ICF OPINION

From Pain Point to Tipping Point Optimizing Your Customer’s Journey

The link between what your customers need and what you offer is no longer a straight line—it’s more like a series of curlicues. Empowered by the Internet and emboldened by social media, consumers are taking increasingly complex and independent journeys from what they want to what you have. Consumers want companies to respect, connect, understand, and educate them, all while offering quality products and services. They want a companion for their journeys—not just a buy button and an eReceipt.

Consumers also no longer discriminate between the companionship they experience with brands like Amazon.com and the engagement they expect from their utility, government agency, or health insurer. Many managers in highly regulated industries struggle to meet new consumer engagement expectations. Consequently, they see low engagement, high abandonment, and costly customer service metrics. Market share and profitability soon suffer. The few bold market leaders ahead of the curve are taking a different approach. They are learning to analyze, transform, and improve their customer’s journey.

Accurately identifying and mapping key interactions, pain points, and moments of truth is critical to understanding the quality of your customer’s journey.

Connecting to a customer’s journey may start with a chief marketing officer or sales executive. These customer champions look to journey mapping as a way to drive change and become more customer centric. Other champions have more tactical needs. They try to understand the best way to squeeze more value out of their marketing dollars or come to grips with how digital and social media have affected their marketing mix.

Done well, transformation of a customer’s end-to-end journey can extend across an entire organization. Journey mapping may boost customer experience and engagement, and it can reduce costs and streamline operations. Accurately identifying and mapping key interactions, pain points, and moments of truth is critical to understanding the quality of your customer’s journey. Effectively implementing solutions that address pain points and improve satisfaction can be especially challenging. But when customers are satisfied, companies are rewarded. Earn happy customers by successfully moving ideas for journey transformation from the whiteboard, through the boardroom, and into their day-to-day lives. Staying on top of and adapting to customer preferences and needs over time creates satisfaction and engagement that lead to better outcomes for your business.

Companies can optimize their customer’s journey by taking the following steps:

Optimizing Your Customer's Journey Chart

An improved customer experience is not a once-and-done activity. It requires realistic goal setting, ongoing tracking and monitoring of metrics, and minor program tweaking to ensure that goals are met and your customer’s needs are addressed. After you begin transforming each end-to-end customer’s journey by enacting the steps above, keep the momentum going. Enlist “customer champions,” educate and socialize your entire staff, form action teams, set realistic goals, gain leadership buy-in, and establish a customer-oriented committee. Companies that take consumerism to heart and make strides to transform end-to-end journeys can achieve empowered, engaged customers and, ultimately, better business outcomes.

Point of Contact

Mary Carter | Vice President | mary.carter@icfi.com | +1.312.291.6237

Mary CarterMary Carter has more than 12 years of experience providing strategy, marketing, and communications solutions to companies in various industries, including health insurance, financial services, and consumer packaged goods. She works with a portfolio of U.S. national and regional health insurance carriers and healthcare associations with an emphasis on healthcare reform and consumer engagement marketing strategy.

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