When most of us hear business processes, we tend to focus on internal operational processes that help our companies work more efficiently. But it’s important to remember the business processes that guide the customer experience are critical to our success. It’s way past time to focus on customer-facing processes to ensure customers are getting the best from the company across all delivery channels.
Business process management has typically been an area of focus for operations. Its purpose is to maximize the efficiency of how work gets done and improve bottom line results. The customer never seems to become part of the discussion because many times sales, marketing, customer delivery, and customer service just aren’t part of the conversation.
If that’s the case in your company, it’s likely you have a customer experience gap.
This may be manifesting itself in lower sales, higher customer service interactions, or you may not even be aware of how it’s impacting the company.
The good news is that it’s fixable. Spending time focusing on the customer experience and integrating it into your business processes will yield positive results for your company.
Where do you start?
There are two key steps you’ll need to take to ensure the customer is considered in your business processes.
- Define Customer Persona(s)
- Document the Customer Journey
Step 1 – Define Customer Persona(s)
A customer persona, also known as a customer avatar, is a fictional representation of your ideal customer. The absolute best way to create a clear definition of your customer persona is to interview your ideal customer. A good starting point is to analyze your existing customer database for key trends like industry, title, gender, etc. Talk to as many people as possible until you have a clear idea about who this person is. It’s also a good idea to define who this person isn’t – sometimes called a negative persona. The key here is to make sure you know the “human” behind the customer persona.
Step 2 – Define the Customer Journey
A customer journey map is the process a customer goes through as they interact with your company, making sure that all of the customer touchpoints are defined. It’s important to consider your customer persona as you are creating journey maps. Just documenting the logical steps from start to finish won’t help you understand what’s important. You need to make sure you define how customers feel as they move along the path to a successful outcome; to understand what might confuse them, where they could get stuck, and reasons they might leave the process.
Once the customer journey is documented, the next step is to marry up your current operational processes with the map you created. It may be necessary to create several maps or break a large end-to-end map into segments depending on what the customer is doing, where in the process they are and on what type of device they are performing the activity. It will be easier for you to do if the maps are broken up into logical steps such as initial customer research where the customer becomes a lead, when the customer actually purchases your product or service, and when they request customer support.