For every organisation the customer experience should be a journey and not a destination. The experience that you deliver to your customers from social media every single day to the final transaction, either builds value for your brand or destroys it.
Think also beyond the traditional beginning and end of an interaction with the client. Very often companies define the customer cycle too narrowly. Look from the customer’s point of view, not your organisation’s. For most companies the journey continues with after sales support – the best time to build relationships and faithfulness. When you think about it: this is a journey so it’s not just the sales experience that counts.
A good tip is to divide (map) the customer journey into different touch-points (Touchpoint Management). What exactly is a “touchpoint”? Touch-points are all the interactions your customers experience during their relationship lifecycle with your company. Website, TV ad or a salesperson in the store, touch-points are defining the customer’s perception of your brand. Be careful, as if you are outlining more than eight to ten major touch-points you are probably mapping your company organisational processes rather than the customer experience.
Often the best way to differentiate your company from your competitors is to look at each touchpoint and identify your “stamps of authenticity”. Those are the ones that emotionally engage your customers the most. In other words those are your “wow” factors separating you from your competitors. Now is the time to talk about brands that think that they have to make every single touchpoint a “wow” factor. Don’t. Unless you are brand name is Apple and you can overcharge your clients extensively, concentrate on those stamps of authenticity and invest all your resources there.
Your next step should be identifying what you want your customers to experience at each touchpoint and how do you want your consumers to interact with them. Knowing your customers behaviour is the only way to strategically deliver your brand promises. The brand characteristics will be peaking at the stamps of authenticity you have chosen earlier.
Last but not least is the implementation of your customer journey. Designing it is one thing, putting it into practise is something completely different. I’m not going to go through the implementing process into details, as I’d like to talk only about the beginning. Your starting point (is) should be your employees. Assuming that you are hiring the right people do not forget that employees experience comes first, before the customer experience. You must take care of your people: employees need to be trained at the same levels, to the same standards, on an ongoing basis. Employees must understand the customers experience before passing it on to your clients.
One final note. Be creative and bold. Do not let only your product engineers designing your customers experience. Everybody should be involved including your clients.