It’s not enough to simply create a customer journey and ‘hope’ it delivers an amazing experience for the long term in your business. A customer experience needs to be an ongoing process of reviewing, measuring, refining and optimising. Just as people are evolving beings, so is your customer journey. Here is how you can continually ensure your customer journey experience is an optimal one.
Collecting customer feedback
A good customer experience comes from the basics of creating a foundational customer journey, followed by some very simple yet profoundly important steps (which many people forget to do). Here are those steps that help to create a foundational customer journey:
- ask questions of your customer
- listen to the responses, and adapt your approach accordingly
- if you don’t already have one, create a system to regularly collect feedback, analyse it, and act on it
- Collect information about your users’ experiences with your product/service, website/app, or business as a whole
- Ask your customer-facing staff about their experiences and what they’ve learnt from interacting with their customers
Even if you don’t realize it, you are already gathering data every single day. Each time a customer calls the support line, sends an email, or leaves a review, that is feedback. It’s up to you to take that feedback and close the loop, using those insights to improve your customer experience.
According to Hotjar, companies with successful customer experience initiatives prioritize old-school methods (rather than focusing on trends like chatbots or AI). They focus on what they know will deliver results, which are the human-oriented methods that they know work! Most companies according to Hotjar stated that customer feedback was the main driver of their overall customer experience strategy. Voice-of-customer (VOC) feedback was the top method used across the board to shape customer journeys. Popular tactics included customer surveys, customer calls, and diving deep into website analytics. To take it one step further in the complete end-to-end customer experience strategy, you must also listen to the voice of your staff who are speaking with your customers daily. Ensuring that they are empowered and aligned with the values of the organisation, whilst being able to communicate effectively and caringly to customers is paramount. So ensure you include them in your ‘old school’ analysis.
Gather feedback at the right times
It’s crucial to collect feedback at key stages of the customer journey, on your website or app, through email, or other relevant channels. There are three key milestones in particular where this will prove especially helpful.
- You can prompt feedback at pivotal points prior to purchase, such as when someone has added a product to their cart or viewed a product page. (This is largely online – but could be asked by a human afterwards.)
- You can also ask for feedback on the confirmation page after they have made an order. (This is largely online – but could be asked by a human afterwards.)
- And finally, you can ask for feedback after they have had time to try out your product or service.
You can also provide an incentive by offering a reward for responses. This could be in the form of a discount on their next purchase or being entered into a prize draw. Some people do this by asking for the information to be shared on a social media platform, thereby creating some verbal advocacy to their trusted circles.
How to measure the customer experience
Having a measurable indicator means you can track progress over time and evaluate your efforts in this area. These will come in handy when you are running experiments to optimise your customer journey (more on that shortly). Here are four common metrics used to evaluate customer experience.
1. Customer Effort Score (CES)
How easy or hard is it for your customers to complete an action? This is usually measured through a survey that is sent out after the fact asking users to rate the difficulty of carrying out the task on a set scale. Each business will be different according to how it is set up, so ensure you set this up in the most appropriate way.
2. Net Promoter Score (NPS)
NPS is a customer loyalty score based on asking a simple question: “On a scale from 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend us to a friend or colleague?” This then calculates a numerical score on a scale from 0 to 100 that represents customer experience. Many people have used this survey only for years, but haven’t improved their scores. On it’s own it’s missing key information that other scores and survey measures provide.
3. Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)
CSAT surveys measure customers’ satisfaction as expressed on a scale or through binary yes/no answers. This drills down to specific touchpoints, rather than focusing on their overall experience. This can be delivered automatically after the delivery of a service or product, or at a particular milestone point.
4. Time To Resolution (TTR)
TTR refers to the average length of time it takes for a problem to be resolved. It starts when the issue is first raised by a customer and ends once the ticket is closed. This can be measured in days or business hours. You can work out this metric by adding up the total time spent on resolution and dividing the result by the number of individual cases. If you have customer support teams then this is something your teams should be able to measure if they have the most appropriate tools to be able to support them.
Identify your biggest leaks
Pinpoint the most common drop-off points along your customer journey. This includes the online and offline steps of your customer journey. These areas of your customer journey represent your main opportunities for improving the overall customer experience. Where are people leaving – and why?
A certain percentage of drop-offs is inevitable. You can’t expect to win over everybody. Not all prospects are ideal customers, and even among those, not all of them will ultimately convert.
That said, if there are patterns showing that numbers significantly plummet at key stages, this is a signal that something is stopping customers from progressing. If web users lap up blog articles but never navigate to product content, consider whether you are effectively communicating how your products might meet their needs. If most people are making it through to your pricing page but then bouncing from there, you have a different problem on your hands.
Test and learn
Running long-term tests and implementing changes as an iterative process is a must when you are working on creating the ideal customer journey. Make use of split testing or multivariate testing to experiment with changes with an eye to shifting the metrics outlined earlier. You want to achieve the optimal customer experience right now, as well as adapt to meet changing expectations and habits over time.
You could have a short term goal for your customer journey, and a long term goal for your customer journey. Set up short term wins and changes that make sense to implement over the short term, and work towards the longer term overall goal of the customer journey with ‘all the bells and whistles’
Keep doing what works and pour even more time and effort into those metrics and levers mentioned previously. Dial down tactics that aren’t delivering the results you want and consider cutting them out of your strategy entirely. These are just some of the strategies that will make you have a 5 star customer journey.