Why the customer journey map Is an essential business tool.

It seems intuitive that organizations with highly satisfied customers would perform well in the stock market, and now researchers have proved it. A 15-year study conducted by the London School of Economics and Political Science found a consistent correlation between a company’s customer satisfaction scores and its stock portfolio returns. High customer satisfaction translates to better-than-average stock returns, enabling companies to outperform near-term financial performance forecasts. In fact, customer satisfaction has a substantial impact on earnings – approximately 10 percent in additional returns.

This study further strengthens the case for prioritizing the customer experience, which plays a critical role in achieving high customer satisfaction. However, organizations often struggle to optimize the customer experience because they tend to look at the success of individual interactions. However, customers view all interactions with an organization collectively as part of the overall experience, regardless of the technology they use.

“Customers may interact with your organization in person, through a website, over the phone or through social media. In many cases, the customer experience will involve all of those channels and more,” said Jeff Andrews, Executive Vice President, IPC. ”Unfortunately, many organizations make the mistake of viewing various engagement channels discretely. In order to achieve high levels of customer satisfaction, organizations must optimize the customer experience at every touchpoint.”

Gaining New Insights

A process called “customer journey mapping” can help organizations identify and understand every interaction with customers from the moment they contemplate buying a product or service until long after the sale. A customer journey map is a tool that enables organizations to gain visibility into every aspect of the customer experience and better understand customer wants, needs, behaviors, concerns and emotions. This provides valuable insights that can be used to identify opportunities for improving sales and customer service processes, reducing friction, and increasing customer acquisition, retention and advocacy. On a high level, it helps organizations determine if every step of the journey delivers on the brand promise.

“A customer journey map acknowledges that the customer experience is much more than a call to the contact center or the shopping cart functionality on your ecommerce site,” Andrews said. “It can help you pinpoint weaknesses and obstacles faced by customers at any point during their experience with your organization. What is the root cause of each problem? Is it related to a channel, device, department or individual? Is there a lack of consistency?

“The customer journey map can also help you identify ‘moments of truth’ — the successful interactions that should be replicated. All of these insights can lead to more sales, improved operational efficiency and decision-making, and greater customer loyalty.”

Mapping the Journey

To create a customer journey map, organizations should collect data about the customer experience from employees, surveys, reviews, analytics, social media interactions and other online and offline sources. That data can be used to develop customer personas for key buyer groups and identify how their experiences and expectations might differ.

The next step is to connect each persona with various touchpoints across the overall experience, analyzing the desires and goals of customers and the phases they go through to achieve their goals. Organizations can then develop a visual representation of the customer journey and look for ways to improve each step from the customer’s perspective.

Creating and using a customer journey map involves a number of departments, but the contact center plays an essential role in understanding and enhancing the customer experience. The customer journey map should include metrics and key performance indicators for measuring and optimizing call flows, processes and call resolution. Agents must be trained to understand how these metrics are relevant to the customer experience and the importance of making each customer feel valued during and after each interaction.

“IPC has significant experience optimizing contact center operations and performance, and streamlining workflows through system integration and automation,” said Andrews. “We can help organizations increase sales and loyalty by gaining insights from customer interactions and enhancing the customer experience.”