How do you know what your customers really want? Understanding the customer experience has always been the way forward but if you don’t know what that is and lack awareness of the customer journey then you are likely to lose out to your competitors.
Your relationship with your customers is built around a series of interactions and they will have expectations at each stage.
Early in the decision making process your brand message and values will have an impact, the customer will have a perceived knowledge of what they are going to buy before they buy it. They will expect the product/service/business to do exactly what they believe it will do.
There will be an emotional response, even in b2b, from the purchaser e.g. need to feel reassured, can relax knowing that it is the right solution, secure, happy, confident, etc.
There will be an expectation of reward for their continued confidence in you to deliver and nowadays, the digital savvy buyers are using online experiences to judge how well suppliers are meeting their needs.
It is important therefore to map the customer journey, put yourself in their shoes and find out what happens on that journey as they begin to interact with your organisation.
Stages of interaction (touch points)
- Sales team
- Customer services department
- Accounts department
- Follow up process
- Feedback and action taken
This is not an exhaustive list and will vary from company to company
Find the gap
By mapping and ‘walking’ this journey you can begin to understand where the gaps are.
- The website is more often than not the first port of call. What have you done to monitor the user experience (UX)? Can the visitor find what they want, what is it that most of your customers/prospects want – pricing, technical specifications, case studies, buy online? How much have you invested in your website and how much did you invest in usability testing before it went live. Are you maximising the return on your website investment and more importantly are you engaging with customers. If not why not. Is your website a turn off?
- Events and exhibitions – how well trained are your personnel, when they say they will follow up or send samples or technical information do they do it and within a time frame that matches your service promise?
- Reception – how helpful, friendly responsive are your staff?
- Sales team – do they listen to your customers, do they feedback information to your marketing team, operations or warehouse?
- How does your customer feel upon receipt of service/product delivery? How do they feel when they contact the organisation? What are their expectations? What would make them happy?
- Barriers to purchase – check if there are any blockages deterring the customer from buying either direct or online.
Looking at each touchpoint and understanding customer expectations can result in major improvements to your business performance, if you take appropriate action!
- Communicate your findings to your staff across all departments and offices
- Show the bad and the good – involve individuals and share best practice
- Address barriers
Gathering this information should be an ongoing process and should include:
- In depth interviews with representative customer groups to measure attitudes and perceptions
- Regular surveys across the wider customer base
- Analysis of online activity
- Usability tests on your website
- Making use of the data that you can gather from Google analytics, Social media, campaigns and your employees.
There is no definitive style/ template for customer journey mapping, do whatever is right for your company but do it! Take that walk.
If you want to see samples of what other companies have done let us know and we will send you a link.
Want to know more? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your question.