The Customer Experience: Journey to Wow!

By Keith Fiveson

Would you love to deliver a “wow” experience that makes your customers feel wonderful each and every time? In order to deliver truly outstanding customer experiences, it’s important to know what your customers really want and whether you are succeeding in giving it to them. To do so, you need to listen to the voice of your customers at every level of their brand experience.

This approach bridges the customer/organization gap and creates value. You can ensure customer satisfaction across various levels through the following methodologies:

Mapping Customer Experience: Create a map of customer experience across channels. A powerful tool that can assist you to achieve this objective is customer journey mapping (CJM). CJM involves mapping the “journey” of a customer through his or her experiences at various touch points (points of customer interaction) in your organization.

Every stage of customer interaction is valuable and as such should be a part of your CJM. Include customer brand awareness and attraction touch points through websites, advertisements, marketing literature, and events. Next, consider customer interaction and consideration, such as initial calls, email, and other interactions. Lastly, analyze customer cultivation through sales meetings, purchases, product or service implementation, repeat customers, referrals, and customer service interactions. This list will vary depending on the size and nature of your organization.

Each touch point is assigned an owner, and its value is assessed depending upon the touch point’s influence on the customer. Connecting these touch points provides a map structure that clearly explains the purpose of each touch point, its operational efficiency, and its customer experience impact. For a superior customer experience, customer satisfaction at each of these touch points is essential.

An effective CJM empowers you to:

  • detect problematic points quickly
  • improve operational efficiency of problem areas
  • identify new customer experience opportunities
  • experience your brand from your customer’s standpoint (moments of truth)

Measuring Customer Experience: It costs five times more for a business to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing customer. As such, it is crucial to keep current customers satisfied. This means you need to measure customer satisfaction to analyze, improve, and deliver. While customer surveys, interviews, feedback cards, and dashboards are popular methods, you can complement them with these additional effective methods:

  • Have company outsiders (mystery shoppers) report their experience as customers with your organization. Mystery shopping can be accomplished through emails, phones, or in person.
  • Monitor customer interactions on phone, email, or chat to evaluate quality.
  • Examine customer/company interactions for conformity with preset organizational criteria.

Managing Customer Experience: Monitor customer experience segments constantly for changes. These changes give you insight into customer expectations and help you improve accordingly. And never forget the most critical element of all: listening to your customers.

For an enhanced customer engagement, you need to involve your whole organization, not just an isolated group. This is a customer-driven economy; create value for your customers and be valued in return.

Keith Fiveson is CEO of ITESA and GetCustomerExperience. He has client experience in over forty countries.

[From Connection Magazine Jan/Feb 2011]

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