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Is Your Customer Journey Serving You or Your Customer?

Many customer experience leaders today are examining the opportunities to identify and deliver on key customer journeys that often decide whether they win or lose key segments of customers.  A lot has been written lately about managing customer journeys instead of focusing more narrowly on customer touch points.  The reality is we have to manage both, and we need to look at managing the customer experience conveniently for our customers and not ourselves.    

Customer journeys have been around as long as consumers have been buying products and services from companies – from the advent of the industrial revolution in the late 1700’s.  Most recently, marketers have used decision journey mapping to best understand how to understand when, where and how to reach consumers in moments where they are most open to influence.  This gave rise to the ‘funnel metaphor’ in which companies examined customer interactions across the ‘consider’ ‘evaluate’ and ‘buy’ phases of their purchase journeys. 

The funnel metaphor worked for years for marketers, but it falls apart when it’s applied to customer experience management on a number of levels.  First, consumers don’t interact the same way the do with brands today that they did fifty years ago because of the rise of communication channels, peer influence, and the plethora of choice offered in competitive markets for products and services.  Moreover, as technology has given rise to new interaction opportunities and customers are increasingly mobile – opportunities to engage with both the company and the customer are omnipresent.  These present themselves in new touch points from mobile apps, kiosks, web channels and devices.  GM’s ‘OnStar’ Service and the Amazon Kindle ‘Mayday’ button are just two examples.

The first step for any Customer Experience Officer is to map key customer journeys their company has with their customers.  These journeys will share common characteristics across some industries, and vary widely in others.  Common journeys to examine include the customer onboarding process; the claims submission process; product delivery; billing issue mitigation; account registration and set-up; technical support; end of life contract extension, and the list goes on.  In most companies, a select few key customer journeys comprise the vast majority of customer interactions.  The tendency to narrow the list of key customer journeys to understand and manage rigorously is one approach to winning customer experience mindshare.   That requires serving customers with a new approach and parting ways with the customer experience that is better cost suited to the company.

If you’re interested in learning how to ‘Create Customer Journeys that Propel your Contact Center Forward in 2014’, join JD Powers and Associates Director of Social Media and Text Analytics Jacqueline Anderson and I on December 5th for the complimentary webinar.