Years ago when I started out in my Customer Experience improvement career, a friend gave me a book entitled A Complaint is a Gift. It was one of those single-message books that really only require a skimming to get the point. As I look back on all the clients I`ve worked with since then, that point has proven time and again to be fundamentally important.
When we map out the customer journey, we see all kinds of places where process is broken, efforts are duplicated, messaging is not aligned, and the customer is not satisfied. These pain points elicit many groans from clients during the current-state review. So much pain can be overwhelming!
Rather than getting stuck in the mire, it is critical to look beyond the pain to find the opportunities within. Take a deep breath, follow this outline, and you will be on your way from pain to gain.
- Create a Customer Journey Map
- Who needs to be at the table? Its always best to get a diverse group together — anyone who touches the customer (think billing) has a part to play.
- Highlight all pain points where you find them
- You can also assess the severity of the pain
- Stay away from the blame game — we are all here to solve a problem and make the customer experience better
- Give it a “face” try to humanize the actions/activities on the map — it makes it so much easier to relate to
- Look forwards and not backwards
- What specifically about the touchpoint is painful
- The more you can isolate root causes the easier it will be to assign resources and create a project plan
- Be sure to highlight the best practices too — and moments of truth — that`s where a customer can make a choice and you need to rise to that occasion
- How are you measuring success today?
- Are you measuring this touchpoint? If so, how? If not, what are the ways in which you can measure it? Proxies?
- Be sure to include Voice of the Customer in your metrics! Many companies start to believe their own magical thinking — look at the hard facts.
- Create a grocery list of opportunities (or actions to staunch bleeding).
- By cost
- By importance to the customer
- By time
- Sum it up!
- Identify quick wins and act on these quickly to build momentum
- Early successes can greatly influence and consolidate the group when it comes time to work on the hard stuff
- Create a roadmap
- Organize by timing (quick wins, do now (3-6 months), do next (6-12) months, bits and pieces (tackle when you can). Leave off the 3 year initiatives for now — they will drag you down
- Broadcast your successes
- Ensure you have executive support
- Show them the money! Often quick wins can result in significant cost reductions
- Ensure you have executive support
- Revisit your map and refresh it
- Are the pain points still painful?
- Have any new ones arisen?
- Use it for other activities (communications cost savings, sales/marketing alignment, new employee orientation)
Any personal trainer worth his or her salt will encourage you to not look at the 20 pounds you want to lose as one huge overwhelming goal, but to break it down into measurable, achievable goals of five pounds each. The same goes for tackling your customer pain. Let your journey map be your guide and your anchor. Keep it updated, but be sure to save that initial current state map. You`ll be amazed what you will have accomplished.
Complaints really are gifts. Customers are letting you know something is broken. Many companies will be aware of these pain points, but they may seem so overwhelming that little to no action is taken. Don`t let your company suffer from pain without pushing yourself towards the gain.
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