Customer Experience is everybody’s job, although sometimes it might be hard to see how you can influence it. It may seem like you can’t make an impact if you aren’t in a leadership position, but that isn’t the case. Today, we are going to talk about some ways you can make an impact on customer experience, regardless of your role or title.
First, lets talk about the customer journey. Step into your customer’s shoes and picture what their journey looks like.
So, you see, the customer experience is a journey, not a single event. Some stops along the way are more important than others. But, all of them form an experience for the customer that places your company into some category in their mind.
They might categorize you as fun to do business with. Or difficult to do business with. They may consider you to be easy to do business with. Maybe their experience is that you are organized & professional. Or flexible and scrappy.
The important point to understand is that – whatever their experience – they form it as they walk their journey and encounter each little step along the way.
This journey that I’ve described is really a system. A system is a group of processes that are typically cross -functional & span several different disciplines. Each individual process may have a need to be improved, but that improvement may or may not improve the overall system. If you think about your particular role in a process, in order to understand how your process fits into the overall system, you need to look upstream and downstream.
Upstream, what are the processes that feed into your process? Those processes, although potentially completely outside of your area of control, are part of the same system you are. If you want to improve the process, that is within your are of control, you will do a better job of it if you consider the processes that feed into your process. When you understand your process within the context of the larger system, you have more options open to you. If you’d like to learn more about systems vs. processes, you can listen to episode 11.
So, when it comes to the customer journey, spend some time thinking about the system that they enter into when they start down the path to solve their problem. At some point along their journey, they are going to participate in a process that you are part of. Become curious about how they perceive the process. A customer survey score doesn’t give you the full picture. Four stars tells you that they were generally happy, but now why. They might be generally happy because the prices was so low that the fact that everything else sucked wasn’t that important to them. By becoming curious about their journey, you can start to identify ways to change your process in order to improve their experience. And, when you do it with the bigger context of the system, it is likely to have a greater impact.
Remember that I mentioned that all of the steps along the journey have different levels of important to the customer? When you get curious, you begin to understand which processes have more weight. In customer journey map terminology, these are called ‘moments of truth.’ Getting a moment of truth right has the biggest impact. Improving the customer experience as moments of truth is where you will get the biggest impact. Is your process a moment of truth for your customer?
If we go back to the idea that individual processes make up a larger system and that the system for customer experience is defined as their journey through their doing business with you then you can see that it becomes important for them to have a single experience. As a customer, they don’t care that they are moving from the marketing department to the sales department to the legal department to the delivery department to the support department. They are doing business with Company X – your company – and the distinction between departments is irrelevant. But, many times, we don’t design the customer journey in that way. Because we are organized into departments, we approach our processes from our departmental silo and often forget to blend it into the larger customer experience system.
So, this week, I challenge you to spend some time thinking about your customer’s journey. Where do your processes fit into that journey? What experience does the customer have with your part of their journey? What are the experiences they have before they get to your process? These are the upstream processes that feed into yours. What experience does the customer have with those processes? Is the experience consistent? What about the processes downstream from you? When you’ve done your job, where will the customer go next? What will that experience be, and how consistent is it with the experience they just had with you? What are some ways you can improve the experience? What are some ways you can ensure their experience is consistent?
You know, the customer journey, at its highest level is the same at every single company for every single customer. First, they identify that they have a need to fill. Then they figure out their options and evaluate them. Then they make a decision. They you deliver what you promised. Then you provide some type of ongoing service that hopefully results in them making another purchase in the future. Its that simple when you think about it. But, oh is the reality so much more complicated. An, this is where the real work of customer experience begins.
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