What is a customer journey?

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What is a customer journey? customer journey
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A customer journey is just what it sounds like. It is taking your Customer from point A to B. From onboarding to adoption. However it is not as straightforward as it sounds. in a manner that is effective for the customer and efficient for the team. Customer journeys encompass a variety of events that occur before, during, and after the purchase or use of a product or service. Journeys can be lengthy, spanning numerous channels and touchpoints and lasting days or weeks at a time. A classic example is bringing on a new customer. Another example is resolving a technical issue, upgrading a product, or assisting a customer in relocating a service. The focus should be on making the experience consistent for all customers. For example consider Mc Donalds – a burger or fries at any Mc Donald’s restaurant will taste the same across all the outlets. Even the general layout of the store, the functioning ensures that all customers have a consistent experience across any outlets. Organisations have to find the right balance between high level interactions with customers and touchpoints that can be automated. A study conducted by Forrester revealed that 86% of senior level marketers agreed that it was critical to create a cohesive customer journey across all customer touchpoints

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What is the significance of customer journeys?

Not mapping journeys efficiently and managing the cross-functional, end-to-end experiences that shape the customer’s perception of the company can result in a cascade of negative effects. Those who give the finest customer experience from beginning to end may expect to improve customer happiness, increase sales and retention, and lower end-to-end expenses.

According to Google, 89% of successful businesses say anticipating customer needs and providing assistive experiences along the customer journey are critical to growth. Ideally, every business would like to spend unlimited time with every customer of theirs. But this is not practical. 

In 2015, Mckinsey conducted research on a company. The findings were thus : While the company’s overall customer satisfaction metrics were high, focus groups revealed that a significant percentage of consumers had left over time due to bad service and lousy treatment. Most consumers weren’t irritated by a single phone call, field visit, or other single service interaction—in fact, single touchpoint events didn’t matter much. The consumers’ cumulative experience across many touchpoints, multiple channels – i.e. their overall customer journey –  over time was driving them out the door, and it was something the organisation wasn’t examining or managing. To be more specific, the main reasons for churn were as follows

  • Bad Onboarding
  • No ongoing customer success
  • Bad customer support
What is a customer journey? customer journey

How will insights gained from customer journeys help?

What is a customer journey? customer journey

“Companies that use customer journey programs to realign their organisation around their customer can realise improvements of 20 to 40 points in customer advocacy scores, cost reductions of 15% to 25%, and revenue increases of 10% to 20%”, says Bharat Podar, MD, Boston Consulting Group.

Enhance customer experience

The insights gained from customer journeys can help reduce these and make customer experience better. When you analyse your customer journeys you can zero in on the problems or leaks. It will help you where exactly the problem is, revisit the problem and rectify the process to perform better. Even better, it will help you gauge what clicks for you and is helping create a good experience for the customers. You can include such things in the best practices to ensure the process becomes robust and efficient.

Track numbers against what is going on

Once the journey is set up, you can evaluate each touchpoint within the journey and assign metrics to gauge the performance of each individual within the team. This will help you create a blueprint of what works and what doesn’t and would also aid future members of the team in getting familiarised with the processes. Just like the employees, you can also assign scores to customers. Customers’ total involvement and contentment with your product or service, as well as their likelihood of renewal or churn, are measured by health scores. Health ratings are a leading sign of probable account or customer problems.

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Creating Impactful Customer Journeys

Segment your customers 

For any organisation, segmenting its customers is crucial. You cannot give the same level of success to a customer spending 10000 and a customer spending 1000. Start by defining the tiers of customers. High, mid, low. Evaluate the kind of customers you have to see if any other segments can be created. You can assign ranks or levels for each type of customer. Design rewards and perks for each level. For example, consider you are a food delivery company. You can create tiers for customers by the frequency with which they order, by the order amount or even by the restaurants that they order from. Let’s assume you segment them according to the order frequency. You offer silver tier to people placing orders twice a week, Gold to people placing orders 4 times a week and platinum tier to people placing orders more than 4 times a week. Now each tier can be offered different perks and rewards – the silver tier can be offered discount coupons on every alternate order, the gold ones can be given free delivery while the platinum ones can get BOGOs or one meal on the house in a week. Thus, this will ensure all customers are getting perks and also differentiated at the same time. 

Start Small 

Start with small parts of the journey. Gauge the success and then move forward. Map the entire journey in parts – onboarding, renewal etc. Work on building each part so as to enhance overall customer experience. The Temkin Group found that companies that earn $1 billion annually can expect to earn, on average, an additional $700 million within 3 years of investing in customer experience. This is especially true in today’s hypercompetitive consumer markets, which are multi-touchpoint, multi-channel, and always-on. Consistency of service and experience across channels is nearly impossible until you manage the journey, not just individual touchpoints, due to the expansion of potential consumer engagement points—across new channels, devices, applications, and more. Thus, each touchpoint must be worked upon in all aspects to deliver the best and a hassle free experience to the customer. However, also keep in mind not to spend too much time on one part. 

The time it takes to discover paths, assess performance, and revamp the experience varies greatly from business to business. Top-down problem solutions can suffice for firms looking to address a few glaring issues in specific routes. Construct a detailed road map for each trip, one that outlines the process from beginning to end and considers the business implications of improving the journey and sequencing the activities to do so. Combining operational, marketing and customer, and competitive-research data to understand journeys is a first-time endeavour for many firms, and it may be a lengthy process that can take months. Gradually keep progressing and working on different parts – onboarding, adoption, renewal

What is a customer journey? customer journey

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Define Success 

You need to make sure that success is driven by what the customer is doing – for example, in the first 30 days you expect 50% licence utilisation, you expect them to start using certain features, certain number of logins – the important thing here is measure or define success from a customer perspective rather than your own (eg we had a checklist and we did this that etc). Many organisations confuse customer success with steps and best practices that they have to follow rather than metrics employed on customers. Customer success should be quantified, at every touchpoint along the entire customer journey. For example, let us consider the customer support aspect of a customer journey, customer success can be gauged by the number of calls that a customer has to make in order to resolve his issue – the lesser the number of calls, the greater is the customer success of the touchpoint. 

Using Customer Success Tools 

Spreadsheets are really difficult to work with. CRMs are better but they are primarily designed for sales teams – they are primarily sales tools – they don’t give the holistic view that is needed. This is where customer success software comes into the picture. After the initial purchase, Customer Success software focuses on generating continuing customer value. CRMs fail to derive insights from product usage and other behavioural data because they rely on transactional relationship data. This makes automating procedures like onboarding and renewal workflows — a requirement for increasing a Customer Success staff — difficult. Customer success tools make onboarding smoother, manage the customer journey better and thus drive adoption. They also help boost productivity by automating various processes involved.

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