What’s the winning formula of successful customer journeys?

The customer experience is fast becoming the critical factor in business success. It’s not enough to produce quality products or offer good service on occasion because customers will offer their loyalty based on the overall experience of dealing with the company over time. Every little interaction counts, whether it is a query online while browsing the website or a technical installation at the customer’s home. Businesses need to invest time, effort and care into every interaction if they want to win customer loyalty.
The good news is that this isn’t rocket science because at the heart of it, customers want simplicity. All they really want to know is what will make their life easier? When you use this as a starting point it becomes much easier to identify customer touchpoints and start delivering an experience that is memorable to customers. Here are five keys to help you achieve this:

Put the customer first

Start with the customer in mind and consider every step of the customer journey in terms of “what will make it easier for the customer?” Test systems and try to look for ways to shorten or simplify the process. Simplicity is easy to request but difficult to deliver on yet this is the single most important fundamental of the customer journey. It is worthwhile consulting with usability experts who can make suggestions on streamlining processes as part of the customer experience.

Avoid repetition

Don’t ask customers to repeat themselves or fill in the same information twice. If you have an option for billing and delivery addresses ensure you have a tick box should they both be the same. Even having to repeat the same request to a contact centre agent with each call can be frustrating for a customer. Having identified this as an issue, advanced IVR systems now have the option of routing the customer to the same agent that they spoke to before. Alternatively capturing the data from each customer interaction and having it available to contact centre agents enables them to quickly see a history of the customer journey. When interacting with customers online, forms can be enabled with a pre-fill option to save customers time and effort.

Be proactive – help & guide

Anticipate what the customer may be looking for and seek to help and guide them through the process. Where there is historical customer data, this can be used to simplify and streamline the customer journey. “Hello, Mrs Smith, we see that you recently purchased a printer, do you need refill cartridges?” Or, “We see that you purchased this product. Other customers also purchased these complementary products.” The idea is to use data in a way that it adds value to the customer. It’s not just about upselling or cross selling, but rather providing information that customers will find useful. Data analytics is a powerful tool that can be used to deliver a more proactive customer experience.

Use data appropriately

Technology has the capability to track just about every kind of consumer interaction, from browsing through to purchases and after sales service. When filtered and analysed it can provide clear insights as to what’s most important to customers. The trick, however, is to make that data available to service agents and staff so that when they are interacting with customers they come across as both knowledgeable and helpful. The benefit to the customer must always be clearly communicated reflecting that they are valued as a customer. Of course having this data available requires that technology and systems are properly integrated so that the information is easily accessible when required.

Get customer feedback

While data analytics has huge value, companies should not overlook the obvious source of information when seeking to improve the customer journey – ask the customer!  Post interaction surveys needn’t be lengthy or complicated and often customers are more than happy to oblige. Social media is where businesses are likely to find the most honest feedback. While the good feedback is always nice to receive, it’s the negative feedback that is most valuable. It highlights customer touchpoints that need improvement and provides opportunities to respond to customers in a positive way.
The majority of customers that have an “easy” customer experience won’t think twice about taking the journey again. And maybe that’s where many companies go wrong, They forget the basics and then try make up for it later, wondering why customers don’t want to believe their promises to make things right. Ultimately this type of seamless “non-service” is what businesses should be aiming for. When things just work and promises are delivered on, that’s when customer satisfaction soars. An easy customer journey is the one that customers appreciate most and it’s what they remember. When businesses keep things simple and customer focused this is where customer journey success starts.