- Identifying hotspots is a good start to understanding customer experience.
- Proactive, not reactive, approach to customer needs preempts service failures and defection.
- Internal alignment based on customer lifecycle improves customer and staff experience.
Businesses use a variety of tools to understand their customers, such as sales funnel tracking, segmentation and incident management. However, this business-centric data does not really tell you how customers see your business. In order to better relate to your customers, organisations should take an “outside-in” perspective which reveals what customers are going through, from becoming aware of your brand and deciding to buy, to using and extending contracts.
Customer lifecycle mapping
Some experiences are quite similar across individual customers. For instance, they may change their mobile phone plans every two years, or look for a new insurer every seven years. If you know what happens to customers in different phases of their lifecycle, you may realise most other people probably also go through similar phases with a similar regularity. This is very helpful information to improve your services.
Staff working in siloed organisations have a limited view of what the end-customers actually think and feel like. Basic customer needs such as clear information, or simple instructions become complex when designed from the inside. Clarifying needs and expectations of the customer — having back stage staff directly or indirectly engage with actual customers — will not only create a higher customer understanding, but will also improve employee engagement and accountability.
Hotspots are phases and stages in the customer lifecycle where people suffer from service failures and irritations. Hotspots lead to customer incidents, complaints and even defections. Hotspots are also where customers’ needs remain unmet by any available service. Therefore, identifying hotspots gives you a good start to understand the experience and behaviour of customers.
While most organisations may go on and fix the hotspots, which is good, yet it is still not enough to create a good customer experience. Organisations should take further steps to prevent these hotspots from recurring.
So, where should we begin? The early phases of the customer lifecycle are the best points to intervene. Services such as helping new customers on board vastly improve customer experience from the start.
Be proactive, not reactive
Understanding the phases of the customer lifecycle lays a solid foundation of designing services that meet or even exceed expectations. Proactively giving customers what they want, instead of reacting to issues after they happen, significantly reduces costs related to service failures and customer defection. It also cements better customer relationship and increases loyalty.
External view helps align departments
The customer lifecycle is also an external view on how customers interact with individual departments across an organisation. Such an outside-in view can be the legitimate central thread that holds all departments together and aligns their processes, in order to address internal challenges and break barriers that are fundamental of a good overall customer experience.
Attract, serve and retain customers
Customer lifecycle mapping enables organisations to understand how to engage with customers more effectively and how to address hotspots, so that services or interventions can serve customers even better. The real value lies in bringing siloed departments in sync with customer expectations.