Well, no is the short answer. As more organisations are focusing on Customer Journey improvements as a core element of enhancing the customer experience, there seems to a concentration on “MORE” as opposed to “FOCUSED”. Anyone who knows me understands that FOCUS is my favourite word when it comes to defining your marketing strategy and execution, and the customer journey work should be no exception.
What’s important to understand is that ANY customer journey improvement plan should completely align with your brand values. This, along with a clear strategy definition for WHY you’re looking at the customer journey in the first place, will ensure that your improvements deliver the best results to the bottom line.
This blog is going to focus on how you align improvements with your brand values, we’ll cover the strategic planning in a separate blog.
Marketing may or may not own the customer experience improvement programme, it varies between organisations. It could be customer service, operations or even finance, some forward thinking organisations even have dedicated roles, however this is unusual. An important first step in making sure the customer journey improvement programme is effective is to make sure whoever is running the project works closely with marketing and/or the branding team in order to fully understand the brand strategy and direction.
Why it’s important:
This coordination is critical, if the customer journey activity is not aligned to brand direction, you’re in danger of spending a lot of money on improvements that, at best, customers don’t care about, or at worst, actually damage the overall customer experience. Even with the best of intentions. For example, if your brand is focused on efficiency and speed, then adding in a lot of face to face interaction (because that’s seen as tip top customer service) will slow down your service offering and probably just serve to irritate your customers. In this case, it would be better to look at automating as many customer interactions as you can, concentrating on self help as opposed to full service.
The opposite scenario would be a brand that has a big purchase price for example, that requires a more complex, guiding hand through the buying process. Brand values in this instance are likely to be focused around expertise sharing, credibility, trust & relationship building, so moving key customer interactions online could be a bad move. However, focusing on making customer interactions more personal and tailored at key points in the buying cycle, that support the brand values would make a big difference. This could be delivering a “Welcome pack” to a new customer upon sign up for example, which would be tailored to their purchase, and perhaps have a customer charter inside it, all to give the customer the confidence that they’ve made the right choice.
How you can do it:
What works well is to have a brand checklist handy, that you use as a sense check against any planned customer journey improvements. This should not be used in isolation of course, you also need to know what’s important to your customers needs, and how the planned improvement supports the overall strategy – both topics for subsequent blogs!!
Using this checklist approach helps to remove some of the subjectivity around improvements, it gives you a solid reason for selecting or rejecting ideas – sometimes a sensitive area when fuelled by good intentions.
Would love to hear any stories you’ve encountered in this area, feel free to share 🙂
At Ice Blue Sky we can take you through the customer journey process, from strategy to improvement planning to aligning to your marketing execution.