actually does in terms of activity - This provides the entry point, to consider and record what they did and how long they did it for and what they did next.
  • Customer feedback - whatever the form, whatever the commentary. Keep it, respond to it and log it! This will help you to realistically determine trends – you may not agree BUT it is not about you, it is about how they feel.
  • Monitor activity - Time taken on your platforms and recording of exit points. Key is for your visitors to find what they came for and if relevant; make a purchase and ‘feel good’ about the experience.
  • Check functionality - Are your platforms accurate and operational on multiple devices – more of us use ‘smartphones’ than ever before. Therefore, it must display and work correctly on all formats and types of access point.
  • Confidence in data security - ensure structures correctly constructed and ‘data’ is secure and only used as agreed.
  • Telephone protocols - How long does it take for telephones calls to be answered? Was the script correct? Did the call handler correctly reflect your business values? Ensure you have an affective handling system in place between your team.
  • Editorial instruction and description – Put yourself in the place of your customer. Read and review all instructions provided carefully and don’t be afraid to use a ‘professional copywriter’ to both write and review it for you. Clear instructions are essential and affect your customer experience.

Seek the support of an expert to assess all areas of customer interaction as this will help reveal points of failure requiring attention to ensure the customer experience remains positive. For example if selling on line, the use of a specialist online evaluator does ‘add value’ to the review process and in particular assists with benchmarking and advice against current trends. (This is particularly relevant for complex sites as often the point of failure is at the ‘checkout’ and may require the use of specialist software / techniques, to track and trace a variety of transactions).

We advise on all ‘touch points’ to ensure maximum effectiveness.

Internal evaluation approaches

The key point is to look at the experience through your customers’ eyes not via your own expectation. In many ways try to make it go wrong, to highlight the point of failure, rather than only finding ways for it to go right.

Key point if it can go wrong it will and will always be far more expensive to remedy than doing right in the first place!

A team approach for review is essential from the broadest cross section possible, again the key point is to not prove how good it is BUT identify any fault and remedy the ‘ root cause’ quickly.

The evaluation should be written down in the form of a ‘Process Map’ per activity type. Visual methods are always easier to use and NOT misinterpreted.

An additional benefit to using this process; is details revealed are retained so potential future changes can be ‘modelled’ and understood.

Key point is that any behaviour changes / comments from any source are checked and actioned quickly as the consequences to your business can be catastrophic.

Ensuring the user has a positive experience – is not enough!

Trusting the Brand - The customer is and should always be considered your greatest ally. It is the customer who will let you know exactly what is good and what is not. The customer therefore has to remain convinced that dealing with your business is absolutely the right thing for them instinctively. If this is not instinctive then your ability to sell more to this customer is in Jeopardy.

The ongoing take away message is they must ‘feel’ great about the experience anything less is giving your competition an opportunity which no doubt they will appreciate as you have made their work easier.

How we help

As independent consultants who deeply understand the area of ‘growth and customer satisfaction’ we can independently assist you make the right decisions as your business evolves.

We work with you to ‘evaluate’ and ‘implement’ agreeable options. We are from a background of high level design and delivery with some of the largest players over thirty years in the UK and Europe.

As independent consultants we have no loyalties to a particular methodology or provider. We only have your success in mind!

Please contact us for an informal discussion we are always happy to have an informal discussion.

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