In an era where customers expect frictionless service and immediate response at every touchpoint, success is largely based on how well companies can rise to customer demands and expectations. In this customer journey management guide, we cover what to consider when working with customer journey management and which tools are valuable to use in the different stages of the customer journey to resolve various challenges.
It is essential to make the customer experience smooth, consistent, and relevant throughout the customer journey. The digital age has empowered customers with the ability to demand more from companies. This can be exemplified through the expectation of real-time availability at all stages of the customer journey and in different channels, like social media, digital and physical interactions, mobile, and call centers. Delivering exceptional customer experiences has become a must for businesses to acquire new customers, retain current customers, and improve operational efficiency. But the real question is, how can you do this in a cost-effective and easy way? The answer is Customer Journey Management, also referred to as CJM.
Customer journey management is about managing the customer’s experience by integrating and improving every touchpoint in the customer journey from the first moment of engagement, pre-arrival to post-service. By bridging the gap between the different steps and integrating the virtual and physical world, you can create a seamless customer journey.
What to Consider to Conduct Effective Customer Journey Management
The process of customer journey mapping and setting up goals for the ultimate customer journey starts off by identifying opportunities to improve the customer experience short term and in the long run. Here are 6 steps that help you observe the entire customer journey and how different stages of it and the customer’s lifecycle stage together affect the customer journey.
Customer journey management can start before the customers physically visit the shop, bank, hospital, or service center. By implementing an appointment scheduling system, you enable customers to book an appointment in advance and later use mobile solutions such as a Mobile Ticketto enter a virtual queue. This way, you gain the possibility to eliminate the pain of long waiting times and provide a positive impact on the customer’s service experience.
A customer journey management system provides the ability to enhance the control over your customer flow on-premises withappointment booking andqueue management systemsto spread out the visitation volumes throughout the workday. Customers are thereby dispersed away from peak hours to less busy parts of the day, helping you create a more even workload and better use of staff resources.
Upon arrival, customers need to be placed in an appropriate queue, and with a customer journey management system, you gain the possibility of segmenting customers in different queues if appropriate, rather than all entering the same one. The most common segmentation is based on customer needs, e.g., separate queues for various services. Customers with more complex service requirements can then be managed separately, which reduces the wait time for other customers and improves the overall customer experience. The customer with more complex issues gains the full attention of your staff, while other customers are assisted quickly in other queues to avoid frustration and bottlenecks.
Using a customer journey management system, managers are provided the tools to match customers with the staff member who has the most suitable competence to respond to the customer’s needs, which would ultimately increase customer satisfaction.
3. Queuing and waiting
After arrival and queue entry, most customers will endure a period of waiting. A balanced and controlled waiting time is the optimal goal for all businesses. A full waiting area would give the impression of inefficient processes and long waiting times. On the other hand, a completely empty waiting area could give the impression that you are overstaffed. Working with customer journey management and implementing solutions like a queue management system can help businesses attain the right customer flow balance by improving staff planning and adding more queuing flexibility with self-service kiosksorvirtual queuing. From a customer journey perspective, improving the customer flow and giving the opportunity to customers to attain the needed help efficiently can have one of the greatest impacts on enhancing the customer experience when managed appropriately.
If the service provider chooses to identify the customers as soon as they enter a queue, then the staff calling the customer forward can start preparations before the customer arrives at the service point. For example, staff could bring up the customer’s history on their screen to see every visit the customer has made before, who they met, and what the inquiry was about. When the customer is being served, data on their visit can be captured and made available for real-time insight throughbusiness intelligencedashboards. Collecting and projecting valuable information that can also be stored for later analysis. For instance, managers could use the information to view customer wait times or find out how long service transactions take to complete. This also enables management to have an instant overview of the service situation at one or several locations in real-time. A customer journey management system provides the ability to see details such as number of open counters, services offered, current waiting times, and number of customers seen at each counter, as well as transaction times. Alert mechanisms can give the manager and floor staff the opportunity to take action if waiting times exceed preset limits and allocate resources to resolve the issues on the spot.
After a customer has been served, staff closes the interactive transaction, and relevant data like wait time and transaction time are recorded. If required, a case handling function can continue to manage the case throughout its lifetime, from the time it is created, signed over to different advisors or different departments, and until the case is closed. Each step is documented and processed.
A crucial aspect of the post-service phase is to gathercustomer feedback. By enabling customers to rate their visit and provide feedback, the gathered feedback can be used to analyze the quality of customer service from different parameters and pinpointhow the customer experience can be improved. Everything from staff competence, interpersonal interaction, and operating standards to areas of improvement. This is a valuable source of information, which serves as the foundation to know what customers want most, when and where they want to engage with you, and how they experience your business’ interaction with them in the different stages of the customer journey.
6. Managing the customer journey and using the data generated
When data from the customer journey process is gathered, the data is at your disposal to evaluate and compare the current processes in relation to the customer journey goals you have set up to achieve. Reports can be generated on employee/customer interactions, service times, and customer waiting times. Operational inefficiencies can be identified and addressed through process changes or training. Trend analysis provided by system reports helps the user to manage staff in line with peaks and quieter times in the service area. Customer segmentation, staff scheduling, media content, etc., can be tested, evaluated, and modified based on insights from the analysis.
The reports generated from a customer journey management system are also useful tools for reporting on a variety of organizational targets. For service providers with targets related to service and improving customer experience, the information captured is an important tool for measuring and evaluating performance. As the system can be seamlessly connected to any number of service access points over a wide geographical area, managers can have a complete overview of their service network across organization branches.
Customer journey management helps companies adopt a customer-centric perspective that creates rich customer experiences by incorporating different ways for customers to book appointments, queue, and meet qualified staff. Furthermore, it provides the clarity needed to adjust internal processes to achieve higher efficiency throughout the different stages of the customer journey.
With increased levels of service quality comes higher customer satisfaction which might be the most important benefit of them all. But successful customer journey management is also about creating rewarding work environments for staff. This is achieved both on a day-to-day basis, through a system that supports staff needs, as the enablement of planning and allocating resources contributes to creating a healthy work environment.
In the end, customer journey management, when done properly, is developed for you to hit your organizational targets by operational optimization. No matter if they’re about service levels, efficiency, or profitability.
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This article has been updated and was originally written by Johan Rudh in January 2020.