Organizations today are agile and constantly on the lookout for disruptions. To stay ahead of the curve, they invest in cutting-edge technologies, consider new business models, focus on product innovation, form strategic partnerships, to name a few. They want to be prepared for disruptive forces.
But what if none of these pose the biggest risk to disruption? What if the single biggest source was customers?
As per a recent PWC CEO survey, 71% of the CEOs consider customers to be the top disrupter to their organization and 50% of CEOs believe that customers will replace one of their products or services with an alternative solution in the next five years.
Customers today expect you to anticipate their needs. They demand an experience that transcends the best they have had. And require you to constantly transform how you do business. How do you do that?
By embracing a customer journey mindset.
A mindset where customers are not treated as numbers but as humans with feelings. A mindset which encourages shared understanding of customers with your entire organization. And one which transcends interactions beyond a specific channel, touchpoint, business unit or device. Marketing research from the Aberdeen Group reveals organizations who embrace customer journeys maps generate over 50% greater return on marketing investments than those who don’t.
Align on journey map objectives
Customer journey maps fail primarily because of ambiguity in objectives and poor internal alignment – both caused by organizational silos.
It is imperative to collaborate and align internally towards common objectives to achieve success. For example, you could be planning to improve customer experience (CX). Or spur innovation by addressing customer’s unmet needs.
Reach out to internal stakeholders and align with them. Ensure these objectives inform your broader business goals. Journey maps vary in scope and complexity. Choose the framework that matches your objectives.
Know your customers
One-size-does-not-fit-all when it comes to customers. Each customer is on her unique journey with your organization. Would you ever treat a new prospect in the same way as an existing member looking to renew? Probably not.
Before you jump into journey mapping, know your customers. Who they are. Their preferences and motivations. The value they drive for your business.
Mine all your customer data (e.g., CRM, web, social, or survey, etc.). Segment them and focus on the most valuable ones.
Map customer journeys from the customer’s point of view
It is OK to develop a map of the customer journey based on what you think. But it is critical to validate and revise it with additional data that brings in the customer’s viewpoint. This includes both quantitative (ex. web, phone, CX surveys) and qualitative (ex. focus groups) data.
But do not stop there. Delineate all stages in a customer’s lifecycle. And, document your customers’ intent, expectations, touchpoints, and what they think, do, and feel at each interaction. Layer in business elements (e.g., messages, touchpoints, etc.) used to fuel interactions and KPIs to measure performance.
Want to go make it more robust? Build event streams. They provide a singular view of customer’s identity across devices and channels. And, unify all customer interactions over time to provide an end-to-end view of customer’s journey.
Identify critical “moments of truth” in your customer journey
Customer journey maps, done right, help you identify critical “moments of truth” – that can make or break your relationship with them.
For example, what if on her first call to your call center, a customer has to endure a long wait or navigate endless voice prompts? There’s a good chance you may lose them.
You need to focus on such moments. Invest your time, money and resources to ensure a positive customer experience during these moments.
Capture “quick wins”
Journey map insights are often leveraged to propose CX initiatives. Yet, they often fail to secure buy-in from executives reluctant to approve related investments without any proven results.
How do you show results? Identify and capture your “quick wins”. For example, instead of building the full-service customer support team to address poor customer service, prioritize self-service to answer the frequently asked questions.
These quick-wins can help drive critical momentum, buy-in and excitement for the bigger initiatives.
Measure performance of your CX initiatives
While popular metrics for example, Net Promotor Score etc., are great it is critical to know their limitations. For example, increase in such scores does not necessarily mean increased revenue or profit. You may have happy customers, but not profitable ones.
Here are alternate metrics to consider to measure your CX initiatives: Customer Lifetime Value (CLV), churn rate, cost to serve, ROI, to name a few.
Test, learn and scale
The operationalization of customer journey maps does not stop here. It is critical you measure and learn from the success or failure of these initiatives. Document what worked. What did not. And, leverage learnings to drive future planning.
Continue test and learn until you are ready to build and manage at scale through automation. Remember to continue refining your customer journey maps.
Ultimately, adopting a customer journey mindset transforms how your organization thinks and operates. It makes you nimble and responsive to the ever-changing customer’s needs and expectations. It humanizes the perception of your brand. Drives a superior, frictionless customer experience. And, generates strong ROI for your organization.
None of these are optional. In order to create competitive advantage, companies must focus on the customer.