Focus on the customer journey

Why you should be focused on the customer journey if you want to improve customer experience

Why you should be focused on the customer journey if you want to improve customer experience

Currently, only 37% of customers say that their favourite retailer understands them, even though 81% of companies say they are getting closer to a holistic view of their customers. This disparity between what brands can deliver, and what customers expect has never been bigger, according to Jay Baerm a leading marketing consultant.

Customer experience is acknowledged by leading organisations, and analyst firms such as Gartner and Forrester, as providing a tangible path to competitive advantage, but how well do you really know what your customers are experiencing? This blog focuses on the first step to maximising the customer experience.

Document all the steps, for different types of customers

Different types of customers will have different expectations, if you’re a travel company for example, some people will know exactly where they want to go and when, and others may have the view that they don’t care where they go as long as it’s warm and within budget. These two audiences would have a very different expectation of experience, and a different attitude and emotion to what they experience when booking their holiday.

This difference is visible in other industries such as retail and automotive, some people know exactly what they want, others want to be guided – so a one size fits all approach is not as effective. You’ll need to spend time talking to your customers to see what groups of buyers you have coming to you, and what their emotions are.

For example, Fedex went through this exercise and discovered that one group of buyers experienced high anxiety around ensuring their packages went to the correct place, in the timeline promised. At the time, Fedex had an excellent record of doing exactly this, but for some reason, this particular type of person was still anxious about it. Fedex did not want this group going to another provider, as they represented around 10% of their total income, so they talked to the customers to find out why this was happening.

What emerged is that at the walk in store where they dropped off their packages, the packages were placed on top of a pile of other packages, ready to be shipped. This worked perfectly well, and the packages reached their destinations just fine, but the visual of a large pile caused concern, as it looked disorganised. The solution? Fedex placed a wall behind the counter, with slots in relating to the various delivery service times, through which packages would be posted. The “pile” was still behind the wall, but customers felt more reassured about how organised the process was, as they could not see it.

This example illustrates that the reasons behind customer perception are often based around emotion and irrational fears of the unexpected happening, and how a very low cost change can help you retain a significant portion of customers.

This example, and others, are featured in this Forrester Research book - it’s a great read!

IBM also produce a customer journey planning tool, which is free while in Beta mode, why not use that to get started today?

You can also access a paper on how to practically implement a customer journey improvement programme here