With constant changes in technology and brand-new ways for customers to interact with the companies, it has become utterly critical for companies to anticipate how a customer will act at every step of the road. Setting goals based on outdated expectations is not advisable in today’s scenario.
Organizations use customer journey maps to analyze user behavior and understand how customers travel with the company. This helps organizations in two ways – one; it allows decision-makers to stay focused on customers and two, it helps make each step of the potential customer interaction easier.
Though it’s not an easy job to get into the minds of your customers, redefining customer journeys can impact a company’s ROI. The more agile a company is in accommodating customers’ tastes and experiences, the better the bottom line.
Market-leading companies, such as Apple, Google, Netflix, Amazon, have set high customer experiences – and this has led people to expect the same from even the most slumberous corners of the market.
Transforming customer journeys is not another marketing initiative in your checklist, but more important than what you’ve imagined. Consumers are demonstrating their intent very clearly along the journey, and it needs to be translated into most compelling opportunities along the new journey path.
Why is transforming customer-led-journeys so important?
Customers increasingly dictate the rules. According to McKinsey’s report, 75% of customers expect an immediate service – within five minutes of making contact online. And the top reason customers switch brands is because they feel unappreciated.
It may be because of the millennials and Gen Z generations, which make up to half of the population today. For them, everything is instant – instant information, instant communication, and above all, instant gratification. They are unsatisfied with the traditional approach of companies.
Also, it is observed that nearly 80% of companies that lead in customer experience outperform those who don’t. Instead of spending on uncoordinated initiatives that are costly redundancies, the business gets better when the company reorganizes the change initiatives around the customer experiences.
This way, you bring your entire company under the same tent – Product development, Delivery, Back-office, Finance, Risk, and Support teams. Companies can thus get rid of the siloed structure and work towards producing better and less risky solutions.
What are the right ways of transforming customer journeys?
When customers engage with a company, they don’t see billing, onboarding, customer service, or sales as different individual experiences. For them, all these disparate parts of a company are part of one single journey.
Companies that are on a mission to transform the customer journeys must focus on identifying, understanding, and mastering the complete end-to-end customer experiences.
Companies should reorganize change initiatives around the customer journey.
Employing the principles can be done with a finite budget and resources by figuring out ways to drive the adoption equation while doing what a company can do with the resources available.
Successful customer-journey-at-scale transformation involves four key elements.
Step 1: Define clear customer journeys
The whole idea of establishing a distinctive customer journey is connected to the conviction to serve the customer’s needs. Every employee in the company must be made aware of this simple truth through a shared vision.
Most of the companies think about touchpoints, individual interactions through which customers engage with parts of the business and its products and services, as the foundation for customer experience. These touchpoints show siloed focus and miss the bigger picture of representing end-to-end customer experiences.
From the customer’s perspective, most of the company’s activities look like components of a small end-to-end journey sets rather than like hundreds of isolated processes. To build a customer journey, a company must connect all its moving parts, such as back offices and support functions. For example, a single click on the ‘Help me design my wedding gown’ should set in motion a series of interconnected activities of Operations, Logistics, Marketing, Legal, and more. That’s a seamless customer journey.
Based on these customer journeys, organize new teams or realign existing teams. Accordingly, hire the potential talent to fill in the skill gaps, then set up new goals and incentive plans aligning to the modified customer journeys.
Step 2: Identify what matters the most to customers
Guessing based on the customer journey on the website is not always accurate; in fact, it’s mostly wrong. Designing customer journeys takes an extensive, ongoing journey and an innovative mindset.
How can companies determine which factors are the most critical to their ideal customer segments? Understanding the most important journeys, segment by segment, helps businesses maintain focus and have the greatest impact on customer satisfaction and its bottom-line performance.
Customer-Centered Design allows companies to design the journeys keeping in mind customer’s needs. Products and services can be crafted to resonate with customers and improve customer engagement with the company.
This approach includes the deep study of the customer via Demographics, attitudes, motivations, behaviors, etc. And this is an evolving process because the customers’ needs and preferences are ever-changing.
Adopt state-of-the-art digital technology such as robotics, artificial intelligence, automation, and machine learning. Integrate digital technologies with the existing processes or even replace them rather than adopting them in separate initiatives. Example – auto-filling applications, identifying the next best offers or performing real-time error checking.
Step 3: Enabling and Executing the Transformation
Companies focused on customer-centric approach engage customers at every level of the organization. Since employees are the ones who interact with the customers, it’s important to listen to them and establish mechanisms to address customers’ issues and needs.
Every customer journey requires talent contributions from throughout the organization, so the journey team should be comprised of members from every relevant business and functional area. The cross-functional team brings together designers, analysts, process engineers, data scientists, developers, business managers, technology specialists, and other personnel.
Organizing customer journeys at scale require more diffused decision making and faster action. The teams need to remain up to speed on project progress and issues and work together to overcome roadblocks quickly.
Implementing agile core principles is ideal for creating customer journeys – action over deliberation, speed over perfection, think big but implement gradually, etc. Allow your employees to do whatever they can to improve the customer experience and fix problems themselves.
Step 4: Governing and Funding the Transformation
Companies need to understand if the established customer journeys are creating value – if not, what could be the next good steps to correct its course. Companies need to have a comprehensive method for governing and tracking progress.
The advent of analytics and big data has helped organizations to continuously track performance, such as financial, operational, and customer metrics. Because the very nature of journey teams is so different, we might have to drift away from traditional performances. The journey owner of each team would be responsible for adhering to goals.
Tools on behavioral psychology, used as a layer in the design process, can be used to sequence customer interactions and drive them in a positive direction. By ‘control and choice,’ the tool can merge different touchpoints to reduce the duration and create a feeling of progress.
Reorganizing and mastering customer journeys is not just a transformational endeavor but also a daunting challenge. Companies need to reconfigure the way the organization and its people work and track progress.
Almost every successful company recognizes that it is in the customer-experience business. With a new approach and digital strength, any company can fully act on its belief that the customer is the center of any business.
Over time, as more journeys emerge, the company’s change initiatives are ultimately organized around journeys.