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Measure Your Customer’s Entire Journeys, not just the Touch Points

Jim Tincher Jim Tincher 08/28/2013

Have you had a great customer experience? One you really enjoyed – a flawless purchase of a car, a fantastic trip, or a great B2B partnership? Now think of the opposite – a cell phone provider who frustrated you, a business partnership gone sour.

What made the difference was not an individual touch point, such as a call center or website. Instead, it was the overall journey – the process of purchasing the car went well, or the upgrade to a new phone caused far more trouble than it was worth. Individual touch points contribute to the experience, but it is the accumulation that matters.

See the Larger Pattern

Your customer experience is a journey. But too often, we manage it like a series of touch points, without looking at how these touch points fit together.

And herein lies our customer experience challenge. It is easy to measure website satisfaction or the customer service skills of a call center rep. We do this regularly. But what if your customer looks at your website for information, can’t find it, then calls your rep? How do you measure this entire interaction? The rep may do a fabulous job of handling the complaint, but the journey was a failure.

Similarly, typical breakdowns in B2B journeys occur in the hand-offs. Life is good in sales, but implementation doesn’t provide what sales promised, and customer service can’t find any documentation. How do you discover this with traditional transactional satisfaction questions?

You need to measure the overall customer journey, because that’s what matters.

I was reminded of this by an excellent article in the Harvard Business Review. The authors document how increased satisfaction with a journey, as opposed to touch points, translates to business success.

While they may not have intended it, the authors are really speaking to our customer experience industry. Less mature organizations focus on touch points, because these are easy to measure. But it’s time for us to start measuring and optimizing the overall journeys.

Driving Change

Fortunately, leading companies have started to realize this. I have had literally dozens of conversations lately with companies who are starting to map and measure their customer journeys. They realize that they find their best improvement opportunities by studying the journey as a whole. As the article states, “those that want to transform the overall customer experience need to simultaneously create a detailed road map for each journey.” It also argues that journeys are “20% to 30% more strongly correlated with business outcomes [than touch points], such as high revenue, repeat purchases, low customer churn, and positive word of mouth.”

So, how do you get started? By creating Customer Eco-System Map (next weeks’ topic) and following those up with Customer Journey Maps.  The Eco-system Map provides the inside-out view, whereas the Customer Journey Map starts with your customer’s view – both are critical to target your development.

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