Creating Exceptional Customer Experiences through Customer Journeys

What do my customers want? This is the question that every executive asks. Let’s understand what it means and why designing and managing the Customer Journey is important for brands?

Let’s level set on customer experience journey mapping, by starting with a definition of customer experience & management:

“Customer experience is the sum of all experiences a consumer has with a supplier of goods or services, over the duration of their relationship with that supplier. And Customer experience management is the practice of designing and reacting to customer interactions to meet or exceed customer expectations and, thus, increase customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy”

Experiences aren’t about one and done, or single interacton. It’s about multiple interactions over the lifecycle of interactions of a customer and a brand. It’s about the experience a customer receives during multiple moments of interaction.

We should think of this process holistically, as a lifecycle where your customers engage with your brand. And it starts with a need – always. People don’t engage with you as a brand unless they have a need they want to fulfill. Then they’ll begin to research what’s available and who’s available to meet that need. They’ll then select the product or service, and ultimately convert.

We make our promise as a brand post conversion when customer own the product or services. This is where that promise is delivered and must come alive. And if it’s working correctly, we get loyalty. We get customers that come back and continue to do business with us. If we’re doing it really well, we get advocacy, they recommend us to other people, and those other people drop into your lifecycle.

There are multiple moments that matter along this lifecycle, and we have to deliver relevant experiences along the entire journey. If we fail, what happens? Customers leave. They’ll go somewhere else because switching costs are lower than they’ve ever been before.

Many organizations are working to transform their organizations into customer centric businesses. Any of you have a CEO or executive who is saying, “We need to be more customer centric”. Why? Because the power has shifted from the brand to the consumer. The consumer has more power than they have ever had before.

For me, there are 5 major steps in order to initiate a transformation:

To me, transformation without innovation just doesn’t happen. How many of you have competitors? How many of you would like to differentiate against your competitor and grab more market share? To do that, you have to actually execute new experiences that make you more relevant than the guy next to you. So if you don’t have a plan to execute new experiences to deliver relevant experiences, it’s probably not going to happen. You might actually talk about the customer, you might actually put in place a voice of the customer program and measure customer satisfaction, but if you don’t execute new experiences, transformation isn’t going to happen.

When we look at customer centric transformation, we realize there are many steps. I’d like to show share indicative approach on how CX Journey Mapping can be used to kick-start customer centric transformation. Journey map can be used as a tool to help understand and build empathy for your customers, as well as to educate and align internal teams around this customer. That’s the first step.

After learning how to build a map, you need to bring it back to your organization and use it on your customers and their journeys. This 2nd step will give you the chance to Design new experiences. You’ll have a chance to identify issues & opportunities for your customers and organization, and then innovate with new experiences. Journey mapping will help you identify which projects to work on, and get the customer centric ball rolling.

After designing new experiences, you’ll be eager to move to execution. This will lead to the 3rd step of journey mapping where you can test, pilot, and then validate and scale your new experiences. We refer to the 3 step process of using CX journey mapping as Learn, Design, and Execute. I think you’ll see this is a great way to kick start customer centric transformations.

Brands who provide exceptional customer experiences can set themselves apart from their competitors. What CMO organizations need to do is- understand the interaction through the customer’s eyes, quantify what matters to your customers, apply behavioral psychology to interactions, reinvent customer journeys using digital technologies, use customer journeys to empower the front line, track metrics that capture customer feedback and keep optimizing your efforts. You can put cross-functional governance in place and log early wins to demonstrate value creation.

Today, customers follow discrete disconnected journeys and they interact on various touchpoints like the website, mobile app, social networking site and contact center. Brands should create customer centric cross-channel engagement hub where contact center, web, mobile, social, marketing, sales, front office and back office – are all combining into a single customer engagement hub. The engagement must span touchpoints to provide a seamless consistent experience – which meets their expectations using the journey context and dynamic personalization for individual customer.

Designing the experience is important but customer journey management is critical to achieve the success.

Delight your customers with exceptional experiences and assist them throughout the customer journeys. It will help you achieve your objectives too.

I’m happy to answer questions about CX and Customer journeys best practices.

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