CX Tips for Sales Teams: Understand the Customer Journey Through Customer Mapping
This article was actually put together by our colleagues over at the Call & Contact Centre Expo. BUT, with the bad reception that many sales teams are receiving these days, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that the customer journey is vital to closing those all important deals. Good experiences = sales! So, let’s address that journey and change the negative opinions which so often cause deals to collapse!
All of us can claim to understand how our customers feel about our business, but in reality, the majority of us have absolutely no idea! It’s essential that every business fully understands how their customer experience is received at every single stage. If we want to create a differentiated and effortless experience for all of our customers, then we need to understand their journey from their point of view.
Sounds easy, yes? Well, this is actually more challenging than you think. Most customer journeys are individual to the customer; therefore there are a great deal of variables that need to be taken into consideration. From understanding these concepts, you can create a foolproof communication strategy to help you connect with existing customers and gain new ones.
Customer journey mapping is an excellent method to use to gain a more detailed understanding of your customer’s experience. It allows you to discover common customer complaints, gain insight into how you can improve the customer journey, and uncover what your customers - and potential customers - need from you in order to follow through with a call.
To map out the customer journey, you need to first look into the various touchpoints customers have with your business. No matter what touchpoint your customer uses, it’s imperative that you provide them with consistent and excellent customer service.
Marketing, referrals, social media, search, above-the-line campaigns and customer service enquiries are some of many different ways customers can get in contact with your business. As there are so many touchpoints, many employees will be a part of their journey and can therefore impact on the customer’s
It’s important to know who is calling you, as not everybody is going to have the same customer journey. Creating personas can help businesses discover what parts of the journey need to change in order to match their needs.
If you were to create two different personas - the first, a middle-class working mother in her late forties, the second, a student in their early twenties - their customer journeys are bound to differ quite significantly. For example, the student persona would be more likely to use a online communication platform, whereas the mother may be more inclined to use the telephone to contact your business.
Creating and trialling a variety of personas can also help you form a greater understanding of the emotional experience that your customers have with your company. This is key, as when designing new customer journeys, you need to combine the functional experience of the customers, as well as their emotional experience.
Next you need to understand why the customer is contacting you. Whilst every customer interaction is unique, we can generally split these interactions into two categories: transactional customer interactions and complex customer interactions.
Transactional interactions are mainly an exchange of information. Examples of these are customers asking about the price of a product, and then waiting for an appropriate answer in return. Sales are also a transactional interaction; as a customer will ask for a product or service and then recieve it.
Throughout a transactional interaction, little time or effort is taken to attempt to build a relationship with the customer. This is simply an exchange of information - no more and no less. As these types of interactions can be seen to be monotonous and dull by many employees, transactional interactions are becoming more automated. Apps, websites and chat bots are now being used by a large number of contact centres to complete these interactions.
Complex customer interactions are predominantly focused on relationship-building. These interactions are seen as complex because they are generally more consultative. Some examples of complex interactions are when a customer asks for a specific recommendation, or needs a solution to a specific problem.
In most cases, complex interactions are based around problem solving and contain a broader scale of emotions. It’s because of these factors that those partaking in a complex interaction need to have a great deal of knowledge, as well as be emotionally intelligent when partaking in said interaction with a customer.
Once you have completed your map and developed an understanding of every aspect of your customer journey from start to finish, you can now improve the customer experience. First of all, you can minimise the amount of negative customer experiences, as your map will help you pinpoint any key steps where you need to have certain information to target particular customers.
Through understanding how your customers transition through each part of their journey, you can retain more existing customers. By using your map you will be able to engage with your customers by having relevant conversations with them. Through mapping you would have also acquired valuable information to help you identify a customer’s progress as well as fall out points. This information provides opportunities for you to get wavering customers back on board with you!
You will also have a better understanding of core customer journey paths, and which parts work well and where parts need serious development in order for your business to have a greater success rate.
So before you start mapping your customer journey, remember these key points. Always complete the exercise from your customer’s viewpoint; know what touchpoint they are using; identify key customer personas; and understand why the customer is contacting you. Once you have an understanding all all these key areas, you will be able create a positive customer journey for every single one of your existing and new customers.