Innovation & change is a buzz today.

Everything is changing - there’s lots that is on and it seems that nothing is the same anymore.

The customer is solidly in command - expressive, demanding & very clear about his/her choices, preferences, expectations and specific about the products and services he/she wants. The age of customer experience & customer engagement is here -and organisations that our realising this and integrating this into their strategy & operations are benefiting, while organisations still operating in the traditional model of “let’s make a good product/service” and sell are sometimes lagging.

The millennials are here and consumer/population demographics are also changing, so it’s very important to listen carefully to customers, map the customers’ expectations & iron out the experience gaps in the customer journey - both before the purchase and after purchase.

Design thinking & customer journey mapping (cjm) is one great tool that is now a rage globally, being used by some of the smartest organisations to identify improvement specifics - so that its product, service and delivery is fine-tuned to the needs - leading to improved sales & customer loyalty.

With one of our retail clients, we recently leveraged customer journey mapping (CJM) to help the client realise that “ease of parking/access to the store“  was as important to their customers as their “ in store “ experience and their product stacking/display optimisation dynamics.

With another client focused on rural markets, our customer journey mapping (CJM) uncovered the deep need for their farmer customers for regular engagement with regular/daily information/learnings on weather, agronomy practices, sale price information than the once a year engagement with the organisation at the time of sale of seeds - which was the operating practice hitherto.

Co-working as a office rental disruption/variant business was developed, using customer journey mapping (cjm) as also the new Amazon go retail format, which leveraged the identified need of the poor billing experience/long billing ques  to the other extreme by eliminating manual billing completely  and developed the innovative hybrid retail model “ go”  - and in the process the radically improved customer experience(CX).

Customer journey mapping (cjm) is just so powerful!

Actual delivery across various touch points and stages of customer lifecycle- end to end- needs to be mapped & made frictionless and actual customer needs captured at various customer moments, to ensure its smooth & engages the customer – all easier said than done.

The loyalty card point’s redemption process at the same retail chain was a bit rickety - they were ok with accepting the customer cell number for logging in the points, but wanted the actual card to be produced for points redemption (security perhaps?). customers had to move up and down the aisles multiple times, for goods which should have been in the same area and most of sales support staff seemed untrained/ unhelpful/careless - who were floating around, but did not want to be disturbed from their own chats-conversations or were inadequately knowledgeable about their own store,  to proactively support customers navigating the aisles, searching for the right goods/brands.    If only they had a mechanism in place (customer journey mapping), to seek/capture feedback from customers to iron out all such breakages in the customer experience?

Delivering a superior customer experience, is not easy - as it entails tremendous operating rigor entailing  integrating org structure &operations, people, processes and technology around the customer, with  product fulfilment & service/support/engagement  channels, into a well-oiled smooth operation - with a no siloes approach that “delivering a good experience is everyone’s responsibility”, which not just delivers a good customer experience consistently, but simultaneously  welcomes, solicits customer feedback/complaints, and leverages the same as an internal customer journey mapping & customer experience measurement & improvement process, to continuously drive product, process improvements & innovation. 

Recognition of this feedback & mapping the customer journey  led improvement cycle, to be as important as sales or bottom line performance - is critical today- but so much ignored ?.

We’re often amazed to see how few organisations actually do customer journey mapping (cjm) and/or objectively measure & map customer satisfaction? The number of organisations whose websites carry wrong phone numbers /email addresses for customers to call - or whose dealers rarely exhibit  confidence in the organisation’s toll free number to resolve any customer issues, seems be ubiquitous.

The question is - which view is more important, the company’s view of the product or the customer’s view, perspective?

Thoughts? do share/let us know…