Lori Britt at NICE CXone provides answers to your top 10 questions about customer journey management.
All those innovative digital channels you’ve recently implemented are satisfying your customers (hopefully) but also creating multiple, often unexpected paths to your contact centre.
Customers expect channel choice, and when businesses fulfill that expectation, it adds complexity to customer journeys and creates a need for customer journey management.
I sometimes think of customer journeys in terms of road systems. Resolution journeys used to be like a country road – linear, not many intersections, and maybe an occasional gas station or general store. It’s not easy to get lost on this type of path and there’s little drama.
Fast forward to modern customer journeys, which resemble a busy, urban highway interchange rather than a sleepy country road.
Everyone is driving fast, there is occasional road construction that leads to bottlenecks, and drivers are faced with a confusing array of exits that just might take them to the wrong destination and add frustration to their journeys.
Major cities have urban and highway planners to optimize roadways and city designs. Similarly, businesses need to adopt customer journey management to ensure their customers don’t encounter bottlenecks and confusing channel transitions as they interact with the organization.
Frequently Asked Questions About Customer Journey Management
Customer journey management is a fairly new discipline and those just getting started need a foundational understanding of the concept that they can build upon with experience. Below are answers to frequently asked questions that can help bring clarity to the concept.
Question 1 – What Is a Customer Journey?
It’s important to set the stage for the rest of the article by establishing a common definition of “customer journey,” because it’s sometimes used in different ways.
A customer journey is the path a person takes while trying to accomplish a goal with an organization. These goals can include purchasing a product, onboarding as a customer, getting product or service information, resolving an issue, and more.
Journeys are composed of touchpoints and handoffs between those touchpoints. A touchpoint is any moment when a consumer receives an impression of a business.
Common touchpoints include a company’s website, Facebook page, contact centre interaction, customer service, and marketing emails.
Handoffs occur whenever a customer moves across touchpoints. For example, a handoff takes place when a customer clicks on a link in a marketing email that takes them to the business’s website.
There are different types of journeys. For management purposes, businesses may categorize customer journeys as buying, onboarding, support, etc.
Customer journeys are NOT limited to marketing campaigns or website experiences, and customer journeys aren’t just about experiences at individual touchpoints.
Question 2 – What Is Customer Journey Management?
Customer journey management is a disciplined and ongoing approach to measuring, optimizing, and orchestrating the experiences customers have while trying to accomplish a goal with a business.
Customer journey management seeks to predict what customers need at each stage of the journey, understand what they expect to experience at each stage and proactively interact with them to fulfill those needs and expectations.
To do this, successful customer journey management efforts rely heavily on data, technology, and behavioral science.
But managing journeys isn’t just a technology initiative or a science experiment. Deeply focusing on the customer can require businesses – that are traditionally organized around products or lines of business – to realign their structures, eliminate organizational silos, and organize around the customer experience.
Customer journey management efforts need to focus on entire, end-to-end journeys, not just individual touchpoints.
Referring back to the example in which a customer clicks on a link in a promotional email and is taken to the business’s website, the two touchpoints (the email and the website) can be superb, but if the website doesn’t recognize the customer from the link she clicked and automatically apply the promotional discount, that’s a rough handoff that negatively impacts the overall journey.
Question 3 – What Are the Goals of Customer Journey Management?
Today’s consumer demands are clear-cut – they want speed, convenience, and ease of use. On the surface, these may seem like simple expectations to meet, but think back to the analogy of the busy highway interchange and it no longer seems so straightforward.
Accordingly, a primary goal of customer journey management is to coordinate all the moving parts in order to make it as easy, fast, and enjoyable as possible for customers to achieve their goals.
Another major goal is shaping and controlling the journey so customers are guided to the next step. Moving customers and prospects through the sales funnel like this is important, but leading customers to their final destinations can also improve other journeys, including resolution journeys.
Regular analysis also helps businesses identify the most valuable journeys as well as determine predictors of success, both of which enable organizations to make informed investment decisions.
Achieving these goals can have significant impacts on business results, which we’ll discuss in the next section.
Question 4 – Why Should Businesses Manage Customer Journeys?
Today’s journeys, with all their touchpoints and possible paths, make journey management a necessity. Just like local and state officials wouldn’t take a hands-off approach to their road systems, businesses shouldn’t leave their customer journeys to chance.
CX has become a differentiator and, according to Gartner, more than two thirds of businesses compete mostly on the basis of customer experience.
This focus on CX is driven by customer expectations. Brand experiences impact customer loyalty and spending behavior. For example, PwC found that 32% of consumers would leave a brand they love after just one bad experience.
And another PwC study found that 73% of consumers point to experience as an important factor in their purchasing decisions.
Disciplined customer journey management allows businesses to create satisfying experiences by enabling the following journey-related capabilities and benefits:
- Journey optimization – consistent monitoring and measurement enable businesses to identify what’s working as well as friction that needs elimination.
- Proactive intervention – journey management identifies indicators of journey success or failure, which allows businesses to intervene before things head south.
- Prioritize investments – as already mentioned.
- Track journey performance – customer journey management practices allow businesses to always know how different journeys are performing.
- Reduce costs – smoother journeys with fewer issues reduce customer service volume.
- Improve the quality of contact centre interactions – journey management can provide valuable contextual information to contact centre agents, so they know where customers have already been and what they need help with.
- Increase revenue – as previously mentioned, CX influences purchase decisions, so when customer journey management results in consistently better experiences, it impacts the bottom line.
According to an article published by BCG, “Customer journey programs can provide improvements of 20 to 40 points in customer advocacy scores, cost reductions of 15% to 25%, and revenue increases of 10% to 20%.” But they also add that it’s difficult to achieve those results.
Good things are in store for businesses that put forth the effort.
Question 5 – What Are Some Tools and Techniques for Managing Customer Journeys?
Companies that “go all-in” with customer journey management create dedicated journey management teams and treat journeys the same way they do products. Having dedicated teams ensures that journey management receives the focus it needs.
Customer journey management teams have the following tools and techniques available to them.
Customer Journey Mapping
Customer journey mapping is a fundamental technique for managing journeys. Customer journey maps are visual representations of journeys that include relevant information such as touchpoints, operational data, and customer feedback, goals, and sentiment.
Journey maps help identify pain points and moments of delight, and are a valuable way of communicating information about journeys to the entire organization.
Customer Journey Analytics
Because journey management is a largely data-driven effort, businesses need tools that can process and analyze customer and operational data from numerous sources.
Customer journey analytics connects and transforms disparate customer interactions into a single, consolidated journey.
This capability provides the insights organizations need to monitor, design, and optimize journeys that deliver superior CX. According to one study, 41% of respondents say their organization uses a journey analytics platform
Customer Journey Orchestration
Customer journey orchestration tools use individual customers’ data to predict their needs and provide personalized experiences in the right channel at the right time. For contact centres, this means having systems in place to deliver tailored, omnichannel interactions.
Question 6 – Should We Manage All Our Customer Journeys?
The short answer is no. There are too many paths customers can follow and not enough resources to manage them all.
Businesses need to prioritize the journeys they manage based on criteria such as business value, strategic importance, frequency of use and customer experience impact.
Optimizing touchpoints and handoffs should benefit all channels, even the ones that aren’t actively managed.
Question 7 – What Is the Contact Centre’s Role in Customer Journey Management?
While a dedicated team may be responsible for overall customer journey management, contact centres play a vital role in the overall success of the effort.
The support journey is a critical journey, and the contact centre is the primary touchpoint and owner of handoffs along this path.
As part of optimization efforts, contact centres may be required to:
Deliver Omnichannel Experiences
Omnichannel is all about getting those handoffs right. Many customers use multiple channels during their resolution journeys, and they need to be able to move seamlessly across channels when they switch.
This means their data and interaction history needs to travel with them so they don’t need to start from scratch in their new channel.
Consumers expect and value personalized experiences, and can make purchasing decisions based on how well a company knows them.
This means customer data – such as purchase and interaction history – needs to be available in every support channel and used to tailor interactions.
Reduce Queue Times
When customers are going 65 miles per hour, they don’t want to come to a screeching halt because queues are full.
To improve journeys, contact centres need to optimize their capacity through accurate forecasts and schedules, effective self-service, and smart automation. These solutions will all have a positive impact on average speed to answer.
Question 8 – What Are Some Keys to Success for Customer Journey Management?
Customer journey management is a critical and complex undertaking. Businesses will realize better results if they follow these keys to success:
- Fully leverage data to know your customers
- Take a holistic approach – remember, this isn’t just about marketing or the website
- Gain buy-in from the top
- Don’t skimp on technology or the budget
- Establish goals and regularly measure progress
- Choose the right journeys to manage based on what’s important to your customers and your business
- Align and involve the entire organization
- Implement a unified source of customer data
These keys to success will help ensure your customer journeys are fast, convenient, and smooth sailing.
Question 9 – How Do We Measure the Success of Customer Journey Management Programs?
The best way to measure success is to capture the performance of the end-to-end journey, rather than just individual touchpoints. As an example, sophisticated journey analytics software can calculate a Journey Excellence Score (JES).
A JES is designed to measure customer experience quality from the perspective of the customer journey, across multiple channels and over time. It factors in hundreds of attributes from touchpoints along with variables such as satisfaction scores and customer sentiment to evaluate the end-to-end journey.
Comprehensive measurements like the JES allow organizations to spot deficiencies, measure the effectiveness of enhancements, and assess journey performance over time.
Question 10 – How Do We Get Started With Customer Journey Management?
If you are just starting out on the path to customer journey management, or if you are planning on enhancing your existing customer journey management practice, consider engaging customer journey management consulting experts to help you develop your strategy, assess your current state and share best-practice recommendations for world class customer journey management.
This blog post has been re-published by kind permission of NICE CXone – View the original post
To find out more about NICE CXone, visit their website.
Call Centre Helper is not responsible for the content of these guest blog posts. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of Call Centre Helper.