I've been reading David Lee King's book Designing the Digital Experience [courtesy of David himself] and I can tell you that many corporate Web masters could learn a thing or two about designing sites from the users' point of view. If you define the digital and customer experience from the point of view of the buyer, not the seller, there are several consideration to make.
Even as marketers understand the ideas of customer journey and persona, the hard part is translating that information into truly executing on the customer experience - digital or otherwise - when we're not there. The challenge is a real one. As King himself exemplifies in chapter 11, airlines are the most challenged when it comes to understanding the customer journey.
Mapping the customer journey means visualizing how customers interact with you and your business across multiple channels and touch points at each stage of their involvement with your service. You've probably also heard about the term "moment of truth". It was introduced by Jan Carlzon, former president of Scandinavian Airlines, in his book in 1986.
Any time a customer comes into contact with any aspect of a business is an opportunity to form an impression. Those impressions become part of the experience customers have of your business and products. Any one of those touch points could be your customer's home page - and that may be the only landing page they'd interact with. That's why you need to be consistently good throughout your site - and service.
David talks about three great advantages to mapping a customer's journey:
- identifying points of interaction - think in terms of timing, frequency, key messages communicated, media used at each stage
- gaining insights into customer needs - from how the customer feels during the experience
- revealing customer focus - who's at the center of your processes, you or the customer?
What are then the steps to mapping a customer's journey?
(1.) Connect the dots between internal preparedness and external needs - the moment of truth in this step is literally overcoming communications barriers, internal bureaucracy, disbelief, and misconception stalls. When you do that, you're taking your business from a position of unattractiveness, to one of interest in figuring out the points of interaction and staying focused on customer needs.
(2.) Integrate what you say with what you do - integration is not a great tactic only for your content. It works beautifully when it crosses over the realm of action. The moment of truth in integration is not just achieving the objectives you set with your strategy, but also how you get there. How are all of the messages you're sending out in each medium integrating with the feedback you receive in that medium, for example? What are you learning and feeding back into the process?
(3.) Innovate at each touch point - whenever you offer a customer something, do you think through the implications of delivering it to them, or them getting it however they find it easiest? What process or tool have you not updated for a long time and needs revisiting, for example? The moment of truth in this one is if your innovation is you-centered, in other words easy for you, or customer-centric, something that will make their experience better.
Blogging has evolved a great deal since I started this blog, and of all tools out there, WordPress has been innovating the most around customer needs - offering fresh and clean layouts and tool integration ahead of others.
Today at Fast Company Expert blog we're talking about moments of truth in service. What are your moments of truth? How do you integrate what you learn from customers into your business? Are your value propositions something customers would pay for?
[chart courtesy of at-one service innovation]