34% of Call Centre Helper readers recently admitted they’ve never mapped out their customer journey!
Are you one of them? In need of some inspiration for getting started? Or perhaps you feel you’ve overcomplicated things in the past and it’s time for a fresh start?
Whatever your starting point, why not take a look at these tips, as our expert panel share their best advice on simplifying the customer journey.
1. Create a Company Vision
If you haven’t already, create your own company vision. Then validate your vision with your customers and agents.
From there, you need to live and breathe it. Get buy-in from other departments, start with the basics, make progress and don’t give up. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
2. Give Customers Choice
Every customer is different, and it can harm your customer experience to try and force people down a specific route that’s not right for them.
Some want to live chat, while some would much prefer a phone call. Look at what you’re offering and do what you can to give your customers choice!
This mindset should also to apply to how you capture feedback. Give customers options, so they can do it when the time is right for them. Don’t just automatically force the issue at the end of every interaction.
3. Make It Easy
Make it clear and easy for your customers to find the help they need. When they understand what their contact choices are up front, they can contact you in the best and quickest way.
Make it clear and easy for your customers to find the help they need.
Information overload and having to hunt through several pages of a website, only to find an FAQ page, then a link to a chatbot – before FINALLY having the option to speak to an agent – is frustrating and a waste of everyone’s time. It also complicates the customer journey.
4. Don’t Make Customers Repeat Themselves
Take a look at your systems and processes. Are they connected? Is there visibility across all channels? Are customers coming back for a second or third conversation having to repeat themselves?
If customers are bouncing between channels and having to start from scratch every single time, it’s time to rethink things. When did you last take a thorough look at the efficiency of your processes?
5. Extend the Customer Journey Process Into Other Departments
Detail your journey. Extend conversations to sales, marketing, product design, and more – don’t just leave customer service in isolation.
6. Categorize Your Queries
A sure way to understand the queries coming into your contact centre is to ask your agents (or use listening tools) to collate the types of queries you receive. Then categorize them.
Once you have this insight, you can better understand why your customers are calling you. You can then either take steps to resolve the problem internally, or make it easier for customers to get the information that they need.
7. Give Customers More Control Over Callbacks
Offering a callback can be a great way to manage contact centre resource and take advantage of lulls in incoming traffic. However, it can be frustrating for customers to wait around for a callback.
Instead, give customers control about the timeframes when you will call them back – it’s a win-win.
The customer is more likely to pick up the call, and be happier for having their needs met. Meanwhile, the agent will save time avoiding repeat calls.
With thanks to Alex Mead
8. Make Sure Callbacks Are Right for You
If your teams are flat out, you could actually make the problem worse.
If you have peaks and troughs, you have regular windows to follow through on callbacks.
With thanks to Jessica
9. Prioritize the Most Important Touchpoints
Do some investigative work to find out which touchpoints are the most important. That way you can make the biggest impact when making changes.
You’ll never be able to fix everything overnight, or manage every last conversation across the business. So, focus on the most important touchpoints first, and empower individuals to take care of everything else in the meantime.
Want to find out more about customer touchpoints, read our article: What Are Customer Touchpoints and How Can You Identify Them?
10. Aim for Improvements – Not Perfection
Beautifully streamlined processes are not the reality. People talk to people and have knowledge and workarounds; it’s how delivery chains form in companies. Once you have a good understanding of what’s happening, you can begin to make positive changes.
Empowerment can make a big difference here, as often convoluted delivery chains of information across multiple teams are a sign of a poor business culture.
For example, where everyone is double-checking with everyone else to spread the responsibility and avoid being held personally accountable for anything going wrong.
11. Hold Everyone Responsible for Their Part in the Customer Journey
Analysing the customer journey isn’t just about how frontline teams behave. It’s about internal communication too.
Other departments should be held responsible for their impact. This can really help to encourage a customer-centric mindset in the organization.
Once you get to the heart of the problem, you need to take steps to fix it too. It’s not about blaming, but stating the problem and what’s causing it.
For example, if frontline teams are having to rewrite customers’ bills to make them easier to read, it’s far better for the finance team to take responsibility for fixing it at the source.
With thanks to Annika
12. Align Your Key Stakeholders
Every department in the organization contributes to the customer journey. Get these stakeholders into a room and educate them on their role. Also, encourage them to take ownership.
For example, bringing marketing into the process can help them better understand the impact of a promotional campaign.
Of course, this one is easier said than done, but it’s worth the time and effort and should be undertaken as a steady project for all involved.
With thanks to Mike Murphy
13. Gather Data as Efficiently as Possible
You have to have good data to support the creation of a customer journey. If it’s hard to get the data into a good shape and takes lots of people, it can lead to data congestion and delays.
A simpler, more straightforward way is to invest in the latest technology. Also, look to retire your old, disparate systems. The fewer components you have in the contact centre, the easier it is to collect data in one place and build a case for change.
14. Look Outside of Traditional Call Centre Reporting
Although many talk about journeys, a surprising number of them do not do any analysis of customer journeys outside of traditional call centre reporting. They are missing the bigger picture and opportunities to succeed.
Thanks to Eric
15. Make Clear Notes for Any Next Steps
If you need to call a customer back, arrange a time, add it to your diary, and copy in someone else in case you are absent. Detailed notes are vital, so it’s clear what has been discussed. It all helps the customer journey run that bit smoother.
Thanks to Wendy
If you need to call a customer back, arrange a time, add it to your diary, and copy in someone else in case you are absent.
16. Make a Business Case With a Control Group
I’d highly recommend a contact centre solution which can manage your callbacks effectively with diary and automatic rerouting.
When building a business case for one, introducing a control group can make all the difference. This is because behavioural economics will prove you will get lower AHT and better results through proactively engaging with a customer within the window they request.
Thanks to Nerys
Read our article How to Get Skilled in Creating a Business Case to discover how to create a business case by highlighting the real cost of bad customer service.
17. Don’t Overlook the Need for Emotional Intelligence
Emotional experience needs to be the priority when reviewing the customer journey.
Thanks to Robert
18. Talk to Your Frontline Teams
Utilize your people to make suggestions on how to improve the journey. They’re the ones who interact daily with your customers. They’ll be best positioned to provide some sparks of creativity too.
Thanks to Alex
19. Don’t Let Callbacks Degrade Your Service
While callbacks can be a powerful service offering, they can also be dangerous because they can artificially make service levels look better than they actually are.
In fact, the level of service has been degraded because the reality is that it is only being used because the centre can’t handle the call load.
Thanks to Eric
20. Collate and Review Customer Feedback
Collate reviews using websites such as Trustpilot and regularly feedback to the business.
Listening is the best form of customer experience management.
Thanks to Jennifer
21. Map Out Your Key Pain Points in the Customer Journey
Map out your process and overlay customer touchpoints. Then overlay their emotional state at each stage. This will highlight pain points in your process that are driving dissatisfaction – and should be high priority to fix.
Thanks to Robert
22. Record and Share Customer Feedback
We use a feedback provider that allows customers to record their voice or type feedback. Sharing this with the wider organization helps everyone understand what our customers are going through.
Thanks to Ryan
23. Look Out for Drop-Offs
Looking at the customer service gap model can help you measure where drop-offs happen.
This can help improve your understanding of what happens in between consumer expectations and end delivery – and empower you to take steps to change it.
Thanks to Owen
Customer feedback is a vital part of customer journey mapping and improving the customer experience. To find out more, read our article: How to Use Customer Feedback to Improve Journey Maps
24. Empower Individuals to Take Accountability
Creating a supportive culture will empower people to feel like they can take ownership and accountability.
This can help to streamline the processes around the customer journey, by helping to cut down the number of people needed to input.
Thanks to Alex
25. Observe How Your Customers Use Your Product
The best way we have found to define and then improve upon the customer journey is to watch our customers use our products.
We formed small groups (25 or less) and watched customers use our product (on video so they don’t feel like 25 people are staring at them). We made sticky notes throughout the whole process of delighters, distractors, etc…
We then broke out into smaller groups at the end to discuss – and used those notes to make improvements to the product and journey.
Thanks to Laura
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