7 November 2014 – Andrew Cook
Business process optimisation is on every business leader’s agenda. Did you know that customer journey mapping is one of the most powerful tools for BPO?
If you want to understand exactly what is happening across your business through the eyes of the customer, you need customer journey mapping. This is a technique that graphically details the processes and customer touch points in each area of your business.
By connecting the dots in a visual way, customer journey mapping can reveal all of the inefficiencies and issues, some of which you may not even know exist. I’m guessing you don’t want to be the last to know, but if you don’t take the right steps, you’re most likely going to find out from your customers… when they’re unhappy and they start complaining.
Obviously, you want to avoid that. So the first place to start is with customer journey mapping.
What is customer journey mapping?
For a start, it is the process of documenting the customer’s interactions at specific touch points with your brand. There are a few key points that define the essence of customer journey mapping:
- Customer journey mapping identifies moments of truth about your customers’ needs and wants during the pre-purchase, purchase and after sales decision processes.
- Customer journey mapping pinpoints all the touch points between customers and brands, including mobile, website, call centre, social media, in-store, email, or promotional events.
- It is a framework or methodology that identifies the various stages and interactions within the customer journey.
- The customer journey describes the lifecycle and the collective series of interactions a customer may engage in at different stages of the customer experience engagement with the intention of creating a loyal lifelong customer.
- The customer experience is the sum total of all interactions between the customer and the brand, and the customer’s perception as they encounter and engage with a company.
Why consider customer journey mapping?
I’m finding that while most businesses I engage with are familiar with customer journey mapping to some degree or another, the first question they will ask is “Why?”. Why should they invest in the process? Why are other businesses using customer journey mapping? There are so many reasons, but ultimately, unless it responds to an immediate business pain, you’re not going to see the value. What are the biggest problems your business is facing right now?
Here’s six reasons off the top of my head to begin with:
- Customer journey mapping enables BPO and business excellence through detailing every transaction and every touch point in the customer lifecycle.
- Customer behaviours are always changing as new digital channels of communication are introduced and understanding the impact of these elements is vital for customer experience management.
- Business leaders, line managers and customer-facing employees can engage through the eyes of the customer and can use the map to facilitate customer-centricity.
- Customer journey mapping can be used to create a differentiated brand experience through service excellence.
- It can be used to deliberately design your intended customer experience that will deliver your brand promise.
- Customer journey mapping can be used to anticipate the channels that need to be activated for receiving and responding to customer feedback.
What are the benefits of customer journey mapping?
If reasons aren’t enough, the benefits I’ve seen businesses get out of their customer journey mapping process include:
- Enabling business leaders to understand their customers by “walking in the customer’s shoes” and considering how they feel about their interactions with the company.
- Revealing operational inefficiencies that create unnecessary steps in the customer experience process.
- Actively improving processes and touch points that are not operating efficiently.
- Breaking down silos within the organisation by connecting the various stakeholders along each step of the customer journey.
- Increasing sales and marketing efficiency and effectiveness.
- Maximising ROI through allocating bud¬get and resources where they are needed most.
- Evaluating new touch points for expanding customer engagement.
- Strengthening your brand experience and creating a culture of customer-centricity.
Customer journey mapping should be the starting point of any customer experience management programme. Not only does it deliver incredible value to the customer by improving interactions and experiences, but it will also facilitate and add tremendous value to BPO. This will allow your company to consistently deliver excellent customer service the way it should.