Businesses exist because they serve customers. And the best way to create offerings that meet the needs and preferences of your customers is to get inside the end-to-end customer experience.
This means knowing what it feels like to be the customer not only when the customer is interacting with the product, but during the discovery, the sale, the installation, and first use, when the customer needs help when something goes wrong, or wants to learn more. The best way to create customer and brand loyalty which result in gaining a bigger share-of-wallet gain is to understand every aspect of the customer’s experience and to incorporate this knowledge into your offerings.
Customer experience is a journey. It's a marathon and not a sprint.
The customer’s end-to-end experience with your offering involves the following stages:
The customer-experience journey is a cross-functional endeavor. It involves a multidisciplinary team with a strong leader who is responsible for the end-to-end process. However, each of these stages will engage representatives from different functions in different ways. For example, “I am aware” is largely marketing’s purview, while “I install” is largely an engineering play.
The first step in the process, then, is to assemble the cross-functional team that will first reach into the mind and heart of the customer and then deliver an offering based on what the team has learned. The broad questions this team sets out to answer are:
The next step is to meet as a team and map out what the team believes to be the customer experience – starting from the pain point or customer need. This is the main reason that customers seek out your offering in the first place. Then, the cross-functional team maps out what they think the customer experience is in each of the phases listed above ("I am aware," "I shop," etc.). This is a simple red/yellow/green rating by the cross-functional team, starting with an "inside-out" view.
Here are key junctures in the customer experience journey: