Businesses come in so many different shapes and sizes, but mapping the customer journey is simply a case of identifying the various stages at which a customer may interact with you. Some of them will only ever encounter one or two elements of the journey depending on where they start but you must have all bases covered and ensure their needs and expectations are preempted and then met every step of the way.
Typical elements of the customer experience
1. Your website
It should be easy to navigate, fast loading and mobile friendly. In the third quarter of 2020, mobile devices (excluding tablets) generated 50.81 percent of global website traffic, consistently hovering around the fifty percent mark since the beginning of 2017. (More statistics here.)
Is your website a sales or service tool? If your objective is sales, is the stock updated regularly? Are you showing opening times and making it easy for customers to get answers to their questions. Are you updating your FAQ’s every time a new valid point is raised? If on the other hand, you’re website is focused on service, do the internal links guide the customer through? Keep the navigation as simple as possible and minimise the number of clicks needed to perform a task.
2. End to end to journey
So your website is now seamless and optimised for mobile use. Now what? What about your stock levels, are there regular delays? And what happens with deliveries? Do you partner with a logistics company? Is the customer experience consistent with the expectations set by your website? If you have an in house installation team, are they trained to answer customer queries, resolve any issues and document that all important customer feedback? Miss this and you’ve missed a valuable opportunity to improve your customer experience and bottom line.
3. Your Agents
Whether you have a call centre or a chat facility, if there are long wait times you can bet your life it’s going to frustrate customers. Especially if you have a recorded message on repeat or awful hold music! When they do get through to a human is the experience related to where they are in their customer journey? Are your agents polite, friendly, properly trained, conscious that putting people on hold for extended periods will annoy them? Ultimately customers are looking to resolve issues in one short phone call/chat. If your agents don’t have the necessary tools and information to facilitate that, you’re adding another stage to the journey that will no doubt involve the customer being put on hold, transferred and having to repeat information. As you will no doubt know, that isn’t going to make for positive feedback.
Are physical facilities accessible to all? Have you catered properly for people with additional needs? Does the style, character and cleanliness reflect your online branding and provide a consistent experience? Do customers feel feel safe in the current climate? Your staff should all be welcoming, knowledgeable and customer focused whatever their role. They all represent your business.
6. online presence
“As of January 2020, the global social media usage rate stood at 49 percent.” So it is perhaps of even MORE importance that your social media messaging is doing it’s job than your website. Are your channels updated regularly? Is your messaging consistent with your brand guidelines. Are you monitoring comments about your brand, both on and off of your channels? Responding appropriately in a timely and professional manner?
All of these elements contribute to your overall customer experience. If just one falls short of customer expectations, that can discredit any previous positive experience. For instance, it’s easy to forget how quick and easy it was to buy that childrens bike online if it arrives with no assembly instructions. (And yes that did happen, right before Christmas. Good job I’m not a last-minute.com person isn’t it?! )
For a business to improve on the customer experience, it’s simply vital that the focus is placed on what matters most to the customers. And that means asking them.