Customer Journey Improvements

Customer Journey

Why not do something about it (i.e. the customer journey) then!

I’m just back from a walking holiday in Spain. A good hotel with great food. But so many niggling things that let it down.

Whilst out walking it might be OK to take the scenic route, but as a customer you want things to be as straight forward as possible.

For example…

The breakfast buffet was a good spread, but everything was awkward to get to. One particularly annoying thing was to open the table top fridge to get to the milk and fruit juice you had to move other items from in front of the fridge door. And there was nowhere to put anything down as you did so.

I mentioned this to one of the restaurant staff, who responded “Yes, I’ve always thought that too!

That left me thinking “So, why not do something about it, then?

Because he probably didn’t see it as his job. No one had ever asked for his view, so he just assumed it wasn’t important.

Such a waste!

So often your team members hear first-hand from customers of your short-falls and their frustrations.

Although customers might tell you where you can improve the customer journey from their perspective, failing to ask your team members first is a massive lost opportunity in three ways:

  1. You miss out on a fresh pair of eyes (and ears) on what the customer sees, hears or experiences. Encourage constructive criticism; it’s amazing what team members will spot as opportunities to enhance or modify a customer touch point to give a smoother or enhanced customer experience.
  2. It helps your team members to engage more readily with your customers. When they’ve experienced everything first-hand for themselves they are able to appreciate what’s important to the customer at that touch point, and can relate easily to them when discussing or describing any aspect of your service or products.
  3. When your team members spot for themselves how to make improvements, any changes aren’t seen as a criticism; rather it gives them a sense of ownership over the changes. That way it’s easier to get buy-in and a commitment to making the changes happen, and keep your team engaged.

Put your team into your customers’ shoes to experience as much as possible of the customer journey, to see everything from a customer’s point of view. This helps them put the whole customer experience into perspective.

Of course, there’s more to the customer journey than just what they experience whilst with you, such as everything that happens leading up to the point of purchase (awareness, decision to buy, etc.) as well as what happens afterwards (e.g. staying in touch, recognition of loyalty).

Customer Journey mapping means reviewing the experience your customers get at each stage on that journey.

What do you want them to feel at each point, and how well do you achieve that? Help your team understand the emotions you want to create for your customers at key touch points on the customer journey.

Although you might think the most obvious people to ask about the customer journey from a customer’s perspective are your customers, involving your team (including back of house staff) can be just as enlightening.

And, because it’s easy to become oblivious to what we’re involved in every day (and sometimes quite protective) it helps to mix up departments to review other areas of your business they might not directly work in every day.  Even your newest team members can give you a fresh perspective, and even your most experienced team members can learn something new by experiencing another department.

Often, it’s seemingly simple things. The layout of counters forcing customers to backtrack or double up – wasting time and effort; poor directions or signage – meaning customers get lost or miss things altogether (often impacting your sales too);

Of course, it may not always be possible or practical for team members to experience everything, but even if you sell high end products or exclusive services there will still be plenty of opportunity to get a sense of what your customers experience, particularly the various touch points your customer experiences before or after doing business with you, which can so often get forgotten.

But even if you offer a luxury service or product, this can also provide a perfect opportunity as a treat for deserving members of your team, whilst still providing a learning opportunity.

Take Action

If you only do one thing: Ask your team if they were a customer what one thing would they want to change?

p.s. If you’re a hospitality of tourism business here are some tools to help with your customer journey improvements, and tap into those all important opportunities for great reviews and repeat business.

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