Understanding the experience that customers value tops the list of most strategic agendas these days. The power of the buyer being in control can no longer be ignored. Sales feel it as their cycles grow longer and become less predictable. Marketing struggles to deliver predictable ROI across a sea of interaction channels where conversations happen without their involvement. Service and Support feel it as customers turn to each other for answers and to share information.
Customer Experience is Table Stakes
Delivering a valued customer experience is a table stake for growth because customer loyalty is a harbinger of future profitability. As the conversation about customer experience expands within organizations the question is no longer “should we adopt this” but “how should we do this.”
The place to start is not with a new piece of technology or Human Resources issuing an updated statement on the company’s values. It’s all those things plus much more assembled into a milestone-based blueprint that leads a company through the transformation at a pace appropriate for the organization’s business cadence, market dynamics, skills and capacity for change.
Journey Maps -- The Starting Point
The starting point for every company is customer journey mapping -- an in-depth and detailed understanding of the ‘who, what, why, when and how’ for each step that the buyer takes in their journey.
Journey maps of the lifecycle of a relationship enables organizations to effectively align their people, process, data and technology to the customer and deliver a consistent, meaningful experience. Journey maps should achieve six objectives:
- Define the archetype journeys for your organization’s buyer segments.
- Document the detailed step-by-step activities that buyer-personas take.
- Define all content assets sought, from which channel(s), and how used by buyer-personas.
- Understand how buyer-personas build and lose trust in vendors.
- Identify when and how the definition of ‘value’ shifts from product- to relationship-based.
- Inventory of all touch points, by journey steps, along with interaction owners and data shared.
Journey Maps - The Wrong Way
How customer journey maps are developed is critical. If the approach is not comprehensive, solely from the buyers’ perspective, any blueprint for change will be ‘paving the cow paths’. Unfortunately, the approach most companies take is inside-out and piecemeal. The most popular methods used to ‘piece’ together customer journey maps are: