I believe that one of the most important questions in 2018 for any marketer is – Who owns the customer journey? There are several dimensions to this question. First, this question needs to be asked. In many companies, it is not yet top of mind. Second, a definitive answer needs to be created. The customer is in control of their relationship with you and if you don’t or won’t work to engage and create an optimal customer experience, with one click, your client will find a vendor who will. Finally, the customer journey needs to be proactively managed as a whole, not as a series of disconnected pieces.
On May 21, 2018, we hosted a webinar asking this exact question. We began the 30-minute session by asking our participants – who owned the customer journey in their company? As you can see by the poll results below, the function that owns the customer journey breaks down as follows:
- 48% by marketing
- 22% by sales
- 21% by other
- 9% by services
The “other” category captured the idea that the customer journey is owned by every customer-facing employee as part of a whole.
In today’s technology infused world, customer experience is widely believed to be the next competitive battleground for both B2B and B2C companies. The business value is indisputable. By 2018 Gartner predicts that more than 50% of organizations will redirect investments to customer experience innovations. Further, other sources report that by 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the brand differentiator. And the business results speak for themselves. In a recent study by Genesys, three prevailing proof points for investing in CX included:
- A 42% improvement in customer retention
- A 33% improvement in customer satisfaction
- A 32% increase in upselling and cross-selling
Ask yourself, what would even a 1% improvement in any of these stats do for your company?
At the center of this question is the idea that every organization needs to get that one view of the customer journey and then respond appropriately to optimize every customer touch point. At TPG, we represent this customer journey with a model that we call TPG One:
We prefer the infinity loop because it represents the life-time customer journey as an on-going and inter-connected set of interactions that can then cascade down into distinct roles, responsibilities, outcomes and technologies required to support an amazing customer experience.
Pivoting away from a product focus to a customer-centric model is hard to do, yet, it is clearly a strategic imperative in our current business environment. Here are four steps to get started.
1. Know your stuff
Conduct research and become the expert on the value of customer centricity. Review the gazillion metrics and other information that have been published on the value of customer engagement and build a business case for this important initiative.
2. Let the client speak
Interview clients and potential clients on what they would like to experience on their customer journey from a company like yours. Talk to as many customers as possible to make sure you understand and use their perspective to the journey.
3. Know that customer journey mapping is a team sport
Build alliances across functions to construct a holistic journey map. Connect with key stakeholders needed to help map a holistic customer journey. Share research and suggest easy next steps for the initiative.
Create a Customer Community of Practice. This means assembling a group comprised of all customer-facing functions in your organization. Journey Mapping is a team sport.
4. Select a leader
After working to build the business case, listen to the customer and gain cross-functional buy-in, appoint a leader. This person will be responsible for the customer journey and will work with people, functions, process, data and systems to create an optimal customer experience across all customer touch-points in your firm.
Watch the webinar recording to hear how you can become a more customer centric organization!