Every business owner, regardless of their success at maintaining good customer relations and brand loyalty, supported as they are by the use of modern tools and technologies such as best call center software will almost always tell you that customer centricity is an elusive goal.
It is natural for most of the companies in the marketplace to want to be more of a customer centric business, but keeping up to this vision is a challenge by itself. However, there are a number of things a business can do in order to become mostly customer centric.
In recent years, a majority of companies have discovered, the major importance of the customer experience they are providing.
This customer experience exists in the everyday interactions that customers have with a company via the customer support and through different touch points such as the act of requesting a particular service or purchasing, solving queries, performing a price check, and various other activities.
An interest has grown in the improvement of the customer experience in different companies, and in the various call center software that are necessary for this development.
The customer experience is actually quite complex, because it is known for typically cutting across various divisions, departments, and even functions within the same company, and to keep track of it, proper call center software solutions are needed.
For an example, let us consider an everyday process of a company, such as the filing of a claim at an automobile insurance company.
This claim may be full of information about multiple functions, such as the quality of customer service, the level of the field agents handling the customers, posts of underwriters, adjusters, and even repair shops.
From the above example, we can safely conclude that each part may have a different set of metrics and objectives set in rules for them with the details and a checklist being maintained by cloud call center software solutions.
This entire claim may take place over a period of weeks or even months, and may even require a large number of daily communications to the customer – which will include some outbound, others inbound; and some tied to a calendar or others occurring at any given time.
In a similar fashion, we can see that even asking a simple question on a cell phone carrier involves not only just the customer service handling it, but it also technically specialize in various other areas such as phone calls, messages and even features such as bill payments.
However, before we get into the tips, it is important to know what exactly the customer journey map is…
A customer journey map is a rather simple idea. It involves a diagram or a table that will illustrate some of the various steps your customers will need to go through and through this, engage with your company and customer support, regardless of what it is.
It can be a product, or an online experience, or it could even be retail experience, or even a service. The more touch points you have, the more complicated — but necessary — such a map becomes.
Sometimes customer journey maps are “cradle to grave,” looking at the entire arc of engagement.
Many times, these journey maps are used to look for very specific and accurate customer-company interactions which can be drawn out with the help of call center management software.
Let’s look at an example that will take us through the process of such a usage at a customer journey that doesn’t work very well, such as using a home theater.
Customers all around the world know that no matter what amount of research you are putting into the act of buying and setting up a home theater, it will always be frustrating and difficult, perhaps the most in regards to the electronic world, making the process of buying a car easier in comparison.
In this case, the proper usage of customer journey maps does not quite work out for several reasons, and accurate and engaging communication map between the company and the customer is not really possible.
The best customer experience is typically going to come to the customer from the company is when the said company is willing to act as a single seamless entity, which possess a lot of the different steps needed for maintaining the level of customer involvement.
For a company to do so, the company must take steps and then further on, improve upon those steps that are in most need of improvement, and in turn for this action, they must not waste any resources on steps that are less important and noticeable to the customers, for those are the steps that do not need as much improvement, and are perfectly just fine.
In this article, we will be describing Customer Journey Maps or CJM’s, which are a powerful tool that was designed to help the companies in their act of visualizing and evaluation of the customer experience from the point of view of the customers involved with the company.
CJMs are present for describe the key touch points, which are places where customers interact with the company as a whole.
They are also tools that describe the customer’s emotions and experience along the way of the interaction that is taking place, and includes the spots where the customer’s journey with the company is more or less difficult or whether it satisfying or not.
CJMs also used in the process of identify of interactions that are more important for the company and are particularly important for the customer.
When, with the use of call center software tools they are done properly, these Customer Journey Maps helps in the depict and description of the customer experience in clear, concise, and simple terms.
To do so, a proper tool is needed, and if unsure, a call center software pricing comparison must be done. They can also be used to provide certain rallying points for the cause of providing a common vision for the company, and can certainly be used in the communication with a variety of levels and functions.
A Customer Journey Map is mostly a visual picture of the customer’s experience with a company that can be studied to improve on the various aspects of the company.
It basically describes those forms of experience from a customer’s perspective alone, while being in the process of describing the activities the customer would participate in, and the words the customer might use during this introduction.
By the identifying the key moments of truth that is drawn from these maps – the company will take those steps that are mostly important for the improvement in the customer satisfaction and its renewal.
Customer Journey Maps provide a great resource allocation guide for the company. They are responsible for the identification of the places where investments in higher levels of service are more likely to attract and keep the retention of customers.
A Customer Journey Map is different than a process map, but the two are related in some ways and work in providing information for the company.
Customer journey maps essentially helps in tell the story of the customer’s experience, right from initial contact with the company, through the process of various touch points mentioned above and into a long-term relationship that is usually occurring post-transaction which is really desirable.
Here are some points that explain how customer mapping really works and how it can be used for better customer experience:
1. When the mapping is done correctly, these journey maps help is serve as a powerful tool that will allows for the organization in the process of identify key interactions the customer has to ultimately take charge in bettering their experience in moving forward.
2. There are many companies who are prone to embarking on customer journey mapping projects without having any clear idea of how they are bound to actually use the outputs from these maps.
This often lead to it complete under usage, which is not desirable when call center software are concerned. If you are unsure about the pricing of these software, check a list of call center software pricing to have a better idea.
3. Learning what drives customer engagement is the first step in developing a comprehensive understanding of not only the needs of your current and as well as the future customers, but it also develops the sub-conscious needs and the drivers that are core in dictating human behavior.
In other words, if you plan to learn more about your target market than your competitors, then you must yourself in a strong position to win against them using these maps.
4. Data analytics, both qualitative and quantitative can help in playing a rather big part in an effort of helping for the establishment of this depth of understanding in the system.
This is a process that never ceases, with the change in drivers, you need to ensure you are well positioned to determine when this is happening.
5. To ensure that there is a sufficient diversity of thought in this mapping, it is very important for the assembling of a cross functional team that will drive this project.
This allows for a range of perspectives to be considered, thus improving the current system.
6. Understanding the current customer journey and establishing a highly detailed view of the end-to-end customer experience can become a really powerful tool for the company, as it will provide a holistic visual perspective of the journey the customer is on emotional wise, hence allowing you to decide where new value could be created.
7. Customer journey maps are used to track the unique emotional journey of target customer groups across the company and not just in one department or for specific tasks only.
It therefore should be used only as a visual tool that will help in identifying opportunities for new value creation.
8. Analytics are used in helping the company construct a view of the current journey of the customer. It should be helpful in the supplementation of the regular with a far better ethnographic research useful for target observations.
Surveys are more or less okay, but is a tool which is superficial and it rarely gets to the level of insight required for the development of the high quality customer journey maps that your company deserves.
9. A good journey map should be useful in the tracking of the emotional state of the customers, and should be including how they may typically feel at any particular point of the interaction with the company.
This gives you an opportunity to identify the negative emotional states of the customers that you may wish to prevent in the future, or the positive emotional states you wish to continue with in the future.
10. Maps should also be useful enough to include key steps that definitely do not involve in the business, but are important steps for the customer interaction, which should be including wait times as well.
This in itself can often reveal new opportunities.
11. One map can be used to seek in order to capture this as a fork, if there is a sufficient course of divergence, a second parallel map should be considered as a backup map for more accuracy and efficiency.
12. Generation of new ideas to improve the journey is very important when this mapping is being tried out at first. Once this high quality and detailed customer journey map has been created, there is a need for it to be a structured process, which is put in place for developing new ideas for creating unique experiences.
This can be done is a series of creative workshops which can be focused in the involving of multiple stakeholders, or even include customers if appropriate and according to customer policies, with a great emphasis on creation of a number of choices for the selection at a much later stage of the mapping.
13. Ideas can be targeted at eliminating or mitigating causes of negative experiences — where unnecessary effort is required on behalf of the customer, or where causes of stress, confusion, anxiety and frustration emerge.
14. Once the above step is achieved can you turn your attention in developing positive experiences that will trigger an emotional connection between the parties.
This is quite important because these enduring memories are only created when there is an emotional feeling which is triggered.
This may include a surprise positive emotion, or delight, even amazement, or simply contentment if this was unseen and unprecedented by the customers.
The stage includes prototyping, testing, evaluating and refining it until a certain range of choice is developed.
15. Making the right investments is a very important strategy. Just like during any strategy development time, there are choices that must be made by the individuals involved where all the energy and investment should be channeled properly for better investment choices and design.
This important stage, however, though it looks complicated can be made simpler and cleared when vision for the future of the company regarding the journey map has been defined properly, because this is a step that you cannot actually do alone.
16. To help with the choice making decisions you should ask yourself two questions. The first is, what must be true for a particular choice to be successfully producing positive results in the test after identification what needs to be true enough to be resolved for testing those assumptions?
Secondly, what should be the explicit benefit suited for the customer, and if this is not clear, dropping the choice would be a better idea.
17. Develop customer-focused capabilities, and to do this step you must methodically and sustainably develop the required capabilities and mindset across the company, for your people really are the heart of any customer experience strategy that is being introduced to them.
18. When an investment is not channeled toward taking your employees on the journey and the further empowering them for the delivery of the desired new experience, you run the risk of leaving your strategies to chance, which is not really fruitful.
Effort needs to be put into any strategy to develop an understanding of the current capability strengths and also to help you familiarize with the various weaknesses of your team.
19. This process of effort should be helpful and constructive in including the assessment of the depth of knowledge, the real quality of skill set of the employees, the adherence to the processes of the strategy and the prevailing mindset and response to this process.
Once you find out a way to be knowledgeable about a clear picture of your team’s current capabilities, a plan can be created to bridge those gaps, reduce the negatives, enhance the positives, through the targeted training, the mentoring and the coaching of your employees in a better and faster way.
20. With a current-state journey map, you can also identify the pain points and prioritize fixes for those pain points. You can even use them for the identification of opportunities for feedback or measurement by the customers.
21. Planning content and marketing communications with a current-state journey blueprint, can help in zeroing in on the root causes of customer pain that can prove to be effective in stopping the revenue collection.
We have just provided you with a detailed list with tips and tricks to help you with the customer journey map. But, it is not enough to look at these tricks and tips and employ them without a thorough research.
No research is complete without the help of a detailed case study, and in this section we will look at an anonymous example of a company who reported positive results with the help of customer journey map.
The problem that the company, anonymously named ABC faced was that inspite of the positive implementation of customer service experience, the sales and in turn the revenue collection received weren’t improving my much as they had expected.
They had tried various surveys and had invested in a good post sales program but despite this, the situation did not improve.
They finally realized that they weren’t being able to provide the best form of advertisement and were failing to detect how to actually respond to the customer’s queries.
The challenges that the company faced were multiple. To list a few, there are the top challenges the company faced:
1. The customers often skipped the survey hence making it difficult for the company to gauge how well or poorly the customers were reacting to their services.
2. The feedbacks provided told them which services they liked and which didn’t, but the answer was varied and they company lacked a software to detect the consistent feedbacks from the inconsistent ones.
3. The numbers were all that the software counted, and there were no provisions for determining the emotional response for the customers.
4. There was no method to check their engagement with the company.
The leaders of the company called for a board meeting to decide what systems must be implemented, what must be scrapped, and what must be improved upon. After this discussion, several solutions were provided, which helped in reducing the number of flaws in the company.
They hired a software, anonymously known as CBE, to help them with this project. Some of the solutions CBE provided were:
1. Creation of a customer journey map that would help them in tracing not only customers’ emotional response to the company but also the amount of engagement between the customer and the company.
2. Created a live feed where all the data is collected live and evaluated constantly without any manual help.
3. Help in targeting particular advertisement to a particular customer based on their enjoyment.
With the implementation of the above steps the company noticed great changes in the company in terms of customer engagement and customer experience.
They not only managed to find out the emotional responses of the customers but also were able to decide what advertisement to send to their customers to ensure more deals and revenue for the company.
It might not seem very important at first glance to have a customer journey map at hand for determining customers’ engagement and emotional value, but it definitely serves in the longer run.
How to Make a Good Customer Journey Map
With the contemporary customer looking for convenient ways of communication, tracking customer experience has become easier. But, the question is why?!
Why do you think it might be a good practice to track customer experience? Customer journey maps help businesses get an overall view of brand’s customer service expectations.
Businesses are not defined by the perception they have about themselves but, are perceived by the opinions and expectations of its target market.
This makes experience mapping a strategic move. As the term suggests, it is the process of capturing and communicating complex customer interactions, which builds knowledge across your organization and facilitates seamless customer experiences.
Journey maps usually provide businesses with a visual representation of all the customer interactions and their experience, which in return helps employees meet customer expectations.
Few businesses have made it a point to use tools like call center software which help them interact with customers and design customer experience and analyze touchpoints in multi-channel interactions.
While you manage customer interactions and wish to enhance their overall experience, it is vital to optimize three things – people, process and leadership.
A typical map usually could consist everything from a call opening through post-transaction and capture points that might change the member’s perspective about your brand.
This will further help you position your agents to deliver emotional experiences and will build member loyalty.
Let us suppose you have collected all the information about your customer database. But, unless and until it is actionable data, it is not going to help your business in anyway.
That said data is not a standalone medium to understand the areas of improvement. Hence, it is crucial that you create a good customer experience, through their interactions with the brand.
This will not only help you improve your services and boost brand loyalty, but will also assist your new recruits to increase their productivity, saving your training cost.
If you are wondering where you could start from, here is a list of points to consider:
– First and foremost, it is important to understand customer issues, so you can differentiate the type of transactions you need to map.
Call center software solutions could make data readily available for you to get started or you will have to spend 30-40 days to track and record data manually.
– When you have your list of transactions ready, you can pick two or three that you want to record and then understand the process of that particular transaction.
Remember to understand how the call is answered, how customers are verified, system procedures and questions asked by customers.
You could also look at the work required to resolve the query, post call. Now you have everything needed to understand the customers’ side; it’s time to look at the employee perspective – the challenges they face and their ideas to improve the process.
– It has now become an everyday practice to make consistent efforts in enhancing customer experience. You can do the same for customer journey maps by revising them on a continuous basis.
It is significant to review different touchpoints as you learn more about your customer. Similarly, it is vital to keep technologies updated with time.
Once you’ve got a brief understanding about all the processes, you will be ready to align all the employees accordingly.
– Usually you can go ahead and ask your sales team about how their clients feel. But, it is always a better practice to get direct feedback from the customer.
Virtual call center software makes it easier for you to listen to your customers directly through surveys, blogs, service case notes, or even social media.
The software increases your reach and facilitates the seamless interactions without any human interference.
– Understanding how your brand uses various channels to stay connected with the customers is important. Hence, you will also need to look at how these channels are managed – are they managed individually? Or are they integrated in to the outbound call center software?
Managing channels individually could be a task though! On the other hand, the campaigns run by businesses should be engaging and should be optimized on a continuous basis.
– Every brand should focus on providing a seamless customer experience. It is significant for businesses to keep their technologies up-to-date. But do not forget! Maintenance is equally important.
Make sure that you have callback systems, IVR and CRM systems in place, to save the repetitive efforts put by staff.
The appropriate customer contact center software solutions will not only help customers get through smaller problems themselves but will also act as an arsenal for your employees by boosting their productivity.
– For people who were thinking that enhancing customer experience starts post sales, it doesn’t! The customer experience process usually begins with the very first contact that the customer has with your business.
It might be through your website, or through some sales agent. It might be difficult to keep a track of all the calls unless you have the best telemarketing software.
Whatever it is, remember to stay in-line with the KPIs set by your brand. Few brands may decide that a good first contact resolution would be having shorter handling time, while the other look at longer handling time as a good first contact resolution.
– Customer feedback plays a significant role in identifying the strengths and weaknesses of your brand. However, employee feedback is equally important while revising the practices.
Thus, getting insights from employees directly involved in the customers’ journey is a good practice. This could help improve the tone of call scripts and could further help analyze the tone to be used across social media channels.
Once you have received feedback from customers and employees, make it a point to use cloud contact center software so storing information becomes hassle free.
This will help you skip expensive hardware’s and facilitate file sharing with a larger storage.
– And last but not the least, as you make the customer journey map, always ask yourself if every touchpoint represents the brand image you want to deliver. Also, make sure if it is in-line with your brand values.
It is vital for businesses to think from the customers’ point-of-view, especially when you are creating journey maps.
Now since you have pointers to start creating customer journey maps so as to enhance customer experience, get going.
But, if you are still confused about how a good journey map could aid your business, let us look at a few examples quickly:
CASE STUDY 1
A leading airline and a lifestyle brand that has set its mark in providing quality service in a competitive market structure, was facing a challenge to consistently meet or exceed customer expectations.
With the company expanding at a rapid pace, there were thousands of employees added yearly to its multicultural workforce to meet customer expectations. However, this was a difficult task.
The company wanted to deliver a highly differentiated travel experience with quick service. While the company took off as the fastest-growing airlines, their rapid growth created operational challenges.
This further resulted in disjointed and sometimes disappointing customer experiences.
To address the complexities that arose while growing rapidly, the company led an initiative to draw more attention to customer experiences.
To put their plan into action, they collected data to understand what their current customer journey looked like. They then made a visual representation of all the touchpoints involved at every stage of a customers’ journey.
After collecting feedback’s and surveys from customers, they hired an outsourcing firm to draw deeper insights and to get a customer life cycle map.
The outsourcing firm was also delegated responsibility to train company employees to continue building the customer journey map in future.
The insights enabled the company to understand the root-cause of flaws in their processes and possible solutions for it.
Journey mapping not only allowed the company to track their flaws, but also helped them identify unexplored opportunities.
For example: When the company analyzed luggage-carrying habits of a group of loyal customers, they came to a conclusion that a baggage benefit for this segment would not be beneficial.
Instead if they could waive off the excess baggage fees for this group, it would make more sense for business.
Apart from all of this, inputs from the executives and the management played a key role in innovating customer experience.
Furthermore, to engage employees and improve their consistency levels about the customers’ journey, the company hired a visual training design company, which created rich visual versions of its customer journey maps.
CASE STUDY 2
A leading brokerage company with three divisions spanning two continents wanted to improve the process of managing customer experiences, maintaining customer relationships and measuring the customer satisfaction level.
The company had 10 billion in assets and processed over 2 billion a year in new loans, however, the customer database was relatively small.
They also noticed that the percentage of returning customers was as low as 20% of the total volume, although 80% of customers were high-volume brokers.
The company was not only lacking customer loyalty, but was also lacking employee loyalty. This increased their need to improve customer focus.
The company had significant customer data and process mapping data, however, they did not have a good understanding about which touchpoints were key to the sales process and which could be important to deliver good customer experience.
There were gaps between internal and external perspectives of the touchpoints. They failed to understand needs of customers at various stages of the customer relationship cycle for direct or indirect customers.
Most importantly, the quality of customer experience varied from office to office.
The company began by analyzing data and then went on to defining existing processes for experience delivery.
They then underwent Touchpoint Mapping with extensive research across regions, functions and segments as well; after which, a touch point inventory was made with information that would include their perceived value, performance and importance.
Furthermore, the company identified customer levers and needs within every stage of the customer life cycle.
Resultantly, major experience and process gaps were addressed quickly. There were teams recruited to manage touchpoints, monitored and improved customer experience efforts.
Additionally efforts over time helped systemic customer experience improvements and increase employee loyalty.
This not only helped the company build a loyal customer database but also boosted the overall loan volume.
Creating a customer journey map will let you set a common language for your employees and facilitate a brief understanding about customer preferences, likes and dislikes.
Reviewing process with the appropriate look and feel of customer experience enhances the understanding of employees and will bring in brand loyalty as a whole.
Generally, when you see lot of theory, things get a little difficult and boring for us to understand. But journey maps are like story tellers that give you a graphical representation of everything from the scratch.
Using the best call center software might just help you add a little more to this! It will not only help you get an overall view of the customer experience, but will also let you focus on particular parts of their story.
Why only talk about customer experience? Creating a journey map will also let you work on loopholes between various teams, departments or even channels.
It acts like an arsenal in improving the overall process flow for any business. Additionally, it will help you track customer behavior with changing trends in technologies.
All of it begins with research – accumulating essential data with anecdotes of user experiences and finally getting in your analytics.
All the above are sure to help you enhance customer experience as a whole, but don’t forget to keep reviewing your customer journey maps.
After all, it is all about keeping yourself up to customer expectations and taking a firm stand against your competitors, by holding on to your customer database and expanding it further.
Remember, customer is the king and the survival of your business ultimately depends on all those sales figures!