(Above) A customer map of a Starbucks coffee shop experience.
The first post in this series on customer experience mapping can be found here.
Gary and Blane Millet of Customer Experiences Inc. have developed an interesting process for defining, designing, deploying and measuring customer experiences that deliver on customer expectations to realize business gains. They believe that the foundation of quality customer experiences depend on its consistency and the ability to be replicated across the entire scope of customer interaction. Achieving such levels of quality creates customer trust and lowers a customer’s expectation of any risk associated with a product or service and therefore your brand.
Other benefits of achieving this level of customer experience management includes lower customer defection rates, improved customer penetration (getting more revenue from a single customer), increased marketing responses and ability to “complete a sale” ratio (versus those who didn’t buy).
Millet and Millet call this “customer risk management.” By creating more “Loyalists” you reduce potential defections or the growth of what they call “Satisfactionists and Dissatisfactionists.” The entire focus is to create more loyalists.
Defining Economic Value of a Customer Experience
Any customer experience should be able to be distilled into some kind of economic value to your organization that can be measured, such as: profitability, positioning, loyalty, retention, acquisition, or penetration. Such assessments are important because they can maintain the association brand awareness you want to keep in the minds of customers at the product and service level and the “customer advocacy” culture you want to instill across your business units (e.g. marketing, education, publishing,etc).
Completing a Customer Experience Mapping Process
Millet and Millet outline a 5 step plan as follows:
- Setting the Experience Vision -the act of defining what actions are going to take place, to whom those actions will be directed and how those actions will be enacted. The Experience Vision is always written from the customer’s perspective. It is developed as if the customer is actually moving through the experience.
- Customer Experience Mapping -the translation of the Experience Vision into a succinct, definable “Customer Experience Map” that describes the desired customer touch points required to achieve the right responses and all the supporting elements and tools needed to implement the Maps as an integrated business process.
- Implementing the Experience Plan-the actual assembly of the right experience, based on the identification of the customer. The Plan’s structure guides employee actions, keeping them away from performing random acts, based on their own views of the customer.
- The Customer Experience Delivery-the customer experience is delivered through the execution of the appropriate Experience Touch Points. Touch Points are essential in achieving the desired customer response in the Map. These customer interactions (Touch Points) can be human or electronic, but they are all planned, trained, and focused towards achieving the desired customer response. This puts the actual business process into action and is where the organization sees the consistency, predictability, and repeatability in customer behavior.
- Measuring the Experience-“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” All Customer Response Points must be measurable and tied directly to the customer experience maps. These Response Points are then aggregated to measure the overall success of the entire customer experience. From the experience results, the organization can then continuously improve upon the experience and better manage customer response behavior.
Each map contains five interactive elements: a “customer experience response point” (how you want the customer to think and feel), “customer experience touch points” (that direct customer interactions to the desired customer response), “experience voting points” (potential areas where a customer might vote to leave the experience), “knowledge requiring transfer” (information from other Maps that is critical to making the experience effective), and “success measurements” (metrics showing when the Map is successful in delivering its desired Customer Response Point).
The final customer experience plan is a “visual workflow” of the entire experience. Often they have two different views or perspectives: a customer view (consumer) and staff view (delivery).
Interestingly as these plans are assembled “gaps” are often identified that inhibit employees or technology from proper execution. Tools are created to bridge gaps.
Implementation of an Experience Plan requires cross business unit communication, acquisition of resources, employee training, deployment of the experience, and on-going management.
Assessing Customer Risk
Once again, the goal is to mitigate defections or unintended actions in order to create and deliver customer experiences that build brand loyalty.
Millet and Millet measures customer risk accordingly:
- Assess the ratio of Loyalists to the other groups of Satisfactionists, Dissatisfactionists, and Prospects. The lower the ratio of Loyalists to any of these groups, the greater risk you have with your customers. The converse is true about Dissatisfactionists.
- Determine the percentage of customers within a specific predefined success measure.
Loyalty is measured when purchases increase in value or frequency and in “word-of-mouth” referrals. Loyalty is exhibited by the organization when it proactively determines how best to fulfill the customers’ wants and needs.
Millet and Millet offer three methods to track a customer’s emotional trust (loyalty): a customer delight survey that measures the customer relationship and not the organization’s operations or products, direct “Word-of-Mouth” referral-tracking, and direct customer relationship feedback that provides their personal thoughts and feelings.