What do you know about your Customer Experience?

So you want to grow your business in 2009? This is the first in a sometimes-series at Maximum Customer Experience called Building Your Business. Glad to have you along!

You’re committed to creating a better Customer Experience, because you know that your customers will be more loyal, buy more from you, and spread fantastic word-of-mouth about your company if their Experience with your company makes you one in a million.

Where do you start?

Start with a map

When you want to get to a new destination, you take out a map that shows where you are now, and where you want to get to. You plot out the route, and you start driving.

(I know, I know, you use MapQuest and it does all the messy work for you. Humor me!)

What was that first step? Take out a map. It has to show you where you are now, or there’s no hope of getting where you want to go.

When I work with your company, the first thing I want to do is to create a map of your current Experience. We call this an Interactive Experience map, but hey, you can call it Fred if you like. That’s just our fancy term for “mapping out all the interactions your company has with your customers and potential customers.”

To go where your VisionPoints with great Experience Design, you need to know where you are now.

What goes on your map

For your map, you’re going to write down everything that can happen between you and your customer, start to finish. Depending on your business, this may include:

Pre-Sale (aka Prospecting or Lead gathering)

Advertising/ marketing methods

Telephone, web, in-person service

Sales calls, presentations, follow-up

Sale

Point-of-sale interactions (Cashier or waitstaff, for instance)

Order processing

Delivery (of product or service)

Post-sale

Thank-yous

Follow-up (Gauging/ ensuring customer satisfaction)

Re-sales, cross-sells, up-sells (Encouraging repeat business)

Ways of encouraging referrals/ word-of-mouth

Thanks, Kelly, all done!

No, no. My list tells you what will go on your map. Now you’ll need to write down, specifically, what your company does in each of these areas. What do you do to generate leads? Who handles your telephones or your email? How do you handle presentations, and what kind of follow-up do you do?

All down the list, until you know, start to finish, every interaction an interested party may have with you, from when she’s a lead in your “pipeline” until she’s a joyous Propheteer, spreading the word about you.

You’ll be surprised at how many opportunities to improve your Customer Experience you’ll see through the simple act of creating this map. You may find you’re skipping steps, you may find you’re operating in ways that don’t further your Vision. You’ll discover your strengths, too.

Map the entire Experience: Pre-sale, Sale, Post-sale.

Now you’re ready to drive forward at Maximum speed in 2009.

(And hey, if you’d rather hire VisionPoints and let us do the messy work for you… well, email me!)

Let’s look at it from the customer point of view—when you’re buying, where do you see companies hitting (or missing) the mark? How can you relate that to the map of your own company’s Customer Experience?

 

Grow and be well,

Kelly Erickson