Understanding customer experiences energizes and empowers the members of the organization to create the necessary changes based on a hands-on, high touch approach and start the conversation that results in greater customer satisfaction and word of mouth.
Customer experience mapping is only a tool to understand the impacts from the customer’s perspective – not the real end. Customer experiences evolve over time. Thus an experience map must be dynamic to be reflective of the changes that occur in the way that the customer experiences the moments of truth to buy and use a product or the service.
Customer experience mapping requires the designers to step into the customer’s shoes. It captures the customer’s reality, their perceptions as well as their motivations and experiences. The designers ask why are things done as they are? What is the end that the customer has in mind? What benefits is the customer seeking? What is the customer’s story? What is driving the customer choices? Most importantly, what is the customer feeling as they go through the end-to-end experience?
Customer experience maps initially provide a view into the as-is: customer’s current experiences and their pain-points. Experience maps then move to the to-be to address gaps and issues. To-be design requires the buy-in and participation of many individuals and teams, including leadership, business functions, sales and marketing functions, support, IT, etc. Successfully implementing changes to customer experiences depends alignment and buy-in of the many groups affected.
Current trends such as Cloud Computing, Big Data, Mobile, and Social have changed the way we engage in commerce. Through cloud computing our assumptions about computing and use of devices and appliances has changed. Through connected devices, businesses generate and capture Terabytes of data. Growing number of mobile workers do business from anywhere any time. Social media in enterprises allows employees to communicate and collaborate. In the globally connected world, businesses compete for customer share of wallet and loyalty while customers seek seamless experiences and have high expectations of performance, service and support. Customer experiences have become integrated between brick and mortar, mobile and social channels and customers want to be in control of their relationship with their suppliers. If they are not satisfied, they can easily switch and take their business elsewhere.
Involvement and engagement of product managers, operations, marketing, sales support, and others is key to change the customer perception. In work sessions tools such as a white board, sticky notes, process mapping software, helps brings groups together, share issues, and create common understanding.