CXM experts agree that companies need to consider the customer’s full end-to-end journey, as opposed to isolated touchpoints, if they are truly to understand how they are performing in their customers’ eyes. According to research in the Harvard Business Review, across industries performance on journeys is 20% to 30% more strongly correlated with business outcomes.
Therefore, if you’re looking to improve sales and build your brand, it’s important to keep your customer in mind and measure how you are performing in their eyes, at every step of the customer journey. After all, understanding your customer and how they interact with your business directly is crucial when it comes to optimising the value, loyalty, and longevity of a customer relationship. If you are to ensure you have a full understanding of their journey with you, it is essential to measure your performance at each contact point they may have with you.
What is the customer journey?
The customer journey is the series of stages that a customer goes through when engaging with your organisation. As with any journey, the customer journey is not always linear and customers can jump in and out at different points depending upon their familiarity with your company, their reason for contact, and a whole host of other factors. For example, they may browse your web pages to narrow down their requirements and then make a phone call to clarify certain items and may later place an order via the web site but send an email to gain further clarification. All of this is part of the Acquisition phase of the customer journey.
Later, during the Change stage, your established customer of 2 years may decide they are interested in one of you promotional emails and enquire via email about upgrading their service. This may involve a contract change and field visit by an engineer, followed by administrative and service delivery changes. All of wthese sub-stages need careful management and measurement and are important components of the customer journey. Failure of any one of these sub-stages can immediately ruin the relationship and satisfaction levels you have carefully built with this customer over the previous years.
Customer Journey Mapping
Before you can identify the appropriate points to survey and engage along your customer journey, it is helpful to map out the journey. A customer journey map tells the story of each customer’s experience, from the very first contact, through the process of engagement, and into a long-term relationship.
Customer journey mapping is all about figuring what it’s like for customers to interact with your brand over time and across different channels. Whether it focuses on a particular part of the journey or offers an overview of the experience, the customer journey map offers an insight into the key interactions that the customer has with the organisation, referring to their feelings, motivations, and questions for each of these key touch-points.
There are numerous different forms of customer journey maps, each with slightly different features and layouts. Every map, however attempts to understand and document the customer’s experience with the organisation.
Example customer journey
Measuring the Journey
Once you have identified the key touch-points in the customer journey, you obviously need to begin to measure each stage and touch-point to begin to understand how you please or frustrate your customers at every stage. By measuring, you can begin to compare and ultimately, fix any issue and promote good practice, on every channel.
In any customer journey, there will be touch-points that are more important (for example, ‘customer places an order’) and less important touch points (such as, ‘customer downloads user guide’). However, a poor performance in an area considered low importance, may be the cause of issues you may be having in high importance stages and it is therefore essential that you measure all stages.
That is why at VIRTUATel we recommend using similar survey questions at each touchpoint to have comparative data for more relevant analysis. And we also recommend the utilisation of short surveys more often to provide a wider base of understanding and at the same time maximise return rates.
Why use the customer journey in customer feedback?
Whilst most organisations are relatively good at gathering historic data on their users, it tends to be historic, transactional data that reflects values and numbers of calls rather than a measurement of the success or failure of the point of communication. Almost always missing is the customer frustrations and experiences in their own words or measurement. This is where the measurement of your customer journeys at every touch point will begin to pay off.
At every stage, or touch point, the customer journey gives you the opportunity to engage with and obtain feedback from the customer, whether the contact is via email, web, chat, phone or social media. Understanding the customer journey allows companies to gain a better insight into the experiences they are delivering, achieve a higher response rate from the surveys they send out, and identify opportunities to stay in touch with their customers.
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