Usman Ghani (June 10, 2014)
Simply put, Customer Journey is the ‘Complete sum of experiences the customer goes through when interacting with your brand’. If you tend to focus on the customer experience at the time of a sale, ignoring the customer’s journey from the time he saw your advertisement to the time he handed over the cash, you are going at it wrong.
The days of making funnels are over; Say hello to customer journey mapping. Done right, customer journey mapping ensures that every interaction between you and your client is satisfying.
Fierce market competition has left no room for error. Telling your staff to ‘deliver well’ is not enough anymore. Every interaction between you and your client has to be researched, planned, and analyzed thoroughly in order to make sure that the client does not encounter any bumps during the customer journey.
The first step in a clear and fool proof customer journey is to breakdown all the processes from the start to end and draft out the customer service at each stage. After the plan has been chalked out from greeting to interaction at every touch point, staff must be trained on how to ensure a smooth flow and make each customer touch point smooth and error free.
Managers need to walk the footsteps of their customers and see whether the trail has any loopholes. By walking in the shoes of the customers, managers will know exactly what strategies need to be put to practice.
Conducting research will allow you to gather vital data, which will be used to identify similar behavior patterns amongst your customers, and formalize a customer journey accordingly. While many companies do gather feedback, a good number of them fail to utilize it properly. Take steps to ensure that the data gathered, regardless of its nature, gets reported to the higher authorities; many a times, the frontline staff, due to the risk of getting a bad reputation, avoid recording customer complains.
When mapping out the customer’s journey you must focus on the words your staff will be using along each point and step. Focusing on tone and content of conversation is the need of the time. Customers take offence very easily and then start showering the web with bad reviews. So spend time correcting your talk and practicing it. Use words that make the customer comfortable and assure him that there will be no compromise in service.
Strike while the iron is hot; engage customers emotionally and make an ever lasting impact. Surprise, delight, and wow!
Make the clients feel valued. Gestures like sending thank you notes, giving compliments, etc. have the potential to touch the clients’ heart; once you have done that, consider half your job done.
Do not consider the job done once you have sold your product; after sales services are a must have. Customers prefer dealing with a business that they can rely on for help in case they encounter a problem or a query arises.
The Automotive industry is the best example of an industry with amazing after sales services. High competition in the market has forced every production company to make a fool proof after sales strategy.
So now you have your whole customer journey paved out and you’re all set to WOW your customer, when out of the blue you encounter a service failure on your end. Then what? How will you ensure a smooth experience? This is when we bring in the backup plan; the plan which will rescue your company from losing its valuable customers!
The backup plan, known in the world of customer service as service recovery, is a must have for every business out there, no matter what the size. Although aiming for ‘getting it right the first time’ is essential, it is equally important to know what you will be doing in case things take a left turn.
Map out the customer journey and you will be amazed by the positive response from your clientele. Take this step today, and ensure your place as a customer service leader in the industry.
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