The customer journey is your most powerful tool for profit, customer satisfaction and repeat business. Customer journeys are a clear view of the path your customer will take to find and use your services. Savvy home services businesses look at the entire customer journey to find ways to provide better customer service.
In this article, we’ll discuss the role of the customer journey and help you gain an understanding of how customers get to you and how you can define a clearer path to purchase.
The Role of Customer Experience in the Customer Journey
Use customer experience design to create a start-to-end view of all the customer’s interactions with your business. Understanding the customer journey shows you what paths the customer takes, not the ones you try to lead them down.
Customers are people, and they may make unexpected decisions and sudden changes in what they want. Instead of directing them in a direction you choose, look at what they are experiencing. This can help you create enhancements and improve the customer experience based on what the customer wants.
Make a Customer Journey Map
A customer journey map gives details about every point of contact between the customer and your company. The map can show you when and where a customer engages with your company. Think of it as a pathway a customer takes through the entire process.
The most effective way to understand the customer’s experience is to create a graphic representation of the routes they take. Your map can be as simple as a drawing or a set of notes on a whiteboard, or it can become more detailed if you use an Excel spreadsheet of templates for infographics. What matters most is that you and your staff understand the journey.
The Process of Making a Customer Journey Map
Once you understand why you need a customer map, it’s important to follow the steps to make an effective customer map. Here are some easy-to-implement steps to get you started.
1. Create Customer Personas
These are descriptions of your different target customers. You can use demographics, meaning you can determine the age, income level, gender, education level and type of employment. If you review previous jobs you’ve completed, you can see this information. Gather it and put it all in one document. Then, you create a “persona” of your typical customers. Describe each one in terms of what they want, what puts them off and what will keep them coming back to you. Think about their goals when using your company’s services.
2. Map Every Touchpoint
Organize the map around touchpoints. These are interactions with your brand, ads, messaging or sales staff and customer service representatives. Touchpoints are the places where customers decide what they think about your company or its products and services.
Each persona may have different touchpoints, such as when they first see your ads, when they call your company, when they walk in the door or visit your website, and continuing to the purchase and delivery of your product or service. If you do customer surveys, that can be another touchpoint. List as many interactions as you can think of. Write down and number all the touchpoints so you can refer to them when making your map.
Some examples can be a referral from a friend, a completed job sign in the yard of a neighbor, a Facebook ad, or a local magazine coupon.
3. Identify Outcomes at Each Touchpoint
This will show you your most vulnerable processes. You might have slow delivery or trouble answering customer product or service questions. Or, you may find you have strengths at many touchpoints. For example, you may have rave reviews on customer service and responding to calls.
4. Determine Resources
Write these on the map. If you don’t have enough staff at one touchpoint, or your website tends to malfunction at another, you know these are areas where your customer has an unpleasant experience on the journey. Make a note to enhance your resources in those places.
5. Make Changes
These changes should be designed to make your customer more confident in your services. Try not to focus on what would make you feel better, meaning don’t attempt to make your job easier. Make the customer journey easier.
Tips to Enhance the Customer Experience
Think about what changes will affect the customer positively. For example, you may want your employees and subcontractors to spend more time with each customer and make sure each one is satisfied. Your workers are entering the customer’s home, and the customer will no doubt be on-premises from start to finish. The focus should become how it feels to customers to have a visitor doing work in their homes. Courtesy and professionalism will put customers at ease. Use these tips below to get started.
Empower employees to make decisions. Wherever possible, eliminate the “I’ll have to ask my boss” response to a customer problem. Let workers know how much leeway they have in making the customer happy, then encourage them to take those actions without asking and without fear of reprisal. Let technicians send notices about when they will arrive or updates on getting supplies to finish the job.
Personalize Customer Experience
Personalize the customer experience. Avoid phrases like, “that’s not our policy” or “you need to call my boss.” Tell staff to take the customer on the journey. Make it easy to navigate your site. Instruct staff fielding calls to connect the customer to the correct person instead of giving them a number to call. This kind of personalized attention tells customers they matter to you and that you intend to treat them like human beings instead of merely potential sales.
Use Chat Service
Make communications personal by using a chatbot service. Customers who can chat with your company will feel more important than if you merely send generic communications. Even if you automate your communications, make them sound warm rather than genetic. Make sure your chatbots guide customers to where they need to be on your site.
Send Appointment Reminders
Send a text or email to homeowners before their appointment to let them know you are looking forward to doing the work for them. This adds reassurance that you have made them a priority.
Encourage your customers to respond to customer experience surveys and leave reviews. You can do this during the journey (how are we doing so far?) and after the journey (please give us feedback on your experience). Take reviews and customer experience surveys seriously, respond personally when possible, and keep track of how customers rank you. This will keep you in touch with how the customer journey feels.
After you have provided the service, it can be helpful to “nudge” the customer about leaving feedback on your site or social media. This feedback can go a long way toward showing potential customers that you provide quality service.
While you can implement these techniques yourself, using the help of a professional to automate this service is helpful and can enhance your customer experience.
The customer journey is not only something you monitor; it is something you create. Customer experience design can be your best tool for keeping your customers. Use these tips to get started on creating a clearer path for your customers, resulting in a more successful business model for your company.
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