A while back, I was working with a client who among other responsibilities is responsible for a sizeable Repair and Return facility. In this case instruments are returned by customers, repaired, forwarded back to the customer and, if needed, loaners are shipped and utilized during the repair process. Pretty straight forward or, at least you would think so. Not at all, logistic issues, turnaround time challenges, return and recycle loaner challenges, etc. And, my client, meaning well, attacked these issues as they arose. But, what was missing was an overall strategy and roadmap that aligned itself, not with my clientís needs, but with the needs and expectations of their customers.
So, we agreed to take on a Customer Journey Mapping (CJM) effort. Why? Well, if you understand CJM, you would not ask and if you do not, I will explain why. CJM is a very effective tool to illustrate what customers truly want through a real world experience of service delivery, product involvement, and at many times the combination of both. The more touch points within a customer experience, the more detailed the map. The purpose of CJM is to understand service delivery from start to finish and before start to after finish and identify the barriers to success, so that companies can improve these processes and deliver customer success.
CJM provides an opportunity to gather valuable information that forms a foundation for an improved customer experience. Taking the time to completely understand the path the customer will take including staff and role interfaces, related metrics and business challenges they face along the way, CJM showcases the customer experience. The key is to develop the CJM from the customerís perspective. The result is a transformed plan of action with very specific outcomes, optimized services, and customer satisfaction, all of this having been thoroughly thought through.
Ask yourself, do you really have a customer experience (CX) strategy in place for your Repair Return Function? Think about how often you may fail to deliver a quality customer experience regardless the investment made. Itís clear in my recent experience that the process had never been thoroughly vetted from a customerís perspective, which is where the CJM process was so useful and effective. This was evidenced by the complexity of our having to weave through multiple barriers to resolution and poor execution on the companyís behalf.
The Path to Delivering Successful Customer Experiences Begins with Understanding the Customer Journey and the Barriers to Success
As I have coached and presented numerous times, delivering the customer experience is more challenging than one realizes. Organizations learn that there is much more to the job of engaging and retaining customers than just putting something in place and moving on to the next challenge. While they may recognize the need to provide easy and rewarding experiences, they are challenged with designing, developing, executing, and delivering an integrated customer experience strategy. In fact, too many still do not walk the journey from their customerís view.
Know How to Ask the Right Questions About the Process
The challenge is to move your game to the next level by taking an approach which links strategy, vision, measurements, technology, organization, engagement, etc. And, at the same time, nail down the customer outcomes and design around this.
I strongly recommend CJM as a powerful tool of choice. CJM is a proven tool allowing you to focus on the customersí experiences with your company. This way, you learn more about your customer, how they define success, how to deliver success and how to make them happy while growing your profits.
To move from delivering a good experience to a better or great experience requires that you set aside past practices and thinking and consider some changes...for example, these are some questions to begin with:
1. Have your processes been customer journey mapped?
2. Have the barriers to successful performance been identified and removed?
3. Has the journey map allowed a good look at your internal technology and is it easy to use and does it make the right information available to the right people when they need it?
4. Is there organizational alignment?
5. Has the journey map added clarity to your rules of channel engagement?
6. Has the journey map provided the clarity to demonstrate why your silos must melt away and set the course for a mindset that foregoes silo thinking to facilitating customer success?
Depending on how you answer these questions will give you the insight on whether a process is built on a house of cards like too many businesses or built to execute and demonstrate a team capable of delivering that customer loyalty building experience or, as I like to say, that Aha customer moment, one that delights your customer as you deliver customer success.
There are many benefits to CJM. Donít miss out on this useful tool.
Dennis Gershowitz is the founder and principal of DG Associates, a consulting firm that specializes in driving service revenues and profits through the development and implementation of customer experience management (CEM) strategy and service operations improvements. Dennis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 914-552-7827