Looking Through The Eyes of A Happy Customer
If you want to see what a successful project looks like, look at it through the eyes of a happy customer.
What's the difference between a touch point and customer experience? Most businesses when thinking about the customer, focus on the touch points, the individual actions and transactions where a customer interacts with a component of the business. They are easy to design, manage and measure. Touch points can be looked at and improved in isolation and add accountability. It sounds like a good thing, and it is.
In isolation, however, it misses the wider point of "what is the customer's end to end experience of interacting with us". By looking at the customer’s experience through his or her own eyes, you really begin to understand how to meaningfully improve the performance of and return not just on a project, or a feature, but on the whole business.
We're a digital business and we target digital opportunity as part of a transformative strategy. To do our best work, we need to map every customer journey, not just the ones we are designing for. To take a simple and direct example of a customer journey for a building materials supplier.
" A customer should be able to calculate a volume and a quote for some aggregate on our web site"
That's easy enough to organise - a simple to navigate path - products > product calculator > calculate price > transact. The customer knew what they wanted, knew where to find it, got the price they were looking for and made a payment. Top task complete, happy analyst, happy balance sheet.
What about the drop offs? What happens if something goes wrong? Thinking outside of the successful customer can highlight why working through great touch points does not always result in a successful project. Let's take the same user flow again, with a customer, or potential customer who is a little less savvy, or where the buyer journey is complicated by real world practicalities..
I'm not sure what I need. What's the best aggregate for me?
Does your web site answer this question? If not, who does? Can I call someone?
Can you deliver to me and when will I get it?
Do you have delivery information? Can you get it over a fence? Down a tight road?
I don't understand the calculator, I'm going to find somewhere else that can help me.
Could the calculator have a how to? Do you explain the steps?
It's next day delivery, I want it a week on Thursday.
Can you facilitate this online? Is there someone to talk to? If not, have you explained why and what to do instead?
It's my first order, the billing addres has to match the delivery addres.
What if I'm buying on behalf of a customer? Three or four tonne bags are no use at my house.
The customer requirement has changed, can I change my order?
Can I do this online? Is there someone to talk to? How can we make this easy?
Even in such a simple example, there's plenty more issues to map. By considering how the customer reacts to issues and interacts across channels, and how we deal with the unforeseen, we can have massive and positive reputational and commercial impact. This is exactly where designing touch points in isolation can fall down as a strategy if we don't consider the wider customer experience. The brand, the reputation and the conversion rate success in this example hinges on the (let's say) 97% who aren't currently buying (3% is a fair conversion rate for this kind of journey). Can we capture 1-2% more by considering the end to end experience? Can we generate referals and even evangelists when things go wrong?
A happy customer is not always a successful one; managing the failures, the aftercare, the life cycle around the touch point might be the spark that delivers a truly happy customer and by focusing soley on a succesful journey for that touch point, you've missed a world of opportunity.