We spoke to Sarah Giles, TLC’s Business Development and Client Relationship Manager, about why customer journey mapping is her favourite business improvement tool.

What is Customer Experience?

Customer Experience is about every interaction that a customer has with your business. It’s about learning to see your business through your customer’s eyes, and recognising the emotions that your customer feels by creating a customer journey map. When you put your customer shoes on and really walk the journey you will see where there are moments of magic and moments of pain in your current business processes.  Customer Experience goes beyond traditional ‘customer service’, in that it requires you to evaluate how every step or action contributes to a positive or negative experience for different customers.

In today’s highly competitive business world where customers are spoilt for choice, we have to think about how we can make an experience simpler, easier, faster, better. A key question to think about is, how easy do we make it for customers to do business with us?

Why is this your top tool?

The insightful exercise of creating a customer journey map is such a valuable process to develop a comprehensive view of what a customer is experiencing when interacting with people and internal processes. It highlights inefficiencies and gaps and is a systematic framework to improve business results and gain a competitive advantage.  It is also a great way for everyone in your business to have the same shared view of what your customers experience, in turn helping them to understand their role in the process.

What is the customer experience model?

1.       Simple processes aligned to your customer needs

2.       Adaptable systems

3.       Measure customer feedback (results and not tasks)

4.       Empowered people (high emotional intelligence and empathy is needed when dealing with customers)

When would you use this tool?

This visual representation of what your customer experiences is very useful to understand your customers’ thoughts and feelings with an existing process, as well as when designing a new product or service. Every business improvement journey starts with an understanding of your customer needs, and this tool is designed to empower businesses to make value-driven decisions based on the customer experience model.

What are the general steps to take when applying it?

Developing a customer journey map should be a team effort, involving people from different parts of the business to identify the critical customer touch points and translate improvements needed into recommended actions. Use TLC’s template to map the journey, and at each step identify what your customer’s expectations are, current moments of pain, moments of magic and recommended actions. You can use post-it notes and get really creative!  When we become a mystery shopper in our own business, we see things differently and are able to make improvements to meet our customer needs.

What advice would you give to others thinking about using it?

See problems as opportunities. Make customer feedback part of the metrics you measure in your business to really understand the voice of your customer. Apply the Lean philosophy, ‘Go see, ask why and show respect’. Ask many questions, seek to understand and enjoy the process of walking in your customer’s shoes to design the ultimate customer experience. Speak to us to guide you – it’s so easy to fall back into the pattern of looking at your business from the inside, rather from outside in.  We can facilitate the process and ensure your eyes are opened to really ‘see your business like your customers do!’

Remember profit = customer experience!

Click here to find out more about our Customer Experiences courses

About Sarah Giles:

Sarah is TLC’s business development and client relationship manager.  Over the past decade, she has applied the principles and tools of Customer Experience Management, both in direct service to TLC’s clients and more recently as a trainer and coach in Customer Experience.   Sarah’s experience spans clients from small businesses to multinationals, across multiple industry sectors.  She is inspired to ‘see the world’ through the eyes of customers, whether individuals or companies, and brings this insight to drive continuous improvement in TLC’s Customer Experience solutions.