Challenges in Identifying the Customer Journey


Challenges in Identifying the Customer Journey

By Special Guest
Bill Aston, General Manager, NALA for Cyara
  |  July 06, 2017

Everyone touts the importance of optimizing the customer journey, ensuring the best customer journey, and creating customer journeys that best serve the business and the customers. Despite this, most organizations don’t have a handle on what their typical customer journey is.

We’re not saying that to be contrary. The numbers speak for themselves. When asked, enterprises tend to think that 80 percent of the time, the customers are satisfied with customer service, but when customers are asked, they give an 8 percent satisfaction rating. How does such a huge disparity occur?

In our experience, this disparity stems from two major issues. One is the gap between design and deployment, and the other is the delegation within the organization of customer experience to different departments.

The first problem, the gap between design and deployment, is fairly straightforward, and the solutions are primarily technical in nature. When it comes to the design of customer experiences, whether they are through mobile apps, contact centers, web, or any other customer-facing system, companies need to create processes that allow the CX designers to be more in touch with what is happening throughout the development lifecycle, and to do appropriate testing and monitoring of systems to ensure they comply with the original intention and original design.

By the way, straightforward doesn’t mean simple. With the myriad of systems in place, diverse geographies within the organization and of the customers, and the competition between vendors for the agent desktop, organizations are often burdened with systems that are hard to control on an end-to-end basis. It’s important to ensure the deployment of any customer-facing system matches the design of the system. In any case, you want to make sure you are using a process and a testing tool that honor the importance of the customer journey in your organization.

The disconnect between the different departments is an even more complex problem. Just think about anything you’ve purchased or gotten service on lately. Usually, it starts with an online search. You search for a solution to the problem, or for a product. Maybe you read some online reviews, or if you are looking to solve a problem you read some online answers to your question. Maybe you send out a question on social media, asking your friends what they purchased or if they have a solution for your problem. Up to this point, as far as your customer experience department goes, nothing has happened. In some organizations, your marketing department might be tracking mentions of the company on social media, specific Google (News - Alert) searches, or even targeting advertising to this person, because they have displayed a particular behavior online. However, in most organizations, none of this information gets to the customer experience people, but from the customer’s point of view, this is part of the customer journey.

Now, customers are ready to purchase. Perhaps they attempt to get a service from your mobile app, but then gets interrupted, or needs more information, and uses a click-to-call button. At that point, they are directed through the regular path of someone calling your organization. There’s no record of all the research they did, where they are in the customer journey experience, or any other information that would help direct them to the correct agent. When they finally do get to an agent, they have to repeat what they were trying to do, ask the question, and then either complete the transaction over the phone or go to the mobile app to finish. Let’s say the item is something that needs to be configured, or they have to call to activate a warrantee. We won’t go through all those steps, but you get the idea. Just one activity, making a purchase, involves a multitude of steps and services.

In the fairly clear-cut example above, the customer journey included review sites, social media, mobile app, online chat, IVR, an agent from the sales department, and possibly a technical service agent. Each one of those areas is probably handled by one or more different departments in your organization. In fact, even within the mobile app, IVR, or chat, multiple teams are involved. You have the design, development, testing, and deployment teams for each of those.

To address this problem, the executives in charge of customer experience need to get these departments to work collaboratively. Some of this can be done through meetings and other personal means, and others by creating standardization on the tools used to develop and communicate about the customer journey. While it’s not realistic to think that marketing and customer service will use the same tools, today there are monitoring, testing, and dashboard solutions that allow people to at least share a language around what the customer journey looks like, where customers are getting lost, and where improvements can be made to the entire system.

Edited by Alicia Young
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