It seems that we all are chasing down the dream of customer excellence, but if you ask someone what it is you probably will get a variety of answers. Some would say that customer excellence is a better customer experience, some would propose an optimized customer journey and others would suggest an outside-in approach to a customer journey as a customer interacts with your organization. We would say it is all three plus a journey that transcends your organization and others. Many are missing the whole point and are optimizing on goals from an organizational point of view. Pictured below is a typical myopic customer journey optimized for an organization to drive sales.
Better Customer Experience:
Having a more fluid and easy to use customer experience is never a bad thing unless organizations stop there and claim victory. Yes, you have paved the well-worn paths that lead to organizational outcomes in a more fluid way with less friction with legacy processes and applications, but that does not guarantee customer loyalty in the short term or the elusive customer for life. You may be still inflicting pain on your customers unwittingly. See customer pain index by clicking here. Without considering the real customer journey organizations miss the whole idea of customer goals.
An Organizational Customer Journey:
The next step in maturity is to consider the customer journey that your customers take in dealing with your organization. This can be accomplished by mining the journeys from channels, website, and systems logs to put together a picture of what is actually happening. While this will point out additional friction points and areas of optimization for both the customer and the organization, this may be incomplete. For parts of the journey that are not fully automated or there may not be logs, so modeling capabilities can be used in combination to complete the journey maps. The automated logs only represent existing processes that might not be good enough. More mature customer excellence programs have the processes highly influenced by the target journey. To read more about the journey/process interaction, click here.
An Outside-in Customer Journey:
Looking realistically at the real customer journey with their goals overriding goals is the next level of maturity in customer excellence. Ideally, this journey would go beyond the four walls of your organization. Instead of the sun orbiting around the earth, this takes a look at how the earth (your organization) revolves around the sun (the customer). For instance, your company might handle mortgage loans, which is a small piece of the journey buying and comfortably occupying a new home with your family. Another example is that your organization finds the ideal hotel for your holiday, but the journey is a literally a complete trip with airlines, ground transport and recommended places to eat and stores nearby.
Customer excellence is all about understanding the customer. the goals of the customers, the real journey and your organization's opportunity to optimize its touchpoints for both the customer and your organization. This means a change in your organization's culture, the skills of your people and the effectiveness of your processes/applications in the real customer journey while serving the balance of organizational and customer goals.
Co-authored by Jim Sinur, Gero Decker & Mark McGregor