You have a look at your customer satisfaction figures and it turns out there’s room for improvement. But where to start? Your first step: mapping a stand-out customer journey. Things change. You can no longer hide behind KPIs on the technical performance of your services. Out in the real world it’s all about customer satisfaction, and reaching all your SLAs doesn’t cut it anymore. It’s about enabling your workforce to do their work well and providing a good customer experience. But how do you measure experience? How do you translate results to insights, in insights to improvements? The solution lies in mapping your customer journeys.

Optimize what's important in your services

McKinsey found that organizations that offer good services from start to finish have higher customer satisfaction, lower customer churn rate and happier customers. And providing good services all-round works better than trying to exceed your customers’ expectations with gimmicks. With a customer journey, you put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Simply create a profile of one or more stereotypical customers and look at your services through their eyes. Map all interactions and channels the customer uses to reach his goal – his problem being solved quickly and smoothly. This way, you discover which elements in the customer journey need some attention. Once you know, you can improve on those elements.

Map out your customer journey

I wrote a whole blog post on this, but in a nutshell it’s about starting small and aiming big. Start with, for example, the most common customer journey in IT service management: a customer who wants a solution for a disruption. Map it out together with one or two customers, and find where there may be points of improvement. But in the end, mapping just one customer journey is not enough. There are many more customer journeys. Think of every time your customer is looking for an answer, requests a quote, places an order or passes on a change in his contact details. And maybe the most important customer journey: a new customer that comes aboard. A customer journey comprises multiple contact moments.

What does a customer journey look like for service providers?

Think how often a customer searches for an answer to their question via multiple channels. First, he checks the online knowledge base. No luck. He creates a call via your online portal. The service desk requests more information via an email. Your customer emails an incomplete answer; the service desk calls your customer and asks about the problem. They email the customer a solution, but the solution doesn’t work. After some back and forth contact via chat, the question is finally answered. All these moments of interaction form the customer journey. Do you think the customer would call the journey described above a smooth ride?

You need to optimize the journey. Work with all departments involved and keep customer experience in focus. After all, a customer doesn’t care which department they talk to, they just want their journey to be quick and comfortable.

From touchpoints to journeys

Interactions in a customer journey are more commonly called touchpoints. But optimizing touchpoints ultimately means service providers become very focused on managing individual interactions and trying to improve customer experience based on these points. Like asking for feedback after the customer contacted the service desk, for example. This helps, of course, but there is more work to do. In the end, your customers don’t care about a specific touchpoint. When your customer looks back on the service provided, it’s all about the complete picture. What is the experience of all touchpoints combined? If you want to find out what your customer thought, ask feedback at the end of the journey. Or, if customers searched hours in vain for a solution in your online knowledge base, you have already found something to improve even before you get to them.

How to start mapping your customer journey? 

Want to get started with mapping your customer journeys? Don’t let the fact that you haven’t collected enough customer feedback hold you back. Just get going. How? In another blog post, I show you how to map your customer journey in 10 steps.