Customer Experience: The Basics

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In case you haven’t heard me obsess about it before, I’m a Jay Baer/Convince & Convert addict. Jay and his team are the definition of social media pros. From content to digital media and everything in between, they are my go-to resource for any questions or curiosities I have in relation to social media, content, or PR.

One of Jay’s many content streams are his #JayToday videos, in which he spends 3 minutes chatting about a topic every weekday. I recently viewed this video by him, and it sparked some thoughts in me. Especially the quote, “If it requires 5 steps to do this today, how can we make it 4 steps. And then how can we make it 3.” That is the core of…

CUSTOMER Experience 

A great customer experience is essential in setting your company apart from the clutter. But before we get too far, let’s define “customer experience.”  To aid in this, a quote from the Harvard Business Review:

Companies have long emphasized touchpoints—the many critical moments when customers interact with the organization and its offerings on their way to purchase and after. But the narrow focus on maximizing satisfaction at those moments can create a distorted picture, suggesting that customers are happier with the company than they actually are. It also diverts attention from the bigger—and more important—picture: the customer’s end-to-end journey.

Customer experience is less about optimizing individual pain-points within a customer’s interaction with a brand and more about the overall journey. Hence,

Customer Journey Mapping

A customer journey map is literally a diagram that illustrates the various steps that your customers go through in engaging with your company. It can range from product to online to retail or anything in between – and it covers everything. The more complex your process is, the more difficult to create but important this tool will be.

Let’s think about an example of this in the banking industry, specifically at the process of signing up for a new checking account at a brand new bank. Where are some possible touchpoints in this process?

  • Performing online research on the bank
    • Comparing one bank’s website appearance to others
  • Navigating the website to find account information, locations, rates, contact info, etc
    • How easy is the site to navigate?
    • How many clicks?
    • *This comes back to User Experience
  • Sending an email to the bank
    • How long will they wait for a response?
    • Is an automated response sent?
    • Do they receive a phone call after sending an email?
  • Calling the bank
    • Who answers? (loan officer, receptionist, teller, etc.)
    • What is the process for transferring them to the right person?
  • Visiting the actual bank

The list could go on and on. Journey Mapping allows us to display all of the touchpoints with a consumer in one easy format, so that we can identify pain-points, perhaps like these:

  • The need to call to set up an account – can’t I just do it online?
  • The absence of a free checking account – what if I don’t want one with a minimum balance requirement?
  • Complexities in the website design (User Experience) is the website difficult to navigate?
  • If/when I do call the bank, how long am I on hold? Or what is the automated answering machine like to navigate? How much information do I have to give to whomever I’m speaking with?

It’s important to remember while doing customer journey mapping what the customer is likely feeling/thinking at each touchpoint.

So what does the customer journey map actually look like? Here’s a beautiful example from my company, Flint Group, that details the customer journey of filling up with gas:

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As you can see, this journey map takes into account Justin’s thought process, what he encounters throughout the experience, and how it affected him (ie. what the pain-points were). That’s not to say that every customer will go through this same experience, and that’s why it’s important to develop those audience personas, like Justin.

As you can see, customer journey mapping can unveil serious sticking points within your customer experience process, as well as highlight what you’re doing really well already. Try it out for your organization – and share what you discover!

#EmilyFayeSays

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