As companies compete for market leadership position, it is quite easy for them to focus internally – either on processes to improve efficiency in delivery of their product, or on research and development to remain competitive. This can distract from understanding the market for which they are competing. Understanding how the market views, interacts and deals with their company is equally important.
Customer Journey Maps are an effective tool for companies to document customer perspective and identify key interaction points to monitor measure and improve upon the entire customer journey. This practice results in enhanced customer satisfaction, reduced churn, increased revenue, and greater employee satisfaction. The more touch points you have, the more complicated it becomes.
Creating Customer Journey Maps can be arduous, but the end result, if done correctly, can help all facets of the company understand how customers interact with, and perceive the company in the market. Consider these points when creating Customer Journey Maps:
1. Don’t rely on generic client demographic data, instead determine the segmentation of your customer base
Find an appropriate balance between high level demographic based research and result data from an existing customer base. For example, the general expectation is that older customers are less likely to use alternative communication channels, such as chat, social media or SMS.
However, in the print media industry, a segment of their interactions come from a more senior population who own multiple properties and migrate between them throughout the year. These senior clients are largely migratory and do not own a land line. Instead, they perform their interactions from a mobile device and are proficient in the use of alternative media channels.
Often, decisions are made on general assumptions about customer behavioral traits that aren’t always true. Most companies don’t regularly gather customer perspectives or share the insights when they do. But without an outside view on what is important, and what does or doesn’t work, your journey map will lack an accurate view of the customer, leading to decisions based on incomplete or flawed information.
2. Avoid analysis paralysis
Given the breadth of data available, it’s easy to include lots of it. This can result in dizzying complexity.
Remember, you are creating a tool to help you easily understand the customer and identify what is most important to them.
Create customer journeys that represent the largest customer interaction segments to achieve consensus to move forward with design, measurement and optimization. As with any collaborative process, define a decision structure with the right levels of empowerment. The goal is not to make everyone happy, instead, find the most efficient solutions to satisfy the customer experience.
Keep your strategic goals in the forefront to guide you in your employment of journey maps.
3. View as a living iterative process
What may be true today may not be true tomorrow. Invest in efforts to maintain a customer journey map that evolves according to the changing needs of the customer. Customer habits can change quickly in the new social world and must be reviewed regularly to address new habits.
4. Establish key interaction points
Identify points of bottleneck, inefficiency, and positive service levels. Journey events of significant impact have a greater bearing on the customer’s perspective of the company. Great journey maps separate critical moments from the rest.
A customer journey map helps to identify gaps, and disjointed or painful customer experiences, such as:
- Gaps between information channels when users receive mixed messaging across various channels
- Gaps between departments where users get frustrated with internal communication issues
5. Measure value at key interaction points
Contact Centers are a collection of complex software processes that generate a tremendous amount of interaction data. Most contact centers rely on traditional analysis, such as manual data gathering, text editors and generic log analysis tools in an attempt to understand the data and the customer experience.
Identifying those key customer touch points is not enough. You must set up your environment to correctly measure and track outcomes around key interactions.
A centralized system that breaks down the silos of measurement, minimizes the need for multiple tools, establishes a common set of measurements, and offers a holistic view of all interactions is a key consideration. The solution must have the ability to:
- Capture all events around all customer interactions and easily enable analysis of that data
- Provide a near real-time visibility to trends and issues
- Provide the ability to anticipate trouble in key interaction areas
- Allow quick drill down and provide cradle to grave visibility of the entire interaction experience
Investigating a customer experience from cradle to grave with traditional tools requires intensive manual efforts and consolidation of data form various systems. Streamlining tools, such as CIMplicity Visualizer, captures as much of the experience as possible, by reducing analysis and maintenance overhead.
Chris Theriault has over 15 years of experience helping mid-size and large contact centers with systems analysis, design, integration, technical support, architecture and solution engineering. He has been working at Aria Solutions since 2004, passionately focusing on system modernization and efficient operations. At Aria alone, Chris has worked on over 50 customer engagement projects, transforming operations and successfully achieving project goals.
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