Guest Post: Making the Customer Journey Easy
Staples really got it right with their bright red “easy” button.
Millennials place a huge emphasis on making it easy for them to do business with a company. And while it is the Millennial generation that forced the issue – go Millennials! – Boomers and Generation X’ers are more than happy to add their voices to what is undoubtedly one of the top issues in the world of service and sales. The goal for most companies should be to replace the phrases “What were they thinking?!” or just simply “REALLY?” with “WOW, wasn’t that nice!” or “That was easy!” in their customers’ vocabulary.
It’s Not So Easy
Companies have learned the hard way that making it easy for their customers to do business with them throughout the entire customer journey is extremely difficult. It’s very challenging and often impossible to capture and evaluate what happens to prospects and customers throughout their entire customer journey – information that companies must have if they want to change the experience and outcomes for the better.
While companies often receive a great deal of information (known as “big data”) about how consumers use their websites, this data is not typically shared with all of the departments that need it. For example, the contact center and customer service managers who often have to “clean up” all issues (good and bad) caused by the websites are typically out of the loop. (Why, you ask? Because it’s always been this way! Hmmm.) Then there is the marketing department, who says they’d love to know what’s happening in the service organization, but it does not make sense for them to spend hours sitting with agents or listening to/reading customer feedback. However, they truly need this information to enhance the effectiveness of their programs and the customer experience. While these are just two classic examples, there are plenty of reasons why it’s essential to have an effective method of capturing and sharing customer needs, wants, insights and trends with all relevant departments. It’s hard to change when you don’t know what needs to be fixed.
Customer Journey Analytics is the Answer
There is an emerging application called Customer Journey Analytics (CJA). My firm, DMG Consulting, defines CJA as “an analytical solution that captures, measures, analyzes and evaluates the quality and outcome of the customer experience throughout all phases and interactions for all customer-facing touch points, channels and activities.” The customer experience includes branches, IVR and websites, live-agent and back-office interactions, fulfillment or follow-up activities, and all actions initiated by the customer or agent on the customer’s behalf. This is a broad definition that addresses all aspects of the customer relationship.
Transforming the Customer Experience: Putting the Customer First
CJA solutions are intended to help organizations view the experience from the customer/member/constituent perspective. This concept alone is a major change in enterprise thinking, but one that is necessary if organizations are going to transform how they treat their customers and make it easy for them to do business. Companies are finally realizing that they cannot manage customers, but instead need to set up an omni-channel experience that allows customers to conduct business the way they want. And what customers want is for it to be it to be easy – every step of the way.