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How to map a customer journey that improves customer retention

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26th Mar 2012
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Organisations often think that their internal process and the customer's experience are the same - but they are very different, says Colin Shaw.

Over the last ten years I have had the privilege of designing many customer journeys for our clients. I would like to share with you some of the critical aspects of this work to enable you to design a great experience for your company.
Organisations confuse processes and experiences
Many times, organisations think their internal process and the customer’s experience are the same but they are not. A process is a series of internal steps you would like a customer to take. A customer experience is the experience customers have of that journey. These are very different.
People (customers) are ‘conscious beings’ and therefore every waking moment we are having ‘experiences’. (This is why we name our journey mapping tool Moment Mapping, it maps the moments of the experience). A process is normally a logical series of steps to produce an outcome but Customers are not logical, they are people and as such feel things and are driven by emotions.
What experience drives value?
Designing an experience is not just a question of defining an experience which you ‘think’ will work. You MUST design an experience that drives value. Value is what the organisation gets out of it, i.e. an increase in customer satisfaction, increase in customer loyalty and customer retention. Sometimes what drives value is not obvious. One client, for example, was convinced that reducing the time it took to answer the phones would make a better experience. When we undertook research we discovered that it was ‘desired’ by customers but did not drive value.
What did drive value was having people answer the call who could fix the problem. Don’t lose sight of the fact that customers do not always know what they want and you are in business to make money, not to give customers everything they want.
Rational and emotional
Too many journey mapping tools I have seen only look at the rational, logical aspects of a customer experience. As over 50% of a customer experience is about emotions then this means the journey is being designed to address only half the experience. Designing a customer experience that drives value and evokes emotions is critical as well as looking at the aspects of experience psychology we outlined in our last book.
Detail is critical in designing a great experience
A great example of this is Virgin Atlantic who again set the standards by improving their experience. The detail they go into is exactly what all organisations should aspire to. In their upper class cabins they are training their crew to whisper, by employing a whispering coach.
This article outlines what Virgin consider to be a proper whisper - anything from 20 to 30 decibels! Normal speaking volume is 60 to 70 decibels. Now that is detailed, but by doing this they know they will evoke emotions in their customers of feeling cared for and being valued and virgin know this will drive an increase in net promoter scores and customer retention.
Designing a customer experience needs an understanding of psychology to give you a deep understanding of customers; a passion for detail and financial mind to make this all worthwhile.
Colin Shaw is founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy.

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By Touchpoint Dashboard
27th Mar 2012 17:36

Great post.  I completely agree with what you have to say in your Rational and Emotion section.  I think the tendency to gloss over the emotional side of the customer experience happens far too often partly because, without the right tools, it can be difficult to capture and represent this kind of information on map in a format that can be easily understood and then shared with decision makers.  But, synching voice of the customer feedback with (as you put it) rational data on a map is essential if you want to fully understand the customer journey and design an experience that drives value for both the company and the customers.  Thanks again for sharing your thoughts on this!

Jennifer Kramp
TouchpointDashboard.com

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By Holger Maassen
28th Mar 2012 15:31

Thx for sharing Colin,

Yes indeed most of our clients can't realize that their internal process and the customer’s experience aren’t the same and that the flow and steps are different. What is when, who and in which context important for the customer. Your Moment Mapping tool reminds me on two of my tools ( brainstorming and swimlane diagrams) and might be the missing link. 

And I'm sure that your Moment Mapping helps also in team building, enabling designers and stakeholders in few hours to share a common understanding of the project, its risks and aims and getting a feeling for the user and customer. And firmly believe that it's important that each stakeholder and decision makers worked a few steps in the shoes of the customer. http://ux4dotcom.blogspot.de/2010/08/walk-while-in-someone-elses-shoes.html

br, holger

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By Nigel Wilson
04th Apr 2012 13:41

Translating internal processes to customer experience is misguided, resulting in poor results for the organisation and irritation or confusion for the customer. 

 What businesses must endeavour to do is drill down to the preferences of individual customers. This includes gaining insight on how the customer would like to be contacted, what platform they would like to be contacted on, and any other specifics that they wish for from the company. An approach such as this can bring benefits for both the organisation and the customer – the customer receives information on a channel that they prefer, about products or service that they are interested in, while the organisation can engage with that customer on a much more personal and relevant level, which is more likely to lead to sales.

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