A Path to Customer Experience Excellence

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You may already know that it’s critical for your entire organization to work together to create the experience your customers want and expect. You know that consistent, relevant and personalized customer communications, delivered via print, email, web portal or mobile channels, are important touchpoints in the customer experience to make it either a positive one or a negative one. What may be a little fuzzy is how to help focus the entire company on a customer-centric mentality.

A place to start is by creating a customer journey map that is accessible to all involved departments and job functions. This activity alone provides an effective way to help align all your customer communications with the overarching goal of providing a positive customer experience. Additionally, it helps gain organizational buy-in for that necessary customer focus and customer centricity; aids in understanding your customers and their interactions with your organization; and builds the necessary internal empathy for them.

The challenge begins here

Invoices, policies, account statements and other “cost-of-doing-business” customer documents and communications are fundamental essentials, but the challenge with these documents can be how they are created. Historically, they are IT-driven and operations-driven to ensure they are branded, compliant, personalized and relevant from an operational perspective. Unfortunately, too often there are as many as five to seven separate legacy IT systems that flow into the creation of one piece of communication. Then add another layer of compliance and regulatory requirements and there must be approval processes, as well.

In most cases, those most responsible for the customer experience are not involved at any point in these processes, so the messages that these documents convey tend to reflect the organization’s purposes rather than considering how customers perceive them.

Creating a positive customer experience cannot be the sole responsibility of any single internal department. For example, sales, marketing, accounting and others need an understanding of how the upstream experience can potentially result in a complaint—or a compliment—to customer service. Customer journey maps, particularly those that are dynamic and available in real time, become an important tool for understanding how customers are impacted at various touchpoints in their relationship with your organization. These maps can only be created through internal collaboration.

Journey mapping for a better customer experience

If you haven’t yet thought about using journey maps within your organization, it’s time to change your thinking and get started with mapping. It will require opening fluid channels of communication between internal departments; however, the effort is worth it for these key reasons:

• Breaking down organizational silos. Cross-functional departments collaborate and work together for a common goal: a seamless customer experience

• Building a single view of the customer. Once those silos are broken down and departments are sharing data about customers, that single view is achievable, leading the way to more personalized communications and more positive customer experiences

• Ensuring everyone has skin in the game. Enabling various departments to see how they impact the customer experience

• Identifying key customer decision moments and performance measurement opportunities. Customer-destined communications and documents are an often-overlooked touchpoint, yet they are key to a customer’s decision to do business with you or go elsewhere

• Identifying inefficiencies. Allows you to update, fix or eliminate inefficient touchpoints and processes, rules and policies that don’t make sense to the customer

• Marching to the same beat. Easily accessible, dynamic customer journey maps form the foundation for your customer experience strategy, ensuring that all areas of the business understand the work to be done and move toward the same goal

Converging customer communications and customer experience

While the journey map can ensure that all departments of your organization are on the same page, for the time spent to be worthwhile you will need to apply this information to all your customer communications. When customer communication management (CCM) and customer experience management (CXM) are integrated, the benefits make it possible to overcome some of the issues inherent in traditional, siloed legacy systems and create a consistent and positive customer experience. Major benefits gained are:

• The ability to develop personalized and relevant messaging via any delivery channel or medium

• Making it possible for all departments to get the right message to the right person at the right time, in the customer’s preferred format

• Gained efficiencies that can’t be achieved elsewhere, such as allowing for the compliance team to be a part of the design process in a way that it couldn’t previously, expediting the time from design to delivery to the customer

• Driving collaboration and cross-functional cooperation, opening the door for a seamless experience for the customer across the organization

• Getting the entire organization to speak the language of the customer, rather than the internal, technical, non-customer-friendly terms that are used all too often

When CCM and CXM are thought of as in the same vein, it can’t help but improve the perception customers have about your brand. Utilizing customer journey maps to bring your customer communications into alignment with your overall customer experience strategy results in a truly positive customer experience in all their interactions with your organization.

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