Putting the user at the center of your universe is critical to customer success and growing your business.

Traditionally, business owners have made a widget or provided a service, the customer walks through the front-door and gives the owner money in return for the product or service. Function was the greatest driving force to customer preference, because there wasn’t much choice.

Today, a customer’s choices are endless, as well as their expectations. Consumer power has increased, driven by the recent decade of consumer technology innovation. Businesses have reinvented themselves to stay competitive, attract and retain customers. According to Forbes, here are some companies that are killing it.  In this climate, the businesses who successfully put the customer at the center of their decision making process, at the center of their universe, see increases in customer success, revenue and loyalty.

Recently we’ve seen human-centered design disrupting just about every industry, from architecture to software. More and more businesses are taking a step back, thinking like a customer and asking the question: What does an optimal customer experience look like?

Luckily there a handful of tools for businesses to understand that very question. The most common tool for exploring an optimal customer experience is a customer journey map. A customer journey map is a visual diagram that shows every interaction a customer may have with a business or brand.

What’s the best way to map customer journeys?

A customer journey map can help act as a corrective lens between siloed departments. Traditionally each silo only understood it’s own piece of the user’s end-to-end journey. It’s not uncommon for a customer to have mixed messages from different departments of the same company. A customer journey map provides multiple teams within an organization a way to understand the big picture from a common perspective, the customer’s.

Recent reports show 84% of organizations who are using customer journey maps, and implementing practices that highlight the customer experience, show an increase in revenue and decrease in churn rate after just one month of optimization.

By having a unified view of the customer’s world, an organization can expose the gaps between the user’s expectations and perceptions during key moments in their journey. The customer journey map highlights where to spend resources to improve customer experience via personalization and proactive communication to exceed customer expectations.

Customer journey maps are perfect when your business needs to shift focus from traditional systems of record to dynamic systems of engagements. How do you get started?

Building a Framework for Customer Journey Maps

You first need to build a framework for your customer journey map. Start by identifying all of your macro customer tasks (such as evaluating, on-boarding, getting support, or renewing & evangelizing) at a high level. This aggregate view of user journeys effectively summarizes each touchpoint your customers have with your brand. From this global perspective, you can see how all of the journeys fit together, how they inform the broader experience, and how they fit into your vision and strategy for customer experiences. 

Once the vision is laid out, it’s important to spend time researching what is actually happening. This process in a six-sigma implementation is called a Gemba, Japanese for “go see”. Literally meaning you should go observe, interview, and experience what is actually happening at customer touchpoints.

With observations in hand, you can now focus on the gaps and challenges that were identified. Then comes the process of designing, prototyping, and testing solutions that optimize the customer journey. After implementing your optimizations, a process of continuous improvement should continue. For long term success, your organization must grow and adapt towards your customer’s optimal experience.

swivl combines human and machine intelligence to deliver proactive and predictive experiences for the customer journey. We help you know when a customer is active, and within what channel. swivl personalizes the customer’s experience to reduce friction and repeat transactions. Our Human-inThe-Loop intelligent assistant can help target recommendations, and keep customers informed with proactive notifications.

Understanding your customer’s journey and their experience with your brand from end-to-end has never been more important than today’s consumer climate. Customers expect more from businesses every day, but most of all they want to be listened to, 24/7. Every customer touchpoint mapped out on your customer journey map provides an opportunity to build the relationship with your customer. A human-in-the-loop intelligent assistant can augment every customer touchpoint by learning from interactions and providing personalized recommendations.

We invite you to meet Hoover, our Intelligent Assistant learn more about swivl, our Human-in-the-Loop AI customer success solution, and how you can put your customer at the center of your decision making process.

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