17 April 2015 – Andrew Cook
I’m a firm believer that business leaders should be turning their focus to the customer journey. Many haven’t yet discovered the value of creating a customer journey map and they’re losing out on a crucial tool that can be used to improve processes and reduce customer churn.
These days there is no getting around the need to understand your business from your customers’ perspective. Customers have ever higher expectations of the brands they choose to deal with – and herein lies a powerful truth. They choose. Not you. The customer journey should thus be the departure point for every decision you make, every strategy you implement and every campaign you launch.
So many business leaders in South Africa sit within the cocoon of their corner office and stare out at the world around them. They view growth, profit margins, target markets and every other aspect of business from their comfortable perch. More often than not they get stuck on sales numbers, or why their competitors are looming over their turf.
By mapping out the customer journey, you can look at your business from a very different angle – from the outside in. This allows you to understand exactly what is happening across your business through the eyes of your customers. The customer journey allows you to graphically detail each touch point across all the processes of your business.
Connecting the dots through the customer journey can reveal all of the inefficiencies and issues affecting your business. You’ll be surprised at how many of your current processes cause frustration for your customers. And I’m guessing you don’t want to be the last to know – when it’s too late and your customers have left you for your biggest competitor.
It is, however, important to keep in mind that mapping out the customer journey is not about creating a process map. It’s about walking through those processes as though you’re the customer and understanding in detail each moment of truth that your customers experience and what they expect of your business. If you don’t go through the steps of the customer journey, you’re most likely going to find out that things aren’t looking good the hard way: from your customers… when they’re unhappy and they start complaining loudly.
Obviously, you want to avoid that. So the first place to start is with the customer journey. It should form the blueprint of your customer experience strategy.
The importance of the customer journey cannot be overemphasised. Running your business without having the customer journey mapped out would be like attempting to drive from Cape Town to Cairo without a GPS. It can be done, but at what expense? What may seem like a short cut at first could cost you time, money and resources in hindsight.