Designing your customer journey for minimal effort
The world of Customer Experience can often be whittled down to a few key debates (but of course there are other debates):
- Culture vs Strategy
- Journey Mapping vs Touchpoint Mapping
- NPS vs Effort vs CSAT
Right now Customer Effort is on the ascendancy in terms of ‘preferred metric.’ I am seeing more and more companies investing 250K - 500K+ on their Customer Journey Mapping programmes and Culture is getting an increasing amount of airtime. The truth is of course all sides of each of these debates are important. What we are seeing though is a shift in the balance of focus for those organisations who see value in becoming more customer-led - due to an increasing awareness of their own maturity at Customer Experience. There are four basic stages to a company’s CX programme:
- Fix the basics
- Deliver a consistent customer experience
- Differentiate the experience
- Delight your customers
You simply can’t have a serious ROI on Delight across the board without ensuring that your basics are fixed, you have a consistent experience, and that you know what your differentiators are. You absolutely cannot go about fixing the basics without mapping your customers' current journey, and you can’t look to differentiate it without describing a future, improved Customer Journey. So yes, journey mapping is essential.
What you should be mapping on that journey and how you link it back to your company’s current and future success does however change as you go through your CX programme - and this is why Effort is on the ascendancy. Most companies still have to complete Stage 1, and Effort is a Stage 1-2 metric. It’s important not to over-complicate the metric and measurement. Use exploratory journey mapping to understand what that effort looks like for your customers and describe its dimensions in terms that are relevant to them and easily measured by you. Make sure it is your customers' understanding of effort and not someone else’s off-the-shelf version (unless you are clear that this matches your customers' mental model).
At the moment, given the overall state of customer experience across most industries - focussing on the reduction of effort will give many companies a very good and clear ‘bang for buck’. The HBR article (’Stop trying to delight your customers’, Harvard Business School, 2010) is a clear reflection of this and is quoted by most metrics consultancies offering to help you get to the bottom of ‘effort’. At this stage of overall maturity in the marketplace for being customer-led - simply reducing effort will likely differentiate your company - but for many it won’t be the long-term differentiator. It is critical that you ensure your leadership understand what effort is and is not going to do to your company’s bottom line, when it is appropriate to measure it, and when you are going to have to refocus on a different measure.
Once you have got a handle on stage 1 and 2, then effort alone will not be what catapults you ahead for long-term sustainable growth. That requires a deeper connection with your customer that is beyond the functional needs and into the emotional - and for that we’re going to need a whole new set of metrics – and likely quite a bit of educating the board so they can support the increasing pace of change that is ahead for all of us in CX.
More information on mapping customer journeys can be found in our Re-defining Tomorrow's Customer Journey Webinar