Every journey begins with a single step. When it comes to improving customer experience, the first step in your journey can be a simple one. Just ask yourself: “How can we make this experience better?”
There’s little doubt that the broader discipline of customer experience management is complex; it encompasses no less than every segment, function, journey and customer-facing process or technology your company employs. But at core, the process is relatively simple – anyone can do it.
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Here’s how. By looking at those places where you interact with your customers today, and capturing the experience from your customer’s perspective, you’ll begin to understand how specific journey stages and touchpoints impact the end user – and will start to see where barriers exist.
For your customers, the objective is about accomplishing a goal or getting what they need from your firm. For you, it’s about making that process easier and more enjoyable for your customers, while also making it more efficient for yourselves.
Whether from the customer or the business perspective, there are really only three things you can do to make the customer journey work better. You can…
- Add new steps, processes or interactions where they are missing.
Do your customers ever find themselves unable to do things like… cross channels? Or save transactions to complete later? Perhaps your systems gather data from customers upfront – that you can’t use further down the line. Things like this indicate both that your customers are encountering barriers, while also indicating that you’re missing interactions, processes or steps in the journey that will make their lives – and yours – more effective.
- Improve existing journeys, and the touchpoints that deliver them.
In many cases, you may find that the right steps are in place but that they aren’t optimized to meet customer needs. Like a mobile banking app, for example, that doesn’t allow remote deposit via a photo of the check. Or a customer loyalty program that doesn’t notify customers when their favorite items are on sale, or a new style is available. Identifying opportunities like these is a great way to drive maximum value with (relatively) minimal effort.
- Remove woefully underperforming or redundant processes, steps or interactions.
Many times, something is in place because “it always has been…” We worked with a client last week that had multiple manual processes in place to transcribe customer data from one form to another, since their systems didn’t connect. A quick analysis showed that the cost to eliminate these extra steps and link technologies was far less than the cost of continuing as before. While it can be difficult, eliminating redundancies is almost always a sure path to ROI.
You can start finding answers – “where should I add, improve or remove?” – by increasing your understanding of who your customers are, what they want, and what’s important to them. This requires adopting an outside-in perspective and approach, which is MUCH easier said than done.
But learning how your customers feel – and how well they believe their needs are met – is in and of itself the critical first step in improving their experience. Because once this question is answered, there are only a handful things left to do; add, improve or remove. Or, of course, if it isn’t broken, do nothing. Knowing that things are working as they should – and being able to show it – can be the most valuable action of all.
Because a better customer experience doesn’t always mean reinventing the wheel. Sometimes all it requires is examining the experiences you already deliver, and asking how you can make them more in tune with customers’ expectations and needs.