How to Understand Your Customers’ Journey

Your Customers’ Journey Determines A lot

The customer journey can be defined as the total sum of experiences that the customer goes through when interacting with your brand; from the moment he/she becomes aware of your brand, to their post-purchase experience, and ultimately advocacy (or detraction).

All customers will go through a series of steps and have varying experiences at each step before they make the decision to use your product or service. The customers’ experience during this journey determines whether or not the customer buys from a particular brand or its competitor.

To improve customer experience significantly, your customer journey must be well understood by the entire organization. If this isn’t happening already, then you’re missing out on opportunities you can leverage on to increase loyalty and profit.

A lot of businesses still believe the customer journey ends at the point where he/she buys a product (or service). This is completely wrong – A customer buying your product is only at one step of a long journey, made possible by all the moments leading up to the purchase.

The customer journey continues well after the point of purchase, and a negative experience at any stage could lead to a lost customer. This makes it important to pay attention to how customers experience your brand every step of the way. 

One of the most popular and effective tools for understanding the customer journey is the Customer Journey Map. A Customer journey map is a strategic tool that follows the journey customers have with an organization and describes all the experiences they have at every touch-point. 

Here are the key steps for creating journey maps that unlock valuable insights on your customers journey with your brand. 

#1. Profile Your Personas

Knowing your ideal customer is important, hence the need to build personas of your key customer segments. Customer personas are fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers.

The best customer personas are born from market research (surveys and interviews of your target audience) and insights from actual customers. Some examples of good questions to ask during such research include:

  • How did you first hear about us?
  • What are the goals you want to achieve with us?
  • What was the deciding factor that made you make your first purchase with us? 

#2. Identify Potential Obstacles

After you have identified the various touch-points, try to identify what roadblocks could prevent customers from achieving their desired goal.

You might be surprised to discover seemingly trivial things like a lack of detailed product information, slow website, return policy or car park space are pushing your customers and prospects to competition.

Knowing what these obstacles are, is the first step toward eliminating them or mitigating their impact on the customers’ experience during their journey with your brand.

#3. Put Yourself in the Customer’s Shoes

Put yourself on the customer’s journey, go through it and consider all the touch-points at each stage; from viewing ads to searching online, to filling out registration forms.

Compliment your findings with feedback from customers, ask them to walk you through their experience with your brand to ensure the scenario you’re building aligns with customers’ actual experiences.

Walking yourself through the customer’s journey stage-by-stage will give you a new perspective and help you see areas where you can improve the customer’s experience at the various touch-points. 

#4. Visualize The Customer Journey

The customer journey map should capture all the insights you gathered from your customer research – the steps customers take, their emotional states at each touch-point and areas where you identify opportunities to improve the experience. 

#5. Implement Changes

By now you have uncovered a lot of insights and opportunities to improve the customer experience during the course of your typical customer journey.

Now is the time to take action and implement any changes (no matter how big or small) that would make the customer journey faster, easier or more pleasant.

Understanding your customer journey helps you identify those areas where you can make improvements that ensure your business is offering customers the best possible experience at each stage of their relationship with your brand.

Kelechi Okeke

Reasons your business needs to hear the Voice of Customer

What are your customers actually telling you and how do you analyze this information to get to meaningful insights? Then, how do you use VOC data to drive change in your organization? There’s no denying that the focus on delivering great customer experiences (CX) has increased globally over the past few years. Whichever kind of service you provide, the voice of your customer is very essential because, It helps you to grow in providing service.

Listening to the voice of the customer helps to capture customer experience insights and it comes with many practical benefits.

* It takes something vague like customer experience, and turns it into quantifiable metrics.

* It identifies clearly the key drivers of customer satisfaction that are unique to your business and your customer base.

* It shows you the trends, progress, and declines of your business over time, allowing you to adapt to changes as you go.

* It plays an informative role in employee training, performance review, and shaping the internal culture of your business. 
Even though all these reasons are worthwhile, to the customer, they’re just corporate jargon that has little to do with the reality of their lives and their relationships with your business.

Looking at the notion of customer experience from their perspective, Voice of the Customer isn’t just a setting, it’s a promise.By listening actively to customers, you are promising to value their opinions as much as you value the opinions of the shareholders or owners who are profiting from their business.

When you guarantee to put your customers at the front and center of your business, it can inspire confidence, especially if they see enough action which proves your words are not empty. It also gives them an invitation to voice their opinions and participate, knowing that their voices won’t fall on deaf ears.

Are you delivering on your promises? CSM is passionate about improving the customer experience, and can show you how you measure up against your customers’ expectations. Contact us today to find out more

Could Distraction Be Costing Your Company Dearly?

Little distraction could cost your company a lot of money.
Focus and concentration are hot commodities these days, with social media, open office layouts and short attention spans running rampant in workplaces. The bank’s customer service rep was distracted. He was responding to emails in between phone calls. The problem was he’d get halfway into an email and then the next call would come in. It took a second for him to shift his focus to the caller.

At the end of the call, he’d hurry back to the email. He’d skim the email as best as he could and then hurriedly type his response in hopes of finishing it before the next call came in.

One particular email was from a customer inquiring about his loan balance. The rep looked it up and saw the balance was $15,000. In his haste, he left off a zero. 

His email informed the customer that the loan balance was just $1,500

Team distracted by mobile phone

Distracted By Design

Customer service reps everywhere are chronically distracted.

They’re balancing multiple priorities. They often work in noisy office environments. The typical contact center rep must juggle five to seven different software programs on two or more computer monitors just to serve a customer. And they’re barraged by messages on email, chat, and even their personal devices in between.

To top it off, many contact center reps work like the bank employee in the story above. They are asked to respond to email or another written channel in between handling phone calls in an effort to eke out every last drop of productivity.

It’s thought to be efficient, but it isn’t. Customer service reps working in this setup are often less productive and are prone to costly mistakes. For example, the bank ultimately had to honor the erroneous loan balance and write off the $13,500 error.

The High Cost of Distraction

Distraction can cost a company far more than the few dollars saved by cramming in some extra work in between calls.

Another customer service leader told me about the cost of distraction at his company at the same time I heard about the $13,500 bank error. This one was even worse.

A telecom customer had emailed to ask if he had won a promotional contest. He had not won, so the customer service rep started typing an email to politely tell the customer he didn’t win.

But the customer service rep was answering emails in between calls. And the rep was distracted. So the rep’s actual email read, “You did win.”

There was a kerfuffle. The company tried to claim it was an honest mistake. The customer sued, and the company eventually agreed to a six-figure Settlement.

You might be tempted to maximize productivity by having your agents juggle multiple assignments all day. Before you do, think about the potential costs:

  • Expensive errors caused by distraction.
  • Decreased productivity caused by constantly shifting attention.
  • Decreased service quality caused by a lack of customer focus.

 Jeff Toister, CXService360

Empower your team ahead of customer’s frustration

 Empowering team members: How can I help you?

Despite acknowledging the importance of good customer service, many businesses still subscribe to the opinion that service incurs business cost. However, what’s important here is to realize that good customer service is more like an investment that can help drive business growth. Hiring quality talent, and ensuring they have the right skills, training and tools enables them to empathize with customers and actively listen to them. This is the key to providing a consistently good service experiences.

Without proper tools and resources, your team may not feel empowered enough to effectively resolve customer queries or respond appropriately to their frustrations. As much as you want your teammates to empathize with your customers’ problems, you need to first look at serving your own team members and empathize with them.

Therefore, it’s a good practice to turn the tables on your teammates and ask them, whether in a group discussion or a while having a one-on-one conversation: “How can I help you?”

What’s also important, is to listen to their suggestions and then act on them. Have an in-depth discussion on every view of theirs, no matter how small you insignificant you feel they may be. If they want you to know about it, then it is a big deal to them. And if it’s a big deal to them, it ought to be a big deal to you!

Identify any training needs that your support members may have. There are well designed customer service training programs available out there that focus on improving communication, listening, problem solving and analytical skills. Training all your agents on a predetermined set of competencies equips them with the right mindset and a standard process to deal with customers and builds a sense of team spirit.

Fix Your Processes to Avoid Moments of Misery

Moment of misery can also be referred to negative customer service issues actually gives you the opportunity to bring out your best customer service.

Your inner risk manager should be working overtime to identify what could go wrong in your business and how to prevent it.
The following questions could resolve or prevent negative customer service issues.

1. How will you handle the problem for the customer? Map out an immediate solution and deliver it with the right attitude and a sense of urgency that will restore the customer’s confidence in you.

2. Analyze the source of the problem to determine why it happened.

3. Has this problem happened before? If it has, why has it recurred? Analyze why to prevent, or at least minimize, the chances of it happening again.Your inner risk manager should be working overtime to identify what could go wrong in your business and how to prevent it.

4. If this is the first time the problem or mistake has occurred, determine what you can do to prevent it from happening again. (See next question.)

5. Can a process prevent the issue from recurring? This is the follow-up to question No. 4. If you can establish a process to prevent the problem from recurring, it will serve you well.

6. Can you catch the problem before the customer catches it and calls you? Have a system in place to fix the problem before the customer contacts your company or let the customer know about the issue before he finds out on his own. Be proactive.

7. Which parties are involved in preventing this problem from recurring? Determine the stakeholders responsible for eliminating the problem and what their tasks should be to resolve the issue.

Customer Service Power: 3 water companies face penalty after 2 million complaints

Report has it that, CCWater’s annual report shows households made more than 2.1 million calls to resolve problems last year.

Three water companies have been warned by a watchdog to improve their customer service as almost half of providers in England and Wales reported an increase in calls to resolve problems last year.

The Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) has asked Bristol Water, Surrey-based SES Water and Southern Water to provide quarterly reports highlighting the action they are taking to reduce complaints following their “relatively poor” performance.

CCWater’s annual report shows households made more than 2.1 million calls to resolve problems last year.
Southern Water has been asked to provide quarterly reports for a third successive year despite reducing written complaints by a fifth.

Bristol Water reported a 37% increase in “unwanted contacts” from customers to resolve problems and a 52% increase in written complaints, while SES Water reported a 21% rise in unwanted contacts.
Nine out of 21 water companies in England and Wales reported an increase in calls from customers to resolve problems, while four companies reported an increase in written complaints.

These goes to show that you should learn to report an unhealthy services or bad product.

The first thing you need to do is go to the company website and write Customer Service a letter explaining what happened. Don’t go in expecting a lot, but if you received rude service they will probably apologise and offer you some sort of discount to entice you back in.  If there is no Customer service, write to the manager or CEO. Direct your complaint to whoever is listed on the site and let them know specifically what happened, when it happened, and where it happened.  Many times problems can be resolved without a lot of fuss.

Boy leaves teddy bear at hotel – and what staff do next is amazing

Image result for teddy bear

So a mum shared sweet photographs of her little son’s missing toys after hotel staff sent the cuddly pair on a series of adventures.

The bear and seal, which were left behind at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa in Hawaii, have gone viral after British mum Anna Pickard shared their journey online.

After emailing the hotel to ask if cleaning staff had found the much missed duo, she was treated to a series of pictures of them receiving five-star care before their journey home.

Anna, who works as creative director at Slack, a business communication tool, posted the heartwarming tale on Twitter yesterday.

The Mirror

Man to produce ID before he can purchase a bottle water

A 20 year old man, Joshua Tacey was asked to show his ID for a bottle of water at an Esso BP petrol station in Eastern England.

Joshua, pulled over at the garage at 1pm today to grab his girlfriend, Lizzie Turvey, a drink as she was feeling unwell.

But the cashier demanded he proved he was 18 in order purchase the water, Lincolnshire Live says.

The Mirror reports that Tacey in his narration said: “I walked into the BP garage to get my poorly girlfriend a Smart Water and then put in on the counter and she looked at me asking for my ID.

“I laughed and woman behind me laughed with confusion.

“I thought at first it was a joke but she was actually being serious, so I said: ‘you’re joking aren’t you?’ and said: ‘no, but I will let you off this time.'”

Mr Tacey was dumbfounded after his experience at the petrol station near Thorpe on the Hill, Lincolnshire.

The motorist, of Newark-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire, continued: “I just find it ridiculous that you have to show identification for water.

“I have heard [about people being ID’d] about energy drinks but not water.

“It’s getting really pathetic now, What if we had the really hot summer like last year and a kid walks in asking for water but can’t because he or she isn’t the correct age?”

In summary he was asked to provide his ID because
Smart Water contains electrolytes, which are also found in energy drinks.

Customer Service Perception Is Fact!

When we talk about a customer service perception being a fact, we mean, a marketing concept that encompasses a customer’s impression, awareness and/or consciousness about a company or its offerings. Simply put, customer perception is what your customers and potential customers think of your organization.
This is affected by advertising, reviews, public relations, social media, personal experiences and other channels.

Consumers don’t purchase products primarily for their functions, instead they buy a product for the perceived benefit he will gain from it. This perceived benefit, in addition to his opinion of the product, are what create customer perceived value.

The fact is, when making a purchase, a customer values a product’s benefit higher than its function.

While customer perceived value is figured using perceived costs, these costs don’t necessarily mean money. Price is not the most important thing in determining a customer’s perceived value. However, it does play a role. There are ways to increase a customer’s perceived value when tackling a product’s price

Then another way to change a customer’s perceived value of a product through pricing is by changing the unit of measurement from money to other things that the same amount of money could buy.

In conclusion, one of the most effective ways to increase a customer’s perceived value is to appeal to his emotions or values. In order to do so, it’s important to know what types of things your customer might appreciate. Feel free to drop your own tips.


Give the Gift of Presence: Build Trust

It is very hard to build trust with your customer and very easy to loose the trust they have for you. So the first step is communication.

Really, communication is a key to any good relationship, communication is an essential way to build customer relationships.

As a key to any good relationship, communication is an essential way to build customer relationships. Promoting your business and listening to your customers are equally important.

Rather than just telling customers about your business, have conversations with them. Find out what your customers need, then show them that you have a solution to their problem.

Then always remember to ask for feedback: Whether customers have a good or bad opinion about your business, they will make their feelings known. Invite customer feedback to show you are listening. Place comment cards on your business counter, or conduct a survey.

Do you know that, customer’s feedback helps you sharpen your customers’ specific needs so you can find the best solutions to their problems. The better your offering meets their needs, the more your business will grow.