Transforming Customer Journeys
Customer Experience (CX) has grown in strategic importance in recent years. While customer satisfaction and customer care has been a key focus for many companies for several decades, companies are now turning to the customer voice to re-shape internal business processes, redesign self-service technologies, and rewrite policies in an effort to improve the customer experience, and ultimately customer satisfaction. Research conducted by Forrester in 2016 found that 72 percent of businesses identified customer experience improvement as a top priority.
The Customer Experience is defined most simply as the connection that companies make with customers. Research shows that positive customer experiences encourage customer loyalty, repeat business, personal recommendations, and so on. The companies that are most successful at delivering a good customer experience have encouraged and enabled a customer-centric culture across every part of the company.
The traditional Customer Care organizations plays a key role in customer service delivery, interacting with customers by phone, email, chat, and through written correspondence, as well as providing self-service options on the web and phone. A customer’s experience and satisfaction or dissatisfaction is shaped through these touch points—it can be one event or the sum of several recent events. With every interaction, customers assess whether your company makes their lives easier or provide them with value. These interactions occur time and time again throughout the customer’s lifecycle with your company, from service start to service stop.
To improve the customer experience, all stages of a customer’s lifecycle should be as smooth and satisfying as possible for most customers—making it easy to do business with your company. While this sounds simple, it requires an understanding of the journeys that customers must take to transact business, the number of times they must contact your company, be transferred to the right representative, circle through your automated answering system to find the right prompt, fill out applications or forms, send in payments, visit your website to find a piece of information, or follow-up to make sure something was done. All of these interactions influence the experience and the likelihood that customers will or will not want to continue to do business with you.
The amount of work or effort expended by customers along their journey directly impacts satisfaction; less is usually more.
- How easy/hard it is for customers to reach a representative, by phone, web, or in person?
- How much effort does it take to start service, make a payment, or inquire about a charge on a bill?
- Are self-service options truly easy to use?
- How many times do customers have to contact you to resolve an issue or question?
- Are customer complaints resolved in a timely manner?
To better understand how companies and different industries are approaching improving the customer experience, the Ascent Group conducted its first benchmarking study to evaluate customer experience initiatives.
You can learn more about this research by downloading the rest of this white paper.