Customer Journey for SMEs

At its heart Customer Journey is an approach that gets more prospects to move from being aware of your brand through to being long-term, high value customers.

purchase funnel picture
Identifying where people drop out, why and how many can drive increased sales and profitabilty

It does so by looking at interactions from the customer’s perspective as they attempt to interact with you. This can focus on a single channel (such as this online purchase funnel) or a single interaction.  Alternatively it can look across a customer’s entire lifecycle and span all channels; digital, telephone, face-to-face and outbound marketing.

We work with medium and large businesses. Here is a list of some of practical things we do to help companies of all sizes realise these benefits.

If you’d like to discuss any of these in more detail then, in the first instance, please speak to Martin Wright or Stephen Grey. We can help you understand how a customer journey approach could help you achieve your objectives, what is involved, how long it would take and how much it would cost.

Find hidden nuggets in the data you already hold

Most companies have a mass of data about their customers and their behaviour. However few have extracted the full value from it. We look at any existing call reporting, web analytics, research reports, campaign response analysis, sales data and information held on your database.

Pulling different fragments together can reveal some surprising and hidden nuggets that immediately identify quick wins.  For example for one Client we discovered its ecommerce site had a low conversion from quote to purchase.  We ran a series of follow-up telephone and email tests.  Even allowing for the higher cost, the winning result was a follow-up call.  If done within 20 minutes this doubled conversion.  By the time one hour had passed a follow-up call made no impact on sales.

Get functions working together to improve customer experiences

Internal workshop
The combined experience of a cross functional group can be captured in a 1 or 2 day intensive customer journey workshop

A customer journey workshop pulls together managers from different functions within the business for one or two day's intensive work. Using the combined experience of the group together we work to build up an internal picture of the end-to-end customer journey. We identify the moments of truth and the problems the group knows customers currently have.

Together a cross-functional group can begin to design better customer interactions capable of improving conversion and increasing lifetime value.

For many organisations this is the first time all business functions will have collaborated to design and deliver better customer experiences.

Even small companies report that this process helps them break down silos and put customer needs above internal issues and barriers.

For a not-for-profit housing organisation a workshop showed how problems in one area caused a domino effect increasing costs and eroding the service quality all other departments could provide.  This created the impetus for fundamental change to the delivery of the service at the route of its problems.

Surgical strike on a single point of customer pain

Often companies will have a single problem or opportunity they know they need to address. This can be converting online enquirers into buyers, or the way they deal with complaints or returns, or even processes to manage the accounts, estates and relatives of deceased customers.

By working with a small cross-functional team and giving an issue real focus it can be resolved quickly and effectively. This spans identifying problems, developing practical solutions and designing and embedding new working practices and systems.

For one Client we focused on the area of highest complaints; the time it took for payments to arrive in the Customer's account.  By deconstructing the entire process we were able to both improve the speed of delivery and put in steps to help set more realistic customer expectations.  Complaints fell dramatically.

Bring customer experiences to life

It can be very difficult for staff to understand how what they do makes customers feel. We are all so busy managing our own targets and dealing with the everyday problems and frustrations of work. The customer can quickly become a number or worse, a problem; particularly if they are a different age or demographic from ourselves.

Every company can spend more time talking to customers one to one, in small groups or shadowing them as they interact with your product or service.

Showing video of customers as they recall the joys and struggles and they have had with a complicated web site or call centre that seems incapable of solving their problem can bring opportunities to life. It can help galvanise and shape change in a way that dry reports do not.

One Client had a 40 person call centre, staffed primarily by people in their early twenty's.  The customer profile  was over 55.  It wasn't until we showed, through video, how customers reacted to and felt about many of the unconscious behaviours of call agents that an initiative to change attitudes made rapid progress - until then no one had really understood the need for change.

Focus group

Identify which changes that will make the biggest difference to sales and retention.

All organisations find they have too many things to do and too little time and money to do them all. Different teams compete for scarce resource and it can be very difficult for leaders to make the right development choices.

Mapping the end-to-end customer journey combines internal knowledge with customer research and data analysis. It allows key drop-out hot-spots to be identified and the commercial cost of each to be quantified. Designing and costing solutions to those problems allows a business to develop a robust improvement plan and to target resource to those projects that will have the greatest impact on profit.

By combining web analytics and web usability techniques we were able to identify for a small business services company that one of its online processes had a 90% failure rate creating cost elsewhere and damaging the company's reputation.  This gave the issue the focus it needed allowing us to redesigned it leading to an increased uptake and reduced service calls.

Customer journey map diagramme
Identify and quantify drop out hot-spots and prioritise resource to get more customers buying and staying with you for longer.

How Customer Journey approaches increase customer profitability

Customer Journey concerns itself both with what a company says and what it does. For  example the online purchase funnel at the top of this article would encourage a company to consider how it could improve the product description at the vital information search stage or how to improve delivery reliability and the way it deals with returns; in other words the practical issues of how it interacts with customers and prospects.

By talking with staff and customers, mapping customer journeys and analysing data a company holds about on and offline interactions, Customer Journey identifies and prioritises specific causes of customer defection or high customer effort.

Working with staff and customers we can then design a series of specific changes to addresses those problems or design completely new customer journeys. Changes can be to website content, adding follow-up emails or telephone calls or rethinking the way customer service calls are handled.

We also help companies manage project teams of staff and suppliers to successfully make the changes to people, process and systems that can be required.

4 ways customer journey build loyalty

Customer Journey approaches build customer value in four basic ways:

    1. Make it easier for customers to do business with you
    2. Ensure your service and your communications better meet customer needs (are relevant)
    3. Improve the quality and consistency in the way customers are treated
    4. Ensure all interactions deliver the benefits and reflect the values of your brand