Last week saw the annual Execs in the Know Customer Response Summit take place in Austin, Texas. I was not able to attend, but I know that several of my colleagues from Teleperformance USA were there and Amit Shankardass was one of the speakers – focused on the omnichannel.
I was interested to see that several of the talks were focused on the changing customer journey though. In my view this is one of the most important, but least understood and debated areas of the customer experience (CX) story.
It’s important to remember just how far we have come, how much the customer journey has changed. Think back a decade and this would be a typical scenario:
- Discover; the customer learns about a product from marketing or advertising campaigns and becomes aware that your company and products exist.
- Explore; the customer seeks out more information on the product – online or in a shop.
- Buy; the customer buys the product.
- Engage; the customer communicates with the brand via a customer service team asking for help, or with comments or a complaint.
That’s it. It was simple. There was no iPhone back there so the idea of customers expecting service from anywhere and at any time had not yet arisen. Social networks were also not common until after 2008, so it was not likely that the customer was talking about your products online.
The brand controlled how a customer could get in touch by publishing an email and phone number and stating the times that engagement was allowed.
Now, things are very different. Customers choose their own channel and communicate when they want service. Multiple channels need to be monitored 24/7, including social channels:
- View an advert.
- Download an app.
- Read some reviews.
- Post reviews.
- Social chat.
- Interactions direct with the brand.
- Talk to friends.
- Write a blog.
- Ask questions on forums.
- Buy product.
You could really place any of these in any order because the journey is circular and can be thought of today more like a relationship rather than a step-by-step process that just gets the customer to the purchase.
Think about the way that many customers now engage with airlines. They talk to the airline about planes, new services, the on-board entertainment, and many other related subjects – communication is not just questions about how to buy a ticket.
So the management of the customer journey has really matured into the management of the customer relationship. I know that there was some great feedback on how best to manage this at the CR Summit and I’m looking forward to hearing what my colleagues tell me about the conclusions from Austin.
If you have any ideas about the customer journey then leave a comment here or get in touch via my LinkedIn.
Photo by Julia Taylor licensed under Creative Commons.