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The Road to a Customer Experience Centered Operating Model

Bijgewerkt: 2 mei 2019

Organizations now understand the importance of customer experience and service design as a way to differentiate themselves in the market. More importantly, how it can underpin the creation of value and the delivery of their brand promise to their customers. It is also a fact that digital is reshaping customer experience, disrupting the ways companies interact with clients and due to new communication channels, customer contact has become very scattered, creating a challenge when it comes to simplification, consistency in communication and personalization. So, how do you guarantee a seamless experience across all channels?

The purpose of this blog post is to give you some tips on how to best manage your customer experience efforts and how to champion real customer loyalty from a customer-experience-centered operating model.



Multi-Channel Journey Mapping-more than great touchpoints


Several decades ago, businesses had a very simple customer contact. Customers could either visit your store or reach out by phone. Nowadays, the digital revolution allows a customer to establish contact through mobile devices, tablets, laptops and even a TV, all of these influencing their buying decisions. Consumers may hop on their mobiles to research a product, and then later that week visit the store, followed by using their laptop computers to place an order online and maybe afterwards reach out to customer service through a chat. There are a number of ways in which a consumer can move through the customer journey making it complex. A customer moves across multiple devices through time and each touchpoint with a different need. Each of these interactions is an opportunity to prove to the customer why they should choose you instead of the competition.


This means that when making a journey map, every touchpoint will have multiple channels. In order to have a broader view of the whole story, every channel must then be mapped. Measuring a channel in isolation, will only tell you a fraction of the story of what your client experiences. Visualizing all touchpoint in a customer journey per channel means that you will end up with between 100 to 140 touchpoints per journey map instead of the normal 15 to 20 and you will have a greater overview of the story.


In 2017 Conexperience worked together with Natuurmonumenten, an organization that buys, protects and manages nature reserves in the Netherlands. Conexperience mapped the experience of visitors to a natural park. The ultimate goal of the organization was to promote the membership program and for which Customer Experience was the key. At the beginning, the team from Natuurmonumenten thought they only had 3 channels with the respective touchpoints for visiting an information center in the park: the website, the center itself and the app. After a full day workshop, we were able to map 19 channels, all linked to each other. For example, the visitor read the magazine, looked for the address on the website, called to make a reservation for an activity, talked to the park ranger and even checked their mobile phone for the nearest restaurant for after the activity. With these insights they were able to re-design the journey through optimizing and synchronizing the channels, which made it easier for the visitor to find the information, book an activity, and even find a discount for the nearest restaurant.


Reverse Engineering


Basically, a customer journey map is a representation or model of all the touchpoints where customers come into contact with your company, online or off. You might then proceed with identifying moments of truth and after that implement improvement ideas. However, this approach as helpful as it might seem might get you caught up in loose, individual, incremental improvements. Reverse thinking on the other hand, requires greater ambition. Instead of improving loose touchpoints in the intent of working towards the desired customer experience, reverse thinking redesigns the entire journey based on the client’s perspective. This may mean eliminating touchpoints and changing your entire operating system in the delivery of the experience. This gives you the chance to nail 100% of the experience instead of improving 15% in an individual touchpoints.




The biggest challenge of this exercise is employees and managers usually get trapped discussing about internal processes and KPI’s and tend to think “this would be too expensive to implement”. They think abouthow things worked out today, rather than what customer onboarding and retention really means to the customer, and what the customer really wants.They struggle to think like the customer, to really understand the goals of the customer in their everyday personal orbusiness lives, and how they want to experience services.

By analyzing customer journeys in reverse, companies can pinpoint the operational improvements that will have the greatest effect on customer experience. At a multinational in Europe, Conexperience designed a complete journey for a new app that is to track the movement of elderly and notify family members for any unanticipated moves. With the Conexperience Customer Journey 6 step methodology, it was possible to get stakeholders and customers in one room and design all the micro moments in a timeline, including needs and channels. The targeted emotions were also mapped, so that the communication could be built per episode of the journey. After the journey was ready and validated, it was time to translate the micro moments into user stories, which was picked up by the Scrum teams. They could easily relate the functionalities to be built in the customer journey and the emotions and communications designed based on the needs of the customer.


Drop NPS Scores


As we discussed in the Dutch Podcast Over Klanten Gesprokenwith Sydney Brower earlier this year (https://soundcloud.com/sydney-brouwer/okg-49-3-dingen-waar-je-je-in-2018-niet-meer-druk-over-hoeft-te-maken-met-danny-peters), you can now stop working with NPS scores. NPS scores have become so popular, that clients now seem often bothered by a bombardment of satisfaction surveys. Every time you make a transaction, you get an e-mail with a survey. It may take you 5 minutes of your time, every time and you wonder if it’s worth it, what you’re really getting back by expressing your opinion. If after your Christmas purchases you’re getting an evaluation survey for every gift you bought, you really don’t have the time to fill these out.


If we look at people’s motivation to fill in surveys, it doesn’t really cover a random population, but those willing to take the time for a survey which is usually very satisfied or unsatisfied customers. The middle average hasn’t filled in the survey. You’re taking only the promoters and detractors, and this makes your score completely untrustworthy. Is this really measuring customer loyalty?


Aware of this polarity, and the gray middle area that has not been measured, NPS can be used as a tool to measure these poles, with the intention of reducing the number of dissatisfied customers and increasing the satisfied ones. But, it won’t give you an overall satisfaction picture as expected.


If you’re measuring, the advice is to do it on touchpoint or journey level. Close the loop by bringing customer feedback directly into intrinsic processes, and ultimately into the front line of customer experience.This means, asking for feedback because you intend to do something about it. Just measuring will not raise the customer experience, instead, we establish a conversation with clients. How many of these client surveys are followed-up? You are already annoying the client by taking from his time, even more if he’s giving feedback and this one goes into a black hole. For example, when an agent talks to a client personally and gets feedback, and the same agent makes sure that whatever the client was unsatisfied with got solved either within the team or a specific situation, then calls the client back personally and communicates this, then you are really creating value from the client.


Within Liander, one of the largest energy companies in The Netherlands, Conexperience implemented a methodology to measure efforts per touchpoint in a specific journey. Before we came in, Liander was surveying their customers and coming up with a score for the complete journey. But this average score had no further insights about why a particular score was given and if it was low, where the mistake took place. When Conexperience stepped in and when measuring on touchpoint level and with an action plan behind it, it was possible to find the most important and relevant touchpoints in a specific journey and measure those with a couple of customers, a representative group. It gave us more in-depth information on touchpoint level. Improvements were made on those specific touchpoints.


C-suite involvement


Customer centered companies know that customers are the key to success and the operating model is shaped by this philosophy. This means that customer experience should not represent a department, but the whole company. Employees embrace this and take on the company’s mission statement. This might start with the hiring process and the creation of the right culture, where skills and mindset are paired with the company’s. A customer centered operating model also includes an involved C-suite that makes client centered decisions that ripple down the entire organization, encourages employees to broaden their skills, expand organizational relationships, step outside their comfort zone and adapt to the changing business needs.


In a financial company in Amsterdam, Conexperience invited a large group of C-suite members onto the working floor, where they listened to real customers for 2 hours in the contact center. We gave them an assignment: listen to the customers and write down the answers to these two questions: 1. What are the 3 things that are amazingly good? And 2. What are the 3 things that could be improved? We asked them to put themselves in the customer’s shoes and look from a customer perspective, so they needed to write down the question of the customer and the reason the contacted the organization. They were not allowed to say something about the system or the employee on the phone, it was purely listening to the customer. In a further session, it was amazing to see what kind of ideas came to the table. The energy from the C-suite was incredible, they were motivated to change things, but more importantly also willing to approve the budget for the customer experience department that had been overlooked for a long time.


With these 4 tips, you’ll be sure to be heading in the correct direction and take the right approach to achieve a customer centered operating model and most of all, a company that is loved both by your employees and customers.


#customerexperience #customercentricity #servicedesign

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