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Mapping the customer journey to success

27th Jul 2016
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It’s amazing to consider how digital innovation is transforming our lives by making everything easier, quicker and more convenient. Think of the huge brands which have emerged over the past 2-3 years to shake up their industries. Uber, Airbnb, Whatsapp, Facebook. What unites these behemoths is the fact that technology underpins their whole business models: they don’t actually own the very products or services they provide.

Uber (the world’s largest taxi company) doesn’t own any taxis; Airbnb (the largest accommodation provider) doesn’t own any property, Whatsapp (the world’s largest messaging company) doesn’t own any phones, and Facebook (the world’s most popular media owner) doesn’t create any content.

These examples show how digital transformation has had a momentous impact on the way in which businesses and brands connect with their customers. Business models across all sectors now need to undergo constant evolution to understand the way customers want to live their lives and interact with them.

I believe the businesses that will really succeed are those which can not only meet these needs, but also use insight to predict and inspire their customers’ behaviour.

Focus on the customer

The one immutable fact for businesses is that today’s consumer is empowered and expects immediate answers and instant gratification. A report by Zendesk found that 82% of customer who switch brands do so because of poor service, and 70% of buying is based on how the customer feels they are being treated.

With market researchers Vanson Bourne also revealing 85% are unlikely to do business with a company following a bad mobile experience, it’s clear customers do not have the patience to wait for businesses to catch up with the service they expect.

This is proof that regardless of how fantastic your product or service is, if you’re unable to meet the fundamental need of a good customer experience, there are potentially serious implications to your business (and bottom line).

This means the most impactful digital transformation strategy must be around transforming your customers’ experience with your company.

Map the customer journey

The advice I always give when speaking to businesses about how they can deliver a great customer experience is this: imagine you are the customer.

One of the most effective ways to gain perspective is the creation of a customer journey map in order to quite literally visualise the multiple touchpoints that customers can access to interact with your business.

The mapping process I recommend is:

1. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes – What service do you expect? How important is it that when you ring a call centre to discuss an ongoing issue, the employee knows who you are, when they last spoke with you and can provide a solution which suits you? We all have busy lives and need to remember that our customers are no different.

2. Empower your employees – It’s essential that employees have the technology and support they need to help them do their jobs. However, according to Forrester research, only 37% of leaders have a dedicated budget for customer experience improvement initiatives. Businesses should consider how CRM technology can help their employees to work in a more informed and efficient way which will benefit the customer experience.

3. Don’t fixate on sales - Of course the primary motivation for shifting towards a customer-orientated view is the hope that the insight gained will lead to an increase in sales. However, if your attention is drawn too readily by your bottom line then you risk forgetting the actual needs of your customers. The customer service and experience should always be at the forefront of the digital strategy. Focus on the wider picture and let the profits take care of themselves.

4. Make the map an integral part of your business - When complete, your customer journey map should become a crucial document that rests at the centre of your business, capturing best practice and sharing it with all of your employees.

It’s clear that investment in digital innovation is crucial for businesses to meet the needs of today’s consumers. Businesses such as Uber and Airbnb saw a gap in the market to use technology to disrupt their industries before anyone else. But equally, businesses should not be innovating for the sake of it. At the heart of a digital transformation strategy should always be the question: what will give our customers the best experience?

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