The primary goal of many B2B organizations is to continue to sign on new customers, in order to grow the business and in turn revenue and profit. As a result, sales and marketing teams often come together to deliver what is believed to be the best possible buying experience for the prospect. The teams may engage in mapping out the journey the prospect will travel while engaging in the buying process.
Unfortunately, many organizations miss the boat, because the prospect doesn’t only want to know what it’s like to conduct business during the buying process, it also wants to know what the longer term experience will be with implementation of the product or service, and with after care support. What will things really be like if or when the going gets rough? Will the product or service be delivered on time? Will the quality be as expected? Will it be easy to place orders? Will there be ample, proactive communication? Will the customer service team be not only pleasant to work with, but also knowledgeable about their account? If there’s an issue, will it be easy to report and work through, or will it require escalation and several follow ups?
The first step to ensuring the customer experience is desirable throughout the lifetime of the relationship is to complete a journey map for each stage of the relationship – sales cycle, ongoing service, after care support, etc.. As each map is being generated, solicit feedback from existing clients about what is going well and what could be improved. Ask prospects what the deciding factors are when they are choosing new vendors or partners. Align the customer’s expected journey with the value that you expect to achieve as an organization.
The next piece of the puzzle is to examine the roles, business processes and technology that support the customer’s journey throughout each stage of the relationship. Ensuring that each role is filled with an individual who has not only the skill set for the position but also a passion for what they do is paramount. Secondly, each person should feel as though the business process is well thought out, clearly defined and easy to follow without many exceptions to manage. Finally the tools that support the process should enable the employee to execute accurately, swiftly and completely without having to navigate between too many applications, forms or fields.
The last aspect to consider is how to continually improve the customer experience. In order to do so, the organization should have a clear purpose, defined success metrics and KPIs to continuously measure performance. There are several ways to accomplish this, some of which include formal surveys, ride-a-longs and informal interviews with both customers and employees, system metrics, time studies, and quality control checks.
Have some tips or tricks related to journey maps, the overall customer experience initiative or continuous improvement, feel free to share those with us in the comments below. Or are you struggling with how to get started with journey maps, process design or KPIs? If so, contact us to schedule a time to chat more about it.
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