Your customers can reach out to you via a host of digital channels. You’re using social media to drive loyalty as well as sales and you’ve made investments in data analytics. But unless you understand how these efforts and initiatives are making your customers feel about your brand, it could all be in vain.
Customer experience (CX) is cumulative. It’s a person’s perception of and feelings towards a brand as he or she navigates the various touchpoints on the customer journey.
Therefore, to understand how your company is making its customers feel, you need to understand how each touchpoint adds up in terms of positive or negative emotional sentiment and the only comprehensive way of doing this is with a customer experience map.
Not to be confused with customer journey mapping – which is about identifying and removing friction and pain points along the sales funnel – customer experience mapping is examining all touchpoints in terms of how they generate emotion. That means considering every potential customer interaction possible at every touchpoint in order to understand customer behavior and what is influencing it.
A customer experience map considers how your brand is perceived in the wider world, the impact of marketing and the language and collateral used by sales representatives as well as the performance, quality and consistency of your sales and customer service channels. If you sell consumer products it means reading Amazon or social media reviews. If you’re in travel and hospitality, Trip Advisor is just as important as your call center logs.
In other words, the touch points and potential interactions that your company doesn’t own or directly control. The goal is to gain the biggest, clearest picture possible of how well your brand is aligned with customers and potential customers and to highlight the actions you can take to strengthen the brand, increase sales and enhance loyalty, advocacy and retention.
The first step is to map out every possible touchpoint from advertising campaigns to after sales service and relate them to your ideal of customer behavior. What interaction should your customers be having at each of these moments and how well do these touchpoints work in moving existing and potential customers along your sales funnel – are they serving their purpose?
Once you have this theoretical model, you’ll realize how your brand is performing from your customers’ perspective and that means analyzing quantitative and qualitative data.
Go through your Customer Satisfaction Survey (CSAT) scores for each channel and touchpoint looking for trends and patterns. Does performance go up or down over time and are some channels performing better than others? Do the same with your Net Promoter Scores (NPS) and Customer Effort (CES) if you track the metric.
Tools such as Google Analytics will show you how well your website is performing – but look beyond traffic and keywords. Also consider ease of navigation and clarity of content. A slow load time or a less than effective search bar could be driving customers and prospects away.
What does the data about email campaigns and other forms of direct marketing say? What’s the open rate? Likewise, even if your company isn’t using social media directly, your customers and prospects are and there are all manner of tools available for tracking mentions and sentiment of your brand and for logging opinions such as in online reviews.
It’s impossible to deliver a customer experience that customers expect unless you know what they expect. So it’s crucial that you choose a selection of customers and interview them. To help identify who to approach, look at your NPS data and select a group of promoters and detractors.
These interviews should be supported with interviews or focus groups with people who aren’t currently your customers but that fit your demographic or reflect your target audience.
Just as important is listening to your employees and in particular those on the frontline of delivering your CX – such as your contact center agents. They know your customers better than anyone in your business. Their insight is invaluable.
If your business is investing in speech analytics then you have a massive advantage when it comes to CX mapping. With the right solution in place processing all calls, emails, text messages and social media traffic coming into your contact center, you have the power to identify individual customer emotions, spot trends, potential problems with products or services and gaps in agent training.
With all the data and insights gathered it should be straightforward to chart a customer experience map either as a customer timeline or as a circular graph (the idea being that customer interaction is cyclical). But presentation is secondary to understanding. The map should clearly align customer emotion and behavior at each touch point and highlight the interactions that are working to draw customers in and those that are potentially pushing them away.
Of course, as well as customer understanding, the map need to be clear to those within your organization who will be tasked with taking action to elevate the customer experience.
Creating a comprehensive customer experience map is a potentially huge undertaking depending on the size of your organization, the channels it uses and the territories in which it operates. But, from improved sales and better marketing, to channel optimization and better customer care, the potential benefits are equally huge.
That’s why to get the clearest possible picture of how your brand stacks up, it’s necessary to identify a partner who doesn’t simply have access to all the request tools, but who can demonstrate leading expertise in customer experience.
From implementing and optimizing omnichannel solutions to social media monitoring, contact center agent training and speech analytics, Sitel Group has over 30 years’ experience helping organizations in all industries align their CX with changing customer expectations.