The Customer Service Journey: Does It Lead Customers Back to You?


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customer journey The Customer Service Journey: Does It Lead Customers Back to You?This is part 2 of our dis­cus­sion on Cus­tomer Jour­ney Map­ping that we’re fea­tur­ing this month.

The ulti­mate goal of cus­tomer ser­vice is to deliver a pos­i­tive expe­ri­ence every time con­sumers reach out to your prod­uct, brand or ser­vice. Whether it’s a phone inter­ac­tion, web– or social media-based com­mu­ni­ca­tion, store­front encounter, or prod­uct expe­ri­ence, these “touch­points” add up to what is known as the cus­tomer ser­vice journey.

Map­ping the Jour­ney: Before, Dur­ing and After the Sale

Do you know what path your cus­tomers take when they do busi­ness with you? Are there road blocks or is it clear sail­ing? Is there pleas­ant scenery or junk piled in the alley­ways? Do peo­ple along the way pro­vide help­ful guid­ance or are they too busy to be both­ered? Is sig­nage up to date?

To get a clear under­stand­ing of the cus­tomer jour­ney, you’ll need to map the process. Depend­ing on the size and com­plex­ity of your com­pany, it might include dia­grams that take up a whole wall, or sim­ply sketches on the back of a nap­kin! Just remem­ber, any­time a cus­tomer comes in con­tact with your brand—before, dur­ing or after the purchase—it’s a touch­point. And the goal is to deliver a pos­i­tive expe­ri­ence every step of the way.

Ÿ Before: New Aware­ness, Research and Con­sid­er­a­tion. A first-time cus­tomer is learn­ing about your com­pany and prod­uct offer­ings. They may research and com­pare options before mak­ing a deci­sion, uti­liz­ing ads, a retail out­let, online tes­ti­mo­ni­als, your web­site, cat­a­log, FAQs, social media, blogs, or inter­ac­tions with a cus­tomer ser­vice agent.

Ÿ Dur­ing: Selec­tion and Trans­ac­tion. This is where the cus­tomer com­mits to and, if all goes well, fol­lows through on the pur­chase. This could hap­pen at a phys­i­cal store, through your web­site, by phone con­sul­ta­tion, or mail-in/fax form.

Ÿ After: Sat­is­fac­tion. Cus­tomers may inter­act with billing, prod­uct sup­port, ship­ping, returns, etc. They may receive follow-up sur­veys, prod­uct newslet­ters, a thank you, and follow-up offers.

Ÿ The Return Jour­ney. This is where a cus­tomer is so sat­is­fied that he or she decides to make future pur­chases with your com­pany and share pos­i­tive expe­ri­ences with oth­ers, either face-to-face or through social media. Follow-up reminders and spe­cial offers nur­ture loy­alty and help con­tinue the relationship.

Eval­u­ate the Itinerary

In addi­tion to out­lin­ing each step in the jour­ney, it’s impor­tant to under­stand the consumer’s emo­tional response at each touch­point. Con­sider the following:

Ÿ How do cus­tomers feel and react at each interaction?

Ÿ Where do they get stuck? What are the obsta­cles? Does any part of the process lack infor­ma­tion or get too com­pli­cated? Is there any point at which cus­tomers are dis­cour­aged from mak­ing a pur­chase or re-engaging your business?

Ÿ What can be done remove the obsta­cles and make the cus­tomer jour­ney a plea­sure from start to finish?

Brand-wide Ben­e­fits

When you under­stand the jour­ney your cus­tomers are tak­ing to engage with your brand and how they’re respond­ing at each touch­point, you can begin to address any nec­es­sary changes. Insights gained from map­ping and eval­u­at­ing the cus­tomer jour­ney can improve your entire orga­ni­za­tion, includ­ing dis­tri­b­u­tion, prod­uct devel­op­ment, mar­ket­ing, brand­ing, and ship­ping as well as cus­tomer ser­vice. You may dis­cover, for example:

Ÿ Cus­tomers are thrilled up to the point they receive their prod­uct, only to find that the set-up instruc­tions are unclear and frustrating.

Ÿ A lot of money is spent on small gift items to accom­pany each pur­chase, how­ever they’re get­ting lost in the packaging.

Ÿ A larger than expected older demo­graphic is drift­ing away at the research phase because FAQs are directed at 20-somethings.

Ÿ The shop­ping cart expe­ri­ence doesn’t trans­late well to mobile users.

Ÿ There is no follow-up after a sale, and even cus­tomers with a pos­i­tive expe­ri­ence are engag­ing other com­pa­nies for their next purchase.

See­ing your busi­ness through your cus­tomers’ eyes will pro­vide invalu­able insight for improv­ing their sat­is­fac­tion and loy­alty. And while this knowl­edge can ben­e­fit the entire orga­ni­za­tion, it’s pri­mar­ily your cus­tomer ser­vice depart­ment that will guide the con­sumer through any stum­bling blocks along the way. There­fore, under­stand­ing the cus­tomer jour­ney is the foun­da­tion for cre­at­ing a suc­cess­ful cus­tomer ser­vice strategy.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jodi Beuder
We help organizations create a positive connection between customers and brands. We promote synergy through integration as it builds on the decades of collective history of renowned expertise. MHI Global is your comprehensive source for customer-management excellence solutions to compete in today's ever-changing, customer-centric environment.


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