Preparing for a journey
If you have a bad experience with a company, will you use them again? Probably not. But if it’s your company that gets it wrong, how will you know?
The customer experience is important. Like the air in your lungs and the blood pumping around your body kind of important. The customer journey your business provides will go a long way in determining your reputation, revenue, and the likelihood of retaining your clients long-term.
It’s reported that businesses with a customer experience mindset drive revenue 4-8% higher than those who don’t and 84% who work on their customer experience have reported a corresponding increase to their revenue.
Before we go any further, we apologise for all the jargon that will follow. We typically aren’t fans of drowning you in marketing speak but there isn’t really a better way to describe a customer journey than, well, as a journey!
Every touchpoint matters
Businesses with the most effective customer journeys all have one thing in common. They recognise the importance of every single step – no matter how seemingly insignificant. There is no detail too small when it comes to ensuring your customers come away feeling positive about your business and the service they received.
Thinking about your customer journey involves recognising exactly who a lead, a client, an investor or a collaborator is coming into contact with at each stage. For example, the staff member behind the chat feature on your website, the salesperson on the other end of the phone when they have a query, or the project manager in a meeting. In the same way that our lungs and heart work together, every touchpoint of your business should flow and co-exist effortlessly.
Are all your staff representing your company in the way you want them to? Do they have the skills and knowledge they need to represent your company well? Have you told them why it matters?
Customers will notice when something isn’t right. And one break in the chain is enough to throw the whole thing off. We want equilibrium in our bodies, and you need consistency in your business.
Consistency in your customer experience will have a lot to do with your brand’s personality and values. No matter the context or situation, your authentic personality should shine through.
Are you professional, formal, and precise? Or do you try to stay more warm, friendly, and upbeat? Whatever you are, be consistent all the way. As the young folk say, stay in your lane.
Your brand personality will inevitably influence your clients’ quality of experience. If you’re the former type of business, you might lean towards short, precise documents or emails that are professional and straight to the point. But if you’re the latter, you might prioritise warm human interaction instead by encouraging your employees to meet or phone instead of using email.
And to ensure consistency, you need to ensure that everyone’s on the same page. Is every member of the team on board with your business culture?
Checking in and getting feedback
Your customer experience is not in any way, shape, or form about you. It’s all about the client. You don’t get to decide if it’s brilliant – that’s entirely up to the person on the receiving end.
That’s why it’s important you’re following through on your brand promises. How do you find out if your perception matches the reality?
Aftercare. Don’t risk assuming you’re achieving one thing, when in reality your clients are experiencing something entirely different. Ask them.
As well as gathering quantitative feedback about a project, you should gather qualitative responses. Did you meet your client’s expectations? What could you have done better? Did each member of staff encountered reinforce your core business values? This is where you really learn about how to improve your business, and turn your clients into advocates.
You want to get under the skin of how your clients feel about your business at the end of their journey. When errors are made or projects don’t go to plan, this is the true test of a company’s customer experience. How do you respond to change or adversity and how is that reflected in the individual client experience? Whatever happened (and let’s be honest, there’s always a hiccup), will they come back for more?
The customer journey your business offers is essential to your success. No one wants to deal with a business that feels inconsistent, laborious, or disjointed. We want things to be easy, pleasant, and memorable for all the right reasons.
Figure out who you want your business to be, the experience you’d like to provide, bring the whole team onto the same page, and establish a feedback loop to ensure the experience you think you’re providing is the reality. And just like that, homeostasis is reached.
So there you have it. By our count, we only said the word ‘journey’ six times. We’re taking that as a win.
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