It might sound like a stupid question but are you your own customer? Do you know what it takes to buy something at your own store, what steps you need to go through to sign up for a newsletter, what communication is sent and how your customer support team answers questions?
Do you know what happens when something breaks down and a customer wants to have it replaced? Did you ever eat your own dog food or walk the talk?
They may sound like buzz words and of course they are, but they are also true. Eat your own dog food. Are you your own customer? You should never ever accept being a VIP customer at your own company. Unless you only have VIP customers, in all other cases be your own mass customer, live your own customer experience and see how that makes you feel.
If you run through the most used experiences your customers also have and it makes you feel bad, uncomfortable or you would consider changing supplier then something is very wrong. It is not too late to solve it, but you definitely should do something about it ASAP.
“Are you your own customer?”
Every bad experience is shared a multitude of the times a good experience is. Buzz words, again, I know, and I apologize for this, but again they are true.
Walk the talk, know how your customers interact, and fix every possible imperfection there might be. Correction, fix every possible imperfection that impacts your customer or costs you a lot of money. Always look at how the customer experiences it. If you think there is an imperfection in the flow but no customer every bothered about it (and do ask them, because they will not always tell you spontaneously) and it does not cost you money to maintain this imperfection, then don’t fix it.
But if there is a small imperfection in the flow that you would deem as not important, but the impact on the customer experience is big, then please do fix it asap. Because the customer experience is key, it is more important than the cost to fix it.
‘How do you get a grip of these imperfect flows?’ I can hear you ask. Is there a way to map these imperfections in a structured manner? Yes, there is. Of course, you could, as discussed earlier, personally run through all possible customer journeys – and you should – to experience firsthand what it is like to be your own customer. But this is not enough because every customer is a customer in a different context. You may be a man of around 40, but if you are, you are not a woman of 25 and consequently you look at the interactions in a different way, you experience the different touchpoints from another perspective and you may find the excellent experience you had as a man completely wrong when you are a woman. So, you need to define the customer journey not as a one-size-fits-all but you must tailor this to every type of customer, to every persona.
Which leads us to another very important question: do you know who your personas are? What are the main characteristics of the main groups of customers you have? If you don’t know the answer to this question, you need to dive deep into your data, into your customers and try to understand who they are. This is the first step in perfecting the Customer Journey. If you don’t solve this, if you don’t really know who your customers are, who the different personas are, there is little use in defining the Customer Journey because it will not fit. Unless you only have one persona, but chances of this are quite small.
So, talk to your customers, invite them over, talk to your customer service people, they know your customers best, analyze your data and define the different personas you have.
Once you have done this, you can map all this info – per persona – onto a customer journey map. Make it visual, add all interactions, touchpoints, documents, actions, sentiments, whatever may trigger an interaction, emotion, reaction from the customer and make the entire journey visible. Then discuss, review and improve this together with your team so find the pain points, to find the imperfections, to find the room for improvement, because, believe me, there is always room for improvement, lots of room.
This does not mean you are doing a bad job, this only means that you can do an even better job. There are no companies that have optimized all their processes and interactions in such a manner that all customer interactions and experiences are perfect and remain perfect, this is an illusion if one would think so. But there are those who are constantly looking at ways to improve them and that is where they stand out, that is where they make a difference. Sorry if this disappoints or scares you but the job of improving your customer experience is never done, never finished.
There will always be new products, new flows, new interactions, new customers, don’t assume that you will have finished the work and can rest and reap the profits of your hard work for the coming years. If you do this, you are bound to be overtaken by a competitor who does things just a little better.
However, if you are accustomed to regularly reviewing your Customer Journey Map, if the updating and optimizing of all processes is part of your company’s DNA and top of mind, you are set for a bright future, you will be able to adapt and act pro-actively and always be ahead in optimizing your Customer’s perfect Journey.
Now, how do you start all this? There are a few options. You could do all the work internally, but if you don’t know how to get this started, ask help from experts – like Humix – to guide you in this. At Humix, we have done this several times before, their core business is to analyze, define, design and optimize personalized user experience and know how to get you started in a very swift and easy manner. And don’t be afraid of the investment, this is not an expensive process, you just need someone experienced to guide you, to direct you in the right direction and to help you draw the correct conclusions and make the right decisions. After all, you are the one that knows your customer the best (we hope) and you definitely are the one that should implement all the improvements to the customer journey to make sure the customer experience is what you promised and – at least – what the customer expected.
Only by mapping this journey and delivering what is promised and expected you can turn your visitors into loyal customers. Only this way your company will grow and be successful. Because without your customers, you have no reasons for existence. Your customers don’t exist by your grace; you exist by the grace of your customers. So please, do get to know them, understand them, live them, be them and improve how you want to be helped, how your customers want to be helped.
Build that customer journey map, learn and improve and be the best in class. And bring in the experts to guide you if needed, an investment that will pay off before it is finished.