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Customer Service

Journeying With Your Customer

Journeying With Your Customer
Image credit: Shutterstock
You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

“Stories have defined our world. They have been with us since the dawn of communication, from cave walls to the tall tales recounted around fires. They have continued to evolve, with their purpose remaining the same: to entertain, to share common experiences, to teach and to pass on traditions.” - Francisco Inchauste

Storytelling is not just a tool to engage users. It is also a powerful way to teach organizations more about their customers.

Most organizations are reasonably good at gathering huge amounts of data on their users. But this data often fails to communicate the true frustrations and experiences of customers. A story can do that, and one of the best storytelling tools in business is the customer journey map. Walking in your customers’ shoes will not just tell you their true stories but will make you feel their experience.

Many organization are structured around function silos that tend to have customers deal across departments looking for service and answers.  What the customer is really looking for is a single seamless journey across all touch points. Every time a customer touches an organization, it is a ‘moment of truth’. This is that moment when an organization can make or break a customer’s experience.

Once upon a time the customer journey was a linear progression from identification of the need, through consideration, information gathering, trial/review and decision-making to purchase followed by post purchase support. But this has changed. Now, the traditional purchase funnel is a complex cobweb across multiple channels, making it extremely difficult to identify when and where a customer was won or lost, or to understand the influence of touch points along the way.

How your customers interact with your website or your brand isn’t a linear process anymore – no matter how much you might like it to be. Getting people to move from point A to point B without jumping ship or missing a step in between doesn’t always happen.One must take the time to understand as much as you can about what your customers’ goals are along with knowing not just how they already move through your website but if their journey ends in an on ground experience– this can go a long way towards keeping them happy… and growing your business.

Understanding your customer and how they interact with your business directly and indirectly is critical in driving improved value, repeat business and longevity of relationship. To deliver this and to be able to create a communication strategy which builds a conversation with your customers, it is important to visualise current and planned customer journeys and key touch points across different marketing channels.

While the mere exercise of mapping your customer’s journey has value, the ultimate goal is to improve your customer’s experience by understanding what they go through at each touch point and improving the quality of that experience.

At BookMyShow we believe in providing an end to end experience from the time the customer engages with our website until the time he interacts with our usher at the venue who shows him to his/her seat. Technology plays a key role at all our touch points whether it be a ticket pick up from the box office, wherein we just scan the QR code off the phone or when a spectator enters a venue, where he flashes his barcode at the turnstile and makes a smooth entry into the venue. We endeavour to work towards a seamless journey for our spectators.

Using the 80/20 approach, start with your most important touch points, and ask certain questions:

  • How can I make the interactions quicker and easier?
  • Can I remove parts of the process to make it go quicker?
  • Can I empower employees to make the process easier by solving more issues in real time?

 Of course, there is much more to a quality customer interaction than just timeliness, easiness etc., but they are great places to start.

While customer journey mapping is infinitely more complex than tips received or listed on the public domain, the simple act of getting started with journey mapping will provide you tremendous, actionable insights into your customers’ experiences with your organization.Just remember that a customer journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

To truly understand what happens at each touch point, you have to get feedback from as many stakeholders as possible. Then, you can use that information to add a qualitative layer to the journey map. In other words, don’t just map what happens, map how you are executing your service delivery.

Typical challenges:

  • Separating yourself from the inside of your company and “walking in the customer’s shoes.”
  • Dealing with outside touch points, those not in your control
  • Identifying and dealing with emotional touch points (understanding and measuring the emotional impact of experience is one of the key disciplines any customer experience effort needs to embrace)
  • Weightage to Major vs Minor touch points (car purchase test drive vs when the customer walks around the lot prior to being greeted by a salesperson)
  • On stage vs Off stage (visible to customer vs not visible to customer)
  • Remote vs Face to face human interactions
  • Data driven vs gut driven

Frequency for carrying out these mapping exercises, and any unique/disruptive methodology

What’s trending?

Your Competition is investing in Customer Experience

 Employee Experience is as important as Customer Experience

Customer Expectations of Experience Continue to Increase

Demand for Personalized and Customized Experiences Will Continue to Grow

  • Customer Journey Mapping Will Remain a Key Tool
  • The Role of Emotions in Customer Experience Will Become Clearer 
  • Customers are smarter than ever
  • Omni Channel will become more omni
  • The mobile phone is going to rule! 
  • Big Data gets bigger
  • Social Media customer service is here to stay
  • Value continues to trump price
  • Customers want and expect to be appreciated

Remember that understanding how the customer feels is just as important as what they are saying.