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What Customers Really Want: Everything You Should Know About Customer Experience Mapping

By Special Guest
Simon Black, CEO, Awaken Intelligence
July 28, 2020

Having the right people, the right tools and adding in the right approach is all part of the mix in creating the right level of service for your customers. But how do you know what they really want at different stages of their journeys with your brand and how do you create a frictionless customer experience (CX)? 

The answer can be found in customer and user experience mapping. It can help you shape the way you handle every aspect of the customer journey. From voice calls and emails through to social media channels, SMS and App usage as well as webchats. However, if you really want to excel in the service you provide you need to firstly understand and then refine every element of your customer omnichannel experience. It might seem daunting but by peeling back the layers and working through the data you collate during your customer engagements you will find real actionable data points that educate you and your team on how to map out a smoother customer journey. 

Before you start working on your customer experience mapping there’s one thing to clarify. As Jim Kalbach highlighted in his book, Mapping Experiences, there is a difference between customer journey maps and customer experience maps: 

  • A customer journey map typically views the individual as a customer of the organization. And, there is often a decision involved: to purchase a product or service. 
  • A customer experience map looks at a broader context of human behavior and shows how the organization or brand fits into a person’s life.  

How to create a customer experience map fit for your clients 

Your customers experience doesn’t necessarily follow a linear path with your brand.  One size doesn’t fit all, though. These simple steps will help you to break down what can feel like an overwhelming task: 

  • Identify every type of customer your brand or organization has; 
  • Work out at what point in their lives do they have a need to engage with your business; 
  • Then carefully work out every possible interaction these different types of customers, or personas, will have with you during the product or service lifetime. 

Let data guide the mapping process 

This process will help you to outline the specific routes that each customer takes when buying from your business or brand. Remember, a customer may reach you through various parts of the omnichannel universe. Just because they initially reach you through web chat doesn’t mean they’ll continue to communicate that way. In fact, it’s likely they’ll switch to voice or email as their journey starts to progress. Every aspect needs to work well and provide a consistent experience. 

From that foundation of information, you then need to dig through your data and let it enlighten you on your customers’ experiences. Be prepared to make some uncomfortable discoveries and remember, the data doesn’t lie, so you should be able to identify some customer pain points that you can quickly resolve along the way.  

What’s the goal? 

Don’t just embark on the customer experience mapping work because you think it’s a good thing to do. Have a goal so you can maintain focus throughout the project and be able to deliver a particular outcome. For example, if your goal is to reduce support times for a certain product by a set number of minutes so you can handle more customer enquiries (by a certain percentage), make sure that remains your focus. Or, it could be that your goal is to upsell a supporting service or accessory product to work with the original purchase. By mapping that customer experience you’ll be able to identify key touchpoints in the journey for these different engagements.  

Customer experience mapping leads to enlightening discoveries 

There will be some findings that you’ll be expecting to discover in the process but, by carefully picking through the data, it’s likely you’ll reveal some insights into what drives greater brand loyalty and, equally, what turns customers off. Your customer experience mapping should help you identify: 

  • New or refined ways to increase customer satisfaction; 
  • Touchpoints or paths that are creating friction rather than aiding the experience; 
  • What parts of the service or product drives loyalty;
  • Where you can improve retention and possibly where new product or service opportunities lie. 

Key elements for customer experience mapping 

Once you’ve identified your goal(s) and your different customer personas, there are some key steps to follow as part of the mapping process that you can also overlay with your data: 

  • List every single customer touchpoint – This may range from physical stores to advertising and email marketing through to your website and social media channels. Leave no part of this engagement unturned. 
  • Identify the customer need Just as you’ve ascertained your goals, your customer will have them too. Make sure you map their needs against the personas, as they may have more than one. 
  • Different phases of interaction – Your customers will engage with you at different points along their journeys. Not only do you need to identify what these points will be and the drivers behind them, you should also work out the likely route of these touchpoints. Will it be a call or an email enquiry and do you have the appropriate scripts on hand to help your agents deliver the right level of service? 

Where does the data come from? 

If you’re reading this and worrying about where to draw all this useful data from, you may also need to take a step back and assess what systems you have in place to manage your customer experience. It may be time to embrace digital transformation and explore how conversational analytics (CA) can help you to evolve your contact center. It’s not only difficult to navigate across multiple legacy systems to draw on this data, it’s unproductive for your agents and, ultimately, incredibly costly for your business. Don’t be surprised if part of the customer experience mapping process creates a need to migrate your systems and processes to something more suitable for the 21st Century! 

About the author:  Simon Black is CEO of Awaken Intelligence.  An established senior executive with over 20 years’ experience in the software industry with a track record of driving rapid sales growth and scaling businesses. Simon is passionate about delivering value and excellent service to customers and developing a strong team culture for success. Prior to joining Awaken, Simon has held a number of Global management roles in enterprise software companies such as IBM, HP - Interwoven, and TIBCO.

Edited by Erik Linask
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