Assessing the current state of your customers’ journey is all well and good, no doubt that you learned a lot, but then what happens? Make sure you take a solution-focused approach to this process.
By creating your customer journey map, you gain the customer’s perspective on tangible touch-points and intangible journey-experiences — starting from their initial interaction, through to the post-transaction stage.
But here comes the important bit – taking action. It’s vital you focus on making necessary changes and improving the overall customer experience based on that insight.
How to use a customer journey map
How do we use our learnings? The power of a customer journey map tool is revealed when organizations convert their findings into easy-to-implement, productive actions.
Broadly, these actions fall into three categories: Improve your current journey, envision your future customer experience and drive organizational change. Each has the potential for providing better customer moments that will help your bottom line.
Improve your current customer experience
As you work through the mapping process, collect information along the way on the people involved, pain points and actions the customer takes, and how these moments are measured.
Let’s use it to examine these areas in more detail.
- The customer pain-points – Where are these along the journey and why do they occur? Pain-points could be down to broken transaction processes, negative customer support experiences or simply the customer not getting what they expected. List out potential fixes for each one and then prioritize them in order of urgency and impact.
- Underlying root problems – Sometimes things slip through the cracks, but now’s a good time to make sure everything’s working as it should. If customers are experiencing pain-points, then what is the cause behind it? Ask the tough questions to get down to the bottom of it and understand what needs improving.
- Opportunities for process optimization – As important as it is to have a mechanism for reporting back negative experiences, it’s also as important to have a chance to gain positive feedback. Look for sensible places in the journey (e.g. after a transaction is completed) for gaining feedback or measuring customer satisfaction. That way you can build on what’s working, and fix what’s not.
- Plan external content and marketing communications – If you know how consumers are interacting with your brand, the channels they’re using, and the ways in which they’re building relationships with you – use that information to improve your marketing strategy. By sharing resources or creating new information on customer interest areas, you’re adding value in areas you know your customers find useful, and creating a supportive customer experience.
Envision your future customer experience
If this is the current customer service journey, how do you want your future customer experience model to look like? Take this time to upgrade your plans with better designs and newer experiences.
A future-state journey map focuses on creating new experiences and uses innovation to get better results. With a future-state journey map, you can:
- Share the vision for your corporate strategy – Providing an all-in-one plan for future customer experience is a great visual representation of the overarching company strategy end-goals (e.g. Increase sales and improve customer loyalty).
- Gather the capabilities needed to deliver on your vision – By laying out the people and teams involved, you can check these roles against the specific capabilities you need to deliver good customer experience. If you’re missing roles, then you can forward-plan and build out those capabilities.
- Plan the rollout of a future product or service – As you’re aware of how current products and services are received now, you can learn from mistakes and plan out how you can make a future service or product more efficient. The end result will be better experiences that create happier customers.
- Identify innovation opportunities – You may want to completely change the existing customer experience, to innovate from scratch. Alternatively, explore the journey map to see where you can find innovative ways to make the journey as easy as possible for customers.
- Redesign the infrastructure and create new experiences – If a complete overhaul of the current customer journey isn’t possible, you can redesign from the current model and build in new experiences, more customer choice or efficient pathways that will leave a smile on your customers’ faces.
Drive organizational change
Implementing change at an organizational level happens when all senior stakeholders are on board, supporting the messaging and including the changes in their strategy planning.
You can use what you’ve learned from the current state journey map to:
- Align your organization around the customer POV – Using your map as a blueprint, engage with your organization departments and set-up a commitment to put the customer first. This customer-centric view will make sure that customer experience moments are top of mind when teams plan initiatives.
- Help employees and partners develop empathy for customers – Stressing the importance of happy customers can only go so far. Use your current state map to see where you can bring together relevant teams to train on customer experience best practices. Hold meetings with key partners, to arrange consistent levels of care for customers that go across stakeholder lines.
- Plan internal communications – Supplement change strategy with internal communications that celebrate and encourage better customer service. As new initiatives roll out, use internal channels to communicate how you are improving the experience of the customer, and how employees can help.
Improve your customer experience now
Customer experience (CX) is around to stay. Retained customers, improved cross-selling and satisfied customers are key hallmarks of a good customer experience model.
In fact, research by the XM Institute shows that the better the customer experience, the stronger the loyalty to the brand.