MAPPING THE CUSTOMER JOURNEY
Customers of a business go on a journey that turns an initial enquiries into a sale. The best businesses really understand the journey they take their customers on. Some businesses call it Customer Experience Mapping, others call it Customer Journey Mapping and some even refer to Customer Touchpoints. The thing to understand is that the companies that use these practices recognise higher levels of customer satisfaction and customer loyalty. The reason for this is relatively simple: it adds structure and encourages the adoption of customer service standards across your business.
Mapping the ideal customer experience sets a clear expectation and consistency for customer interactions with your firm. During the mapping process, many companies also find holes in their systems, outdated or irrelevant processes, or policies that make doing business more difficult, rather than easier, for the customer. This is the perfect opportunity to address those issues or shortcomings, eliminate, improve, or enhance them, and create an even better experience for the customer. The companies that take the time to do this understand that while we all might have a great idea in our heads on what we’d like the customer to experience when they choose to do business with us, unless you have it well planned out, it’s unlikely to happen.
Customer Journey Mapping should be done to identify, as closely as possible, the ideal experience that you would like to be able to deliver to your clients. Consider the journey of the customer through your company as they do business with you. Each time the customer interacts with a person or department, this is a “Waypoint” on your map. Briefly describe (3 or 4 bullet points) the ideal experience at each waypoint. Now keep going through each step of the process until you finish at the point of sale. Then keep going for another 2 or 3 waypoints – we can’t forget about after sale follow-up…
The great customer experiences that people refer to when they talk about companies like Apple, Disney or BMW don’t just “happen”. These experiences are created. They are mapped out step by step and then clearly communicated across the business. Just because your business is smaller than these international giants, doesn’t mean you can’t learn from them. Great customer experiences create great reputations. Great reputations build great businesses.