360 degree view- understanding the customer journey

Jan 6
customer journey

360 degree view- understanding the customer journey

“Customer service is the new marketing.”

Derek Sivers, CD Baby

A 360 degree view of a customer is something that is used by a lot of organisations in a lot of different ways. Put simply, it is looking at the customer as an individual, and over time, and the customer journey. How they interact with your business and what is their past, current and potential value to you. Hopefully you have your customer experience strategy all sorted, and you have started to look at your customers in a different way. If it all seems a little bit complicated and hard, especially at this time of year, fear not. I have broken down some digestible, bite-sized chunks for you to think about, and hopefully start to incorporate into your planning.

We have spoken a lot about recruitment… did I mention how really, very, utterly important having the right recruitment process in place is? But if you want to view any degree of your customers, let alone all 360 of them, then you need to have the right customer-oriented professionals manning your front line.

The past, present and future customer journey

Call centre agents are chatting with customers all day every day. It’s what they do. They could have hundreds, thousands of interactions with customers in a week. These are often treated as individual conversations, which will probably see you hitting your targets around call quantities. But you want to be remembered fondly by your customers when they hang up the phone, or more importantly when it comes time to upgrade, switch or replace. If you want the customers having these warm fuzzies, then understand each time you speak with them who they are in relation to your business, and what conversations have they had with you to date. Know their customer journey. This will help you get to the crux of their issue quickly, not make them go over old ground, and understand what their potential value to you is. Ensure this future value is realised by identifying follow up communication opportunities, which could be suggestions of relevant products based on their purchases, reminders to service or upgrade, or simply a request for their feedback. Customers are individuals, and your agents need to have a clear view of their past interactions with you, their current status, and their potential value to your company.

What info is important?

There’s a lot of info available on each person you speak to. This could feel a bit overwhelming, but is actually a gold mine for you to understand each customer journey. Have a system in place that bring up relevant information on each customer quickly. This should include:

Identity (name, gender, age, location)

Relationships and/or influence

Current activity

Historic activity

Current value as a customer

Any flags (red or a nicer colour) to action or follow up

Actions to be taken (new and outstanding)

Collect and collate this information on every customer. This is a great start, and will help you understand their customer journey, but you’d frankly be missing a trick if you didn’t combine this with your internal data to get a richer view. This is Big Data people, and it’s very exciting. You can use all this wonderful information to get a complete view on each customer journey. Social media, Content Management, Customer Feedback, Email, CRM System, allows you to get a true 360 degree view of your customers from every possible angle. This will help you create a truly memorable, personal, exceptional experience for every customer every time.

Look within

You’d be missing a trick if you focused entirely on looking at your customers through a rich sense, if you’re not looking at your own business with the same scrutiny. A customer journey is their road to purchasing, or purchasing more from your business. But your business has its own journey and pain points to address to ensure you’re meeting them half way. You don’t want to get them loving your service and be ready and eager to buy, only to let them down by making it hard to order your product online. You have to make sure anyone dealing with your customers are equipped with the knowledge they need, and the passion to go the extra mile at every opportunity. Make you’re seeking customer feedback after each interaction. This can help you look at individual agent performance and also identify opportunities to improve products or internal systems that may be causing angst. Look at your customer sentiment and trends in your category so your business plans are solid, address any pain points and move into growth territories.

Get fluid

Don’t get bogged down in processes and systems, there’s not one approach that will suit everyone. It’s important to inject some dynamism into your customer interactions. This means being nimble and flexible enough to change your customer service propositions based on their value to you – current or potential. If a customer is flagged as a potential high value then perhaps you offer them a discount on their current bill, an extra follow up to ensure they’re satisfied or offer them an exclusive deal, to ensure they stay on the boil. If a customer is low value and is likely to stay that way based on their behaviour to date, don’t forget about them (remember it costs 6 times as much to recruit a customer as it does to retain one), but don’t invest the same level of time and follow up in them as you do someone with more dollar potential. Each interaction should be an opportunity to cross sell- based on what you know and what you learn in each conversation. Consider chucking your scripts out the window (into the nearest recycling bin, naturally), and train your agents to adapt and change course on the fly.

Get yourself an ace system

With the amount of data available on your customers, it’s easy for your agents to become overwhelmed. Having long pauses while an agent searches through mounds of data, sounding confused, does not a good customer experience make. Keep it simple. Identify the relevant customer information and make it easily accessible, easy to navigate with just a few screens, for your agents to access within the first 20 seconds of a call. If your system is intuitive and can present only the information relevant to the current interaction, even better. Make it easy for your agents to know and understand who they are talking to, but don’t inhibit a natural, flowing conversation. It’s a tricky balance which involves having the right system coupled with the right training for the right agents.

With 360 angles from which to look at your customers, and so many data sources, the customer journey can seem pretty full on. But taking the time to utilise the powerful asset that is information will help you provide your customers a truly memorable experience and ensure they buy, keep buying, and tell their mates all about it.

Need a game plan to win on the customer experience battlefield?


Flickr cc:Luigi Mengato