CEM (short for customer experience mapping) has been a popular topic for well over 6 years for big companies interested in understanding a customer’s “relationship” with their services and products. However, small to medium companies have just started to notice the importance of having this incorporated into your business process.
Not to mention startups in the “app zone”, whose breakthrough relies mostly on how early-stage users interact and feel about the product/service they are testing or using. Today, we’re going to take note on 3 elements that can be added to the mix when creating a customer experience map.
The Must Have Elements
An experience map is a detailed visualization of your customer’s journey, the opportunities that rise for both your business and products/services to meet customer needs not only on the spot, but also in the long run, and the guiding principles behind actions and behaviors. Questions that can help you understand the processes behind a user’s action, include:
- What are the top reasons why my customers would need my product or service?
- What are the top benefits for using my product/service?
- How does my product/service integrate in the moment, i.e. offering my customers an improved experience online/offline/both ways?
- Does my product/service integrate in the bigger picture, long-term? Why/Why not? If Yes, then How?
- What are customer behavior or mindset patterns which my product/service can cover or respond to?
- Is my customer acting based on pre-defined principles? What are those? Can these be addressed or integrated in my product/service?
- Is my product/service sustainable? Does it allow a connection/bridge between customer experience and customer satisfaction?
You can find more about the anatomy of a customer experience map here, along with clear examples such as Rail Europe’s CEM process. Now, if you follow the best practices of CEM, you can only get so far. Here’s how to take the entire process one step forward.
#1. Monitoring Customer Satisfaction Across All Channels
Customer satisfaction is a key player in designing products or services that solve problems, create a space for customers to enjoy and use, and trigger customer loyalty in the long run. Nowadays, your social media staff and community managers play a bigger role than in the past. Here’s why: customers are humans and there is a certain emotional link between your service or product and their needs. Sometimes, as providers, we fail to completely deliver and meet expectations. And this is human, as well. That is why as businesses, we need processes and human force to handle the failure.
An angry customer will be more understanding if, for example, someone from your staff will patiently listen to his/her worries, complaints, and offer a win-win solution, in a timely manner. Knowing the key principles behind proper damage control can save your company’s future. These are: responsiveness (speed and time), reaction, damage control, patience, protocols and explanations at hand, problem solving procedures, standard and customized processes, call to action, open door policies.
And learn from other brands’ mistakes (such as Pokemon Go’s fiasco, although they managed to recover, to some extent, according to this article).
#2. Monitoring Feedback
Nothing new here, however many businesses ignore customer feedback. Just having a good survey form on your website and a competent community manager that gathers all feedback from customers isn’t enough to gain valuable insights about your products, features, and services, and the way they impact your customers’ lives.
You shouldn’t collect customer feedback at a superficial level.
Many customers tend to forget, or do not have the time, or simply are not used to leaving feedback and stating their mind. That is why you must always pair up with a third-party service to collect more insights, and put them to better use.
Delighted, a feedback monitoring tool, has become very popular among startups, mid-sized companies and Fortune500 brands. Among these, Uber, PeoplePerHour, Tedx, Slack, and others use it to collect instant feedback and rate their products and services. The tool sends out a message to the users, asking them to rate the brand/product/service on a scale from 1 to 10, in the email body. And then opens an additional web page where the user can explain their pick. Feedback is collected and delivered in real time to the brand’s board. Delightful!
#3. Crunching User Website Data to Understand Online Patterns
The customer experience map is strongly related to your website’s functionality and the user’s activity patterns, not just to the human, personal journey aspect. Ideally, you would want to get to know and understand your audience at a deeper level. Besides having a solid website or channel that runs on usability and responsiveness across all devices/environments, you also need access to data related to the user’s online activity prior or post usage of your product or service. It’s way easier in the case of apps, for e.g., to collect user data right from the app itself, analyze it and report findings strictly related to your product. Google offers the option to export data and stats if your app is in the Google App store.
If your products/services do not come in the form of apps, then your website becomes the first environment to facilitate the contact and interaction between them and the customer. They don’t say a website is a company’s business card, for nothing!
While data extracted from your website may fail to directly address all customer experience segments, it will help in predicting certain behaviors or trends in close relation to your service or product. Pivot tables provide a simplified way to gain first hand access to customer patterns and do not require super advanced knowledge of data analysis. If you are not familiar with PowerPivot there are plenty of online articles like this one.
Come what may, we live in a time where businesses need to walk the extra mile to achieve success. In the business world, there is such thing as “competition”, and the only way to win a top spot is to provide something different, better, more functional, more accurate to your customers.
This means gathering data from the inside (starting with your website user data), analyzing it, finding patterns, building your product based on those patterns to meet customers’ expectations.
Remember that feedback isn’t just “active listening”, as everyone talks about, but also input collection and implementation to meet customer satisfaction. Happy customer experience mapping!
Image source: Pixabay