Your customer experience is important. It sets you apart from your competitors, affects your ability to retain customers, and impacts your bottom line. But understanding the customer experience can be challenging. What is it like for a customer who interacts with your customer service technology?
To understand your customer experience from the customer’s perspective, start by mapping the customer journey.
WHAT IS A CUSTOMER JOURNEY?
The customer journey is the series of steps a customer takes when making a transaction or completing an interaction with your brand. It includes all the major touch points and channels — such as web, chat, phone, text — that a customer would use to reach your brand. It’s important to understand the customer journey to develop a customer experience that is free from frustration and obstacles.
So how can understanding the customer journey help to improve your customer experience? And how do you get started mapping the customer journey? Start by answering these three important questions.
1. WHO ARE YOUR CUSTOMERS?
You should start by trying to understand exactly who your customers are.
Information about who your customers are can include everything from demographic information (age, gender) to geographic location, to their shopping habits. Understanding your customers helps you deliver a more personalized experience. And this can remove a great deal of friction from the customer experience.
2. HOW DO YOUR CUSTOMERS REACH YOU?
Take a look at your channels of communication:
Your customers’ channel preferences play an important role in developing your current and future strategy. You should be trying to meet your customers on the channels of their choice. Even if that means altering your strategy to priortize one channel over the other.
3. HOW DO YOU PERFORM ON THE CHANNELS WHERE YOUR CUSTOMERS PREFER TO REACH YOU?
Finally, take a look at your existing channels, focusing on the ones that customers use the most.
If interacting with your brand is difficult on the channels that are most important to your customers, it can have a negative effect on the customer experience. And customers will be much more likely to turn to a competitor the next time they have to make a purchase.
WHAT TO DO WITH THIS INFORMATION?
Once you understand the path customers take to reach you and have evaluated each of your customer service channels, start to fill in the gaps. Where are there places customers are going for information but aren’t finding it? Where are there major obstacles that you can remove?
By mapping the customer journey to understand how customers interact with your brand, you can begin to make improvements to the customer experience. For example, you can add in personalization that follows your customers throughout their journey.
Your customer experience is an extension of your brand. But often, frustrating customer experiences can have a negative impact on your customer’s perception of the brand. You can avoid this by taking steps to understand your customers’ journeys, and remove obstacles that might be in their path.