How Well Do You Understand the Customer Journey?

Are you wondering what the term “customer journey” really means? Our White Paper entitled “The Customer Journey: The Five Things You Need to Know Now” elucidates the concept of the customer journey and how it affects all aspects of service provider interactions.

The paper summarizes a roundtable discussion between 3 CX professionals: Esteban Kolsky, founder of think Jar, Brian Vellmure, principal of Innovantage and Krissy Espindola, director of Knowledge Management and Social Customer Support for T-Mobile USA. Adit Moskovitch of NICE Systems moderated the discussion.

The paper covers five topics that help bring the customer journey into sharper focus. The topics are:

  • Focusing on the macro and micro
  • Mapping the customer experience
  • Recognizing different forms customer feedback
  • Minimizing customer effort
  • Building flexible customer service systems

Macro and Micro Levels of the Customer Journey
Gaining a deeper understanding of these five topics can help you better understand the paths customers travel in their interactions with you, the service provider. This starts with recognizing that it’s essential to view the customer journey from both the macro and micro perspectives. According to Brian: “Companies must be able to take a macro/micro view of the journey: what happens in the aggregate, at the mass level and how does the journey play out at a granular, personal level, with each individual’s needs and context.”

Customer Experience Mapping
Without a map, it’s easy to get lost on any journey. This is certainly true when it comes to the customer journey. During the discussion, Krissy pointed out that service organizations seeking to understand and optimize the customer journey must “focus on what your customers expect of their experience and modify your touchpoints and processes accordingly.

Variety of Customer Feedback
To effectively map the customer journey, the service provider must begin with the voice of the customer. Krissy pointed out that it can help companies understand “what customers are saying about your brand and use it to inform decisions about marketing, service and channels, and take meaningful action” to shape the customer experience.

With the increasing popularity of social networks, it’s clear that these channels can both help and hurt service providers because customers share both positive and negative feedback on them. However, Esteban pointed out that it’s not only about what customers say on digital networks, but also what they do online—or digital behavioral data. By gathering and aggregating digital data in sufficient volume, you can find “the truth about what customers care about.” It is this broader, Big Data-driven interpretation of the direct and indirect voice of the customer that’s most relevant to understanding the customer journey today.

Minimizing Customer Effort
A successful customer journey contains as little friction as possible. Minimizing customer effort is key because, as noted in our own Customer Experience survey, customers want to expend as little effort as possible during service interactions. Krissy pointed out that “Organizations must understand the holistic customer journey—from marketing to customer service to retention, and make a concerted effort across departments to be able to provide an experience that is similar, no matter what channel an interaction occurs on.”

Flexibility Is Key
With so many different paths in the customer journey, it’s tempting to build infrastructure that can provide consistency across channels. However, our roundtable participants agreed that this could be a dangerous move as in five years, everything could be completely different. Adit agreed: “As service providers, we can expect (and certainly create) an experience that’s consistent. But we can’t expect the process of the journey—that is, the actual steps each customer takes—to be.”

This paper is packed with many more useful insights on how to analyze and understand the customer journey. Click here to download “The Customer Journey: The Five Things You Need To Know Now”.

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