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The Customer Journey Redesigned: Looking Ahead to 2014

Surveys detailing the unpleasant things customers would rather do than call into a contact center have become a staple for news stories. A recent survey said 15% of us would rather visit the dentist than attempt a customer service call.

One of the main reasons these stories are easy for journalists to write is that companies have yet to master the basics in customer experience. Many companies still do not know what their customers are trying to accomplish. Thus they end up doing things that annoy customers—ask them to repeat their information, send them to contact center agents lacking the necessary knowledge, and transfer them around from agent to agent.

If companies were able to understand what the actual goal of a customer was—not for that interaction, but holistically — those customers would have much better experiences. We think of this as understanding the customer journey. Journeys are:

  • Events that mark the defining experiences of key lifecycles of a customer – signing up for and starting to receive a service or renewal and repurchasing, for example
  • Anchored in how customers think about their lives – customers don’t think of a call into the contact center as an isolated incident, but rather as a step in the process of renewing a service or getting their problem resolved
  • Multi-touch, multi-channel and cross-functional – corporate silos, both technological and organizational, have no place intruding in the customer journey
  • A clear change in companies’ thinking from traditional touchpoint approaches  - it is not about optimizing the phone channel, but rather about helping that customer file and get paid on an insurance claim or complete some other key journey

Understanding the customer journey gives your agents the information they need so they need not ask your customers to repeat information. It also allows you to proactively determine the next best action for your customer based on the context of the conversation.  Such an approach can bring excellent returns to the business, ranging from an increase in customers that will become promoters of the brand to a decrease in customer churn.

Obviously, to understand where in a journey a particular customer is, your organization needs to actually understand and map out the common journeys your customers embark on. Customer journey maps—basic charts that sketch out the steps your customers take to achieve a specific goal while interacting with your company—are a great start in that process. But those maps often don’t connect the stages of a journey with the channels and touch points that customers typically use at each step. Connecting the dots between customer experience technologies and customer journeys allows companies to redesign customer journeys into ones that matter most, both to the way consumers experience them and the impact on business performance.

To learn more about how you can design customer journeys that can help you enhance customer experience in 2014, join Anne Palmerine, Sr. Director, Customer Engagement & Enrollment Services, UPMC Health Plan and myself for the webinar on 11/21 titled, The Customer Journey Redesigned: Looking Ahead to 2014.