At a round-table meeting with a small group of B2B marketing professionals, we explored the four main challenges of customer journeys in more detail. The first three challenges involved gaining management buy-in, types of research and implementation of a customer journey project. Today we will deal with the fourth and last topic, namely operationalise the customer experience programme.
Three key questions that arise:
- How do you continue to keep tabs on your customers and customer satisfaction?
- Who do you monitor: an organisation or an individual?
- Where do you record the information?
Why adopt your plans?
A huge amount of attention is devoted to creating customer journey insights, the customer journey map itself, whereas creating the customer journey map is only the start and not the end goal. Suppose the map has been made and validated with your customers, then what? What is the next step? Many marketers struggle with this next step. After all, you aim for higher customer satisfaction, better quality of customer contact processes, better control of customer contact channels and often at lower costs. In the end you generally want to implement improvement plans throughout the entire organisation.
There are various ways of looking at incorporating the customer journey into the organisation, namely:
- Utilising the customer journey map itself; that is, ensuring it’s continuous validation and update.
- Recording the feedback and information.
- Adopting the improvement plans emerging from the customer journey map.
We will discuss the do’s and don’ts for both angles:
- Use systems: Mapping out the customer journey should not be a one-off exercise and you should preferably use a method that allows you to monitor the customer experience continuously. Because failure to measure won’t get you anywhere. You can opt for a customer satisfaction survey, an NPS method or regular updates of the customer journey map to continue to monitor customer experience. Moreover, you want a central storage location for your customer information; the CRM system would be the most logical choice for this.
- Describe processes and adhere to them: A customer journey map often reveals many areas for improvement, which may be distributed across various units within the organisation. You could draw up a clear process description of how to address areas for improvement and indicate the next measurement moment. For example, you could agree that you record feedback on a new or a lost customer in your CRM system, including a win-loss report. Whatever you do, test it first on a small project and see whether it works within your organisation.
- Use content: To assure customer experience programmes, you can continue to supplement customer information by offering customer-relevant content and keeping it up to date. You can mail or phone the customer regularly and check whether they respond positively or negatively. Does your content satisfy the customer’s needs? You can continuously update these customer’s preferences in the CRM system. And finally, you can always ask the customer whether they wish to be kept informed.
- Make agreements: We’ve mentioned the importance of a sponsor for a customer journey before. To continue working on the customer experience, you also need this sponsor after mapping the customer journey and you preferably make agreements about this. It is essential that you do so because you want to ensure ongoing support from your stakeholders for the necessary improvements identified through the customer journey map.
- Reliance: Try not to rely too much on a department or an individual. Instead, create support for your role and for the customer experience as a company-wide topic. The most successful customer experience managers are those who are able to operate throughout the entire organisation. Try to be as independent of the rest of the organisation as possible
Getting a grip on the customer journey is the first step towards improving the customer experience. Getting this control over the customer experience is a prerequisite for achieving engagement with the target group, and research has shown that engagement means contract renewals, customer retention and repeat purchases. The customer’s opinion is paramount and the starting point here.
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Director of the customer journey
Safeguarding the customer journey and all improvement plans is just as important a task that is increasingly often assigned to marketing. According to experts, you can find the solution to safeguarding the customer journey in processes, systems and agreements in particular; an ideal job for a zealous multitasking director.