ALL ABOARD! The Customer Journey.

Today you’ll be hearing from a guest blogger who I had the pleasure of introducing a few months ago. John Quaglietta has extensive hands-on learning and teaching in the realm of Customer Experience Management (CEM). He has over 20 years of experience as an accomplished leader, customer service & contact center consultant, and as a customer experience visionary. He has worked with the world’s largest organizations in solving some of the most challenging and thought provoking business challenges around customer centricity, and the effect customer and employee engaged organizations have on both top and bottom line financial success.

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ALL ABOARD! The Customer Journey

In my last blog post, we talked about the importance of the contact center in delivering on the promise of the customer experience. The contact center has significant opportunities to elevate its role in the business by tying what it does to organizational customer experience objectives such as retention, acquisition and ultimately lifetime value. The contact center plays a considerable role in the customer journey, from a time a customer researches, selects and buys a product or service, to when a customer receives it and begins using it and requesting support.

Today, I am expanding on this line of thought to look at it through the lens of the ownership phase of the customer lifecycle, and more specifically, the customer on-boarding process. The customer on-boarding process can be best defined as the period of time at the beginning of the ownership phase of the customer journey, where a customer receives the product/service it has purchased and begins to use it. It is the process of acclimating the consumer with the organization, the organization with the consumer, and the consumer with the product/service it has acquired. The on-boarding process is different for every organization, product and customer. Generally speaking, and based on experience, I have seen it typically referred to as “the first 90-120 days of the ownership cycle”.

The customer on-boarding process is a critical step in the customer journey because it begins the process of solidifying the emotional bond that takes place between a customer and organization, which if done properly, positively impacts retention, referrals and ultimately customer lifetime value (CLV). Some firms estimate that 10-20% of newly acquired customers defect within the first 12 months of being a customer. That fact alone should be reason enough to put extra emphasis and focus on the first 90-120 days of ownership.

During this acclimation process, consumers tend to have a wide range of inquiries. “How do I use this?”, “When do I receive my first bill?”, “Can I pay online?”, “How do I return what I bought?”, as well as many others. We can anticipate these inquiries because virtually every customer asks similar things. And, being a contact center, we already do a good bit of tracking of request by type and frequency because this is how we staff and plan appropriately.

With all this data at our fingertips, and armed to anticipate and address customer inquiries, the interactions that take place during the on-boarding process are still in large part consumer initiated. If our focus is to create a better on-boarding process for the customer for the reasons mentioned above, the contact center is in a unique position to do this, and to help cement the emotional bond critical to insuring customer longevity.

What are you doing to ensure that your customers are comfortable? Are you proactively answering many of the questions they may have? Do they know where to go for help? These are just some basic questions you can ask yourself to get this conversation going. For a few very simple tips, tune in next week!