Throughout recent history, many efforts have been made to understand what people consider to be ‘fair’ when it comes to the process of pursuing and waiting for the service they need from a provider.
Adrian Swinscoe is a consultant, researcher, economist, and former teacher who – like me – cares deeply about helping organizations provide the greatest possible experience for their customers and teams. He has written extensively on the human experience element of queuing and the customer journey. In this 2016 Forbes piece, he observes (rightly) that organizations can not take a “purely rational and efficiency based approach as this ignores the emotional impact of any new queuing system.” He shares a few examples of companies that focused too much on things like perceived fairness in the waiting time, placing monetary value on the freedom to wait for service out of line, or compensating people for giving up their spot in a queue.
He makes the point that these efforts might work in theory, but without actual, actionable data about the people engaged at each step in the customer journey, most of these efforts ultimately will fall short of doing any good for the organization.
How to gather – and what to do with – customer journey intelligence.
It’s been said that big data lacks inherent value. The only way intelligence can improve business performance is to know how to parse that data into analytics and insights that answer specific, carefully constructed questions. And that requires knowing what questions to ask. This is a process of understanding what you want to do, what problems you’re solving for customers, and what outcomes you need to achieve in order to achieve operational benchmarks and compete for the right customers.
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Used well, journey intelligence enables your team to use technology and operational approaches to offer a more personalized, more human touch to each customer, regardless of what phase they are interacting with your organization. It also provides insights to your team on what to do in order to deliver on your customer service promise.
As we think about customer journey management, the objectives and outcomes all point to the actions an organization needs to encourage with each interaction online and onsite. From the first moment of engagement, for example, the goal is to motivate the prospect to schedule an appointment or make a purchase. Knowing how prospects typically engage at each touchpoint, and what they perceive to be a positive, productive experience is vital to mapping and executing customer journeys that solidify the value of your brand with the individuals you need as customers.
This is where journey intelligence and insights becomes so absolutely vital to the success of your organization. Knowing what KPIs you are aiming to achieve, and then mapping each step in the customer journey to those outcomes establishes a plan of action for your organization that encourages the human decisions you need most.
What you need to map and support productive customer journeys:
- An ecosystem of technologies that generate, communicate, and parse data at each touchpoint.
- The ability to isolate the analytics for each step in the journey and to use it to gain a comprehensive understanding of the entire journey.
- Ways to gather information about each customer in order to better understand their needs so you can match them with the appropriate service provider in your environment and to personalize their experience in a way that establishes and nurtures relationships with long term value.
- And finally turning all that data and information into actionable insight based on KPIs.
Remember, too many organizations fall into the big data trap. Without starting the process with the end goals for your customers and your organization in place, you risk getting trapped in a data spiral that has little value to you and no value to your customers.
It is important to have a partner who can help you to dissect your current customer journey and realign each engagement point to cultivate actionable knowledge about how various activities at those points can answer specific questions, meet company objectives, and create new opportunities. That is the kind of intelligence that you can use to smooth out the process from first engagement to completion, and to build continuous improvements into your operations and staff.
You need to evaluate your customer journey with an eye to your KPIs to help you determine what data will answer the questions and build the strategies you need to move your company toward achieving desired outcomes. And then put the technologies in place that not only create a better experience for your customers and staff, but also gather real-time insights about their experience to fuel ongoing improvements.
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