If an enterprise wants to fulfil the customers need with ease and delight, enterprises should know what the need is, what will add to ease while fulfilling the need and what will be icing on the cake i.e. delight.
Customers take a journey to fulfil his need. For example, if we look at the journey of a home buyer;
1) First, he will look for the project, either in the newspaper or on the website.
2) Then he will call the company or call center,
3) Thereafter he will book his visit appointment,
4) Then he actually visits the site,
5) He meets a sales person there,
6) He will see show flat,
7) Asks about the surrounding area and location,
8) Inquire about price and possession schedule and leaves.
This was a journey of a potential buyer. Now when the potential buyer becomes a buyer his journey would be;
1) Family visits to the site
2) Paying booking advance at the builder’s office
3) Stamp duty, registration payment
4) Home Loan application
5) During the construction period, a few site visits
6) Reminders from builders for instalment payments
7) Final possession
8) Go online on social media sites to share the experience
Broadly, this is the journey home buyers undertake while buying a home.
Now if a company wants to improve customer experience, breaking down of this entire customer journey is very important. For every industry knowing customer journey are very critical aspects to better customer experience.
(Source – Bridgeable)
Starbucks measure their in-store customer journey in about twenty steps. They measure store location and appearance to store toilet cleanliness and everything in between like queue at cash counter to welcome by staff to a decor of the store.
When the company is working on to better their customer experience, the weakest link can not only spoils the entire experience but even can negate the sales altogether or repeat purchase. Imagine a shabby toilet in an otherwise good restaurant. Though we do not go to restaurant for toilet experience, but that experience matters. Imagine a builder site with a signboard and potential buyers could find it with great difficulty. His buying interest will almost die by the time he is in front of sales executive.
Similarly, in an online world which is the omni-channel world, customers seldom travel in a straight line. He visits a website then he will move to call center for an inquiry, then he will move to social media for customer reviews and then he may call someone for a home visit. Every customer not only will take a different a journey but entry and exit points are also not certain.
Why to map customer journeys?
The simple answer, in order to improve the customer experience, knows how customer not only moves on a buying map but what he feels along with it.
Journey mapping will make the enterprises aware that there is a form to be filled before the emergency patient is admitted to the hospital. This will bring to the light how doctor talks with the patients impact customer experience, this will even enlighten the enterprise that patient discharge procedure is too lengthy and there is a need to engage the patient and their relatives during that time. This will make the hospitals and banks and for that matter every enterprise knows how irritating or emotionally draining experience they are providing to their customers.
Customer Journey Mapping can help the companies in;
1) Knowing existing touch points and experience in each of the touch points.
2) It can give end to end view of the customer movement which can help in,
3) Improve the experience by reducing the pain points and enhancing the need fulfillment mechanism with ease and possible delight
4) Most important the entire organisation which is usually divided into silos, becomes aware about the customer journey and experience how their action or inaction impact the experience.
Journey maps can even help an enterprise in knowing people, process, channel, operation, technology involved at each step of the journey.
Focusing only on features of an insurance policy is not enough. How it is sold, agent sales training – soft skills and product knowledge, claim settlement procedures, call center experience, clarity of policy documents everything counts.
How to map a customer experience journey
1) Decide the major journeys
2) Apply existing knowledge and get additional info/research to map the journeys
3) Map the existing journey. Moments of truth, pain points, customers thinking and feeling at each touch point. REMEMBER: Emotional experience is very important to map to improve the wholesome customer experience.
4) Map it with what the journey/touch points is expected to achieve
5) Identify area of improvements
6) Define future ideal journey maps from the existing journey insights
7) Develop a plan (short-term, medium term and long term) to execute the ideal journey maps.
Customer Experience is a competitive advantage, today, winning brands owes their success not just for the quality and value of what they sell, but by the superiority of the journeys they create.
Yes, customer journey in its entirety is the product. Entrepreneurs have to expand their view of the products and services in the experience and sharing world we are in. Product and service design entails designing of customer experience and customer journey designs are core to customer experience design.
Imagine, chef and cook are making excellent food, but the restaurant where it is served, location where it is located, approach road, the soft skills of waiters, interior design, menu, home delivery service everything is pathetic and not designed keeping customers need, ease and delight in mind. Mere food quality will fail to make the enterprise successful.
Do you have your customer journey maps in front of you?
More about customer experience in the book The Bread is moving.