Get in touch with your customer

Get in touch with your customer

At WTM last week, I was running my Genesys Sessions seminar programme on the Tuesday.  I had three speakers in each session covering the subjects of mobile, search engines, big data and social media.  (You can download some of the presentations and view links to videos here.)

Even though these are quite disparate subjects, a common theme kept emerging.  This was the need to understand your business’s touchpoints with your customers.

We are all familiar with the fact that customers are now interacting with us over many different devices.  In the early morning bus queue they might be researching their next holidays on their mobile devices.  This research might continue on the company PC during the lunch break or, if you have a retail presence, customers might call into your store.  In the evening, customer might be interacting with your business using a tablet or a laptop.

As I have written before, we need an omni-channel approach to our customers.  However, they are touching our businesses, they need to know that these interactions are cohesive and fluent.  Pricing and information offered need to be consistent across all channels.  The flipside is that we need to have a single view of our customers, recognising them regardless of the devices they are using.

So what can you do to ensure you are meeting your customers’ expectations at every point in your relationship?  A popular way to address this question is to create a customer journey map (CJM).  This aims to map out the total customer experience across all touchpoints between the customer and the organisation, starting with initial contact, through purchasing, in-trip & post-trip, and hopefully onto renewal & re-purchase. The CJM maps the experience that:

  • you want to provide to the customer.
  • the customer would like to receive.

Examining these ‘moments of truth’ will identify gaps between the experience the customer desires and the one actually received.  It is these moments of truth that give the customer an opportunity to form (or change) his/her impression about your business.

How do you go about customer journey mapping?  If you type ‘customer journey mapping’ into Google Images you will see that there are many, many different types of map you could use.  Have a look at some of them and decide which might be useful to you.  You will need to list out all the elements of the customer journey and the different ways in which customers could be interacting with you at that point, whether it is face to face, telephone, tablet and so on.  You might end up building a CJM like the one illustrated above.

As mentioned, the objective is to identify the gaps between what your customers are expecting and what is actually happening.  How do you do this?  Well, how about talking to your customers, perhaps inviting them to a get together or speaking with them on the telephone.  This will take a good deal of time and energy but the reward is a more effective business with higher customer loyalty.  That’s got to be worth the effort, hasn’t it?

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Paul Richer is Senior Partner of Genesys, a management consultancy specialising in providing advice on technology for the travel, tourism and hospitality industries. Genesys has built a worldwide reputation for its knowledge and experience of new system procurement, online technology and strategies including website audits and online booking systems, reviewing and formulating companies’ IT strategies and more. Clients include many of the best known names in travel. Paul has co-authored several reports examining the impact of technology on the distribution of travel, including “Distribution Technology in the Travel Industry” originally published by Financial Times Retail and “Marketing Destinations Online – Strategies for the Information Age” published by the World Tourism Organisation. He has presented at and chaired many online travel conferences, is regularly quoted in the press and has also been invited to make several appearances on television to debate the subject. Prior to founding Genesys in 1994, Paul was Business Development Director of Finite Group plc and Head of the Group’s IT strategy consultancy. He holds an MBA from Cranfield School of Management, is a Fellow of the Institute of Travel & Tourism and Member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing. More information at http://www.genesys.net/

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