In preparation to teach "Customer Service Excellence: How to Win and Keep Customers" for the American Management Association (AMA) in Chicago next week, I am reading a Harvard Business Review (HBR) September-2013 article that will be handed out in the class, "The Truth About Customer Experience: Touchpoints matter, but it's the full journey that really counts." by Alex Rawson, Ewan Duncan and Conor Jones.
Customer touchpoints are moments when customers interact with your organization. Some organizations focus on successful interactions, but would benefit exponentially by working toward a productive customer journey, including all of the customers' touchpoints and the organization's processes for those events. Organizations that successfully manage the entire customer experience benefit with: greater customer satisfaction, reduced customer attrition, increased revenue and higher employee satisfaction. An organizational benefit of a proactive customer service process is more-effective collaboration among functions and levels within the organization.
How do you identify your customer's journey? Begin with working sessions with executives and key managers to identify the prominent customer journey(s) and their problem points (e.g. discrepancies in sales promises and actual product/service delivered), including judgement and actual data. Then involve the entire organization to verify touchpoints and design customer service practices to meet and exceed customer needs. Organizational buy-in and a cross-functional approach ensures that a successful customer journey is the responsibility all of your organization's employees. A siloed organization cannot achieve a maximized customer journey, as open communication and team problem-solving are the keys to building a successful road map on which to continuously test and modify.
As with any organizational process, new or established, constant testing with customers and data analysis is key to keeping customers and remaining competitive. Front-line ownership with the power to change the process and the organization to be more productive, is vital to organizational growth through maximized customer journey.
Consultants, such as myself, can help you gain an unbiased view of your organization and your customer service, through meeting facilitation and data analysis to help guide you through this discovery and process development. Contact us with questions.