14 Ways to Transform Customer Journey
Today, more and more business transactions require customers to engage in products or services. Customers can now print and scan their own airline and movie tickets, bank, and order online. The result is more points of contact with customers, more self-service options, and a greater reliance on peer ratings.
Bottom line: You need to give customers a great, unforgettable experience.
A great experience builds loyalty, and loyalty means more revenue, growth, and vice versa. Poor customer experience generates negative reviews, which directly affect profitability. For example, in the healthcare sector, poor experience ratings can affect reimbursement, or in the retail and hospitality industries, they can mean lost sales. The stakes are higher now than ever before.
What is customer experience?
Any interaction between the customer and the company gives the customer the opportunity to form (or change) the impression of the company, which is called a moment of truth (MoT). Together, these MoTs constitute the customer experience, or CX for short. These MoTs are often ignored by companies when designing products and services, creating websites, and operating business channels. It is often an oversight error: The ideal experience is not defined or communicated in an organizational silo.
Businesses must first identify and resolve key customer issues before they can design a favorable customer experience. One way is to use an empathy map that expresses questions such as what the customer says, sees, thinks, and hears when interacting with the business process. In terms of capabilities, business processes, training, procedures, systems, portals, and applications, it is clear that CX must be exactly the same as the application of the company in its operational efficiency plans, especially when growth is a key strategic factor.
For the record, customer experience leaders have higher revenue and bottom-line growth than leaders who neglect to prioritize customer experience transformation. For those who prioritize CX, it is imperative that customers and businesses enable and continue to deliver a “digital first, not digital only” multi-channel experience, which means that to effectively transform the customer experience, we must also focus on digital transformation. This means, to some extent, that to get business value from digital transformation, you should not focus on it without parallel customer experience transformation work. Organizations that successfully engage in digital transformation typically focus on the three core parts of their business: customer experience, operational processes, and business models.
How Do You Enhance the Customer Experience?
Here are 14 (of many) insights you can absorb from these digital customer experience transformation leaders:
Always keep the customer in mind. When focusing on digital transformation, it is easy to look away from the customer. Therefore, consider this as a reminder: It is important to ensure your decisions are based on relevant data about your customers, including operations, perception, behavior, and business value insights.
Personalize your customer experience. Not only can personalized experiences increase revenue and loyalty, they are also increasingly expected by customers. “Smart Personalization” increases relevance and engagement, thus providing a better process experience. Through in-depth knowledge of each client, not just all clients, personalization provides a unique advantage that most competitors cannot match.
Accept and manage change. The reality is that few companies can easily keep up with the pace of technological change. An important component of success is driven by culture. A culture designed to embrace change and adapt and adopt will more successfully manage the digital transformation. So incorporate a passion for change into your culture to help your organization keep up with the pace of technology.
Obtain and maintain internal alignment. Key stakeholders across the organization need to be aligned around where you are going and why, otherwise the transformation of the digital customer experience will not happen. So work your legs, have clear goals, communicate progress, and make sure to set and meet expectations, and minimize surprises.
Eliminate silos in the company. Customers expect seamless interaction between channels, departments, and groups. But most companies are not established like this. Now is the time to radically improve performance, simplify internal processes, integrate knowledge and data sources, and change the way plans are implemented throughout the organization.
Accelerate your “speed to insights”. Customer-centric companies thrive on customer-centric insights. They need fast, information-rich insights in various fields, near real time, to help drive decision making. Although traditional marketing research is still important for understanding customers, adding sources like voice analytics and behavioral data to the mix allows companies to get closer to customers more quickly.
Prioritize and digitize relevant customer journeys. When customers interact with you on their phones or other devices, they (and you) are experiencing the digital customer journey. By leveraging customer thinking and agile methods, you can prioritize the most important digital journey, bridging the gap between systems, silos, processes, and people, making the journey seamless, and maximizing your time and business value.
Get a seamless omni-channel customer experience. To provide a more seamless interaction, customers increasingly want to start trading on one channel and continue seamlessly on other channels. These omni-channel experiences allow customers to transact on the website, switch to a call center or chat feature, switch from a desktop to a mobile device, and even enter a store without restarting.
Integration and digitalization process. For decades, organizations have been digitizing manual processes. To provide an interconnected experience and seamless interaction between platforms, devices, and channels, you need to standardize, simplify and enable integration processes consistent with customer needs.
Allow customers to interact on their favorite devices. Today customers can choose to use multiple devices to interact with their organization. Recognizing that any particular customer can choose desktop, voice, mobile, or other methods at any particular time, digital transformation requires planning for changing customer preferences and expectations.
Align key performance indicators with expected business results. Unless you can measure the resulting business impact, it makes no sense to start digital customer transformation. It is, therefore, critically important to link KPIs to the results of your efforts. This means tracking and analyzing the impact on your process, financial, customer-related, and labor metrics, and using a defensible and scalable metrics framework to manage all of this.
Evaluate your customer experience operating model. In essence, transforming the digital customer experience is essentially a business model improvement activity. Put customers at the forefront of transformation by optimizing people, processes, technology, and data in the customer journey. It will help ensure a future-oriented, innovation-driven, customer-centric (and continuous improvement) customer experience operating model.
Think by design. In short, design thinking is customer thinking, an “outside-in” approach to understand what customers want and need, and how they align with the way you design and deliver products, services, and experiences. Therefore, the problems you choose to solve and how to solve them will depend on your attractiveness to customers.
Stay human. Customers tend to use digital channels as the first point of interaction, of course, until they do not. When customers need to talk to someone, they now require an actual live human being. When they do, your organization will better understand who they are, what they are trying to achieve, and their previous experiences.
Any form of transformation is a multi-step process, and digital customer experience transformation is no exception. But as overwhelming as it may seem, getting started is not always as difficult as you think. Learn another lesson from organizations that have successfully participated in transforming customer journeys: Start small, stay focused, and act fast. Learn from your successes and failures and take the next step. Although consistently providing a great customer experience is a never-ending journey, the rewards are significant and measurable.