Customer-centric is the new trend in corporate structure. And for good reason. Customer conversion is the backbone of sales and therefore the survival of a business.
This is where customer lifecycle mapping comes in. Knowing where your customers will first touch base with your company and then how to lead them into a sale is the journey to that conversion. To make this happen, all departments must be on the same page, reaching for the same overall goal. Sure, each silo will have its own micro-goals, but overall the silos should be heading in the same macro-direction.
But how do we do that in a post-pandemic era, where everything is digital and our employees are remote? How can you promote cross-silo activity in a digital environment?
It’s tough. But the way you make this leap is through comprehensive customer journey mapping and transforming your company to be customer-centric.
In our experience, adequately addressing this challenge requires a dedicated effort on three levels.
- First, a customer-centric leadership structure must ultimately report to the chief executive. It should be designed to stimulate cross-silo activity and collaboration.
- Second, leaders must commit toserving as role models to deliver customer-experience goals to frontline workers. They must refine and reinforce those goals over the long term.
- Finally, having the correct metrics and incentives is critical for aligning typically siloed units into effective cross-functional teams.
Executive Oversight for Cross-Silo Activity
Customer satisfaction is a top priority, now more than ever. Navigating this ever-changing political and social climate requires executive level influence on customer experience teams. No longer can the responsibility of customer service be siloed within one division. In a customer-centric organization, every division is responsible for their part in the customer experience. With that level of integration, it is essential for the chief executive to be involved directly and leading the customer-experience initiatives.
Let’s imagine a company who’s customer journey mapping included the following silos: marketing, sales, operations, and technical support. The marketing team is responsible for creating the leads. The sales team is responsible for making the sale. The operations team is responsible for keeping things running. The technical support team is responsible for following up on any issues. Nothing new there.
But let’s talk about the role each of these teams plays in the buyer’s journey. The marketing and sales teams are pretty easy to relate to conversion. Marketing draws them in, sales seals the conversion. But what about the other two silos: operations and technical support? They are still part of the buyer’s journey and are surely essential when talking about customer journey mapping.
The operations team keeps things running smoothly so that the customer rarely experiences an issue. This leaves them with a positive experience of the product or service. A positive view leads them to stick around and also recommend this company to others in their network (free lead generation!).
The technical support team also serves an essential role in the customer experience. They are the ones who provide solutions when the customer has a question, encounters an issue, or needs a service/product beyond what they're currently paying for. This is an opportune time for the company to provide technical sales or consulting to the client. That’s a lead generated from an already existing customer.
Now, in a typical organizational structure, each of these silos would report to a different executive. The strategies employed by each silo would be separate. It would be decided by a Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) or President for the sales and marketing silos, by a Chief Operating Officer (COO) for the operations silo, and a Chief Information Officer (CIO) or Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for the technical support silo.
In a customer-centered organization, that just doesn’t work. Customer lifecycle mapping requires someone ready to look at the lifecycle of the customer. In other words, someone must understand and make decisions for the full scope of the customer experience. From the first time the marketing team is able to get an ad in front of them, to the time when they are asking for help from technical support.
This level of decision making requires direct involvement of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). With a customer-centered organization, customer journey mapping needs to come from the top with a cross-silo strategy.
Modeling and Reinforcing Customer-Centered Goals
customers, and collaborate across silos. Within a customer-centered organization, with the CEO leading the charge, leadership must be ready to exemplify the behaviors they want to see in employees. Creating a positive customer experience takes the whole team working as a well-oiled machine.
Frontline workers, in the trenches, can easily lose sight of the company's goals and initiatives if not reinforced regularly. They are preoccupied with providing assistance or services in a timely, cost-effective, and efficient manner. And these are all essential pieces of the customer journey. However, leadership has a bird’s eye view of the customer lifecycle and can provide the scaffolding needed for frontline workers to keep customer-experience goals in the forefront.
This could be as simple as addressing customer questions or concerns in a timely manner. A leader who is not willing to put aside some of their own duties or spend their own time for customer needs, demonstrates to employees that they don’t need to either.
On the other hand, if an employee asks their superior for help on a customer issue, the superior could put aside some of their other duties in order to address the issue promptly. The customer lifecycle includes not only the things the customer sees or the words they hear, but also the time in which it takes for their needs to be met. Having a leader who is willing to be inconvenienced for a customer’s need demonstrates to the employee what customer-centric is all about and how important the customer experience really is to the company.
Each goal your company sets for improving the buyer’s journey needs to start with modeling and reinforcement by leadership, in order to keep a consistent message and strategy. This might mean providing training, workshops, or coaching for leaders as they implement new strategies.
Metrics and Incentives
As part of the customer life cycle management process, metrics and incentives must be established. These are the driving forces behind adapting and improving your customer journey mapping.
Metrics ensure that goals are being met. Why set a goal if you don’t plan to meet it? The metrics you choose will depend on what you know about your customers, what strategies have worked in the past, and your company goals.
Not sure where to start? According to Forbes, these are the best metrics to use for customer experience initiatives:
- Net Promoter Score
- Customer Loyalty
- Customer Engagement
- Customer Retention
- Employee Satisfaction
- Customer Effort Score
- Customer Acquisition
- Customer Lifetime Value
- Customer Satisfaction
- Churn Rate
- Average Time Resolution
- First Contact Resolution
- Visitor Intent
- Task Completion
- Stock Price
- Contact Volume By Channel
- Social Listening
- Referral Rate
- Cart Abandonment Rate
In a past article, we went over how to streamline your marketing. The number one way was to make sure you keep your strategies focused on customer relationship management (CRM). This means keeping track of metrics like customer engagement, customer loyalty, and customer lifetime value. These metrics will help direct you customer lifecycle mapping to focus not only on making that one sale, but also keeping your company in the attention of current customers.
This is especially essential when your product or service is something that does not need to be purchased often. In the world of information technology, for example, a customer may purchase a digital service and then let that service do what it was made to do. As long as nothing goes wrong, the customer doesn’t have to think about the software, for the most part. That’s a good thing for the customer. It keeps them satisfied, because using your service is hassle-free. Sounds great, right?
But then think about that same customer trying to give a recommendation for that type of digital service...and they can’t remember your company’s name. They also don’t think about purchasing other services from you in the future, because honestly they forgot you existed. They never interacted with you after the sale, so they don’t know who to recommend or who to purchase from. This is why customer engagement and loyalty are such important measures. But how do you improve these metrics when the digital service is quietly doing it’s job?
This is where we return to customer lifecycle mapping and look at what other options we might have for increasing engagement and loyalty. The customer lifecycle shouldn’t end when the customer makes their purchase.
Incentives give clients a reason to keep interacting with your company. This interaction not only keeps your company in the minds of potential customers, but also provides you with the metrics to understand what customers like and dislike, respond to or not. Incentives drive action, and action is measurable. Without the customer or potential customer taking an action - which could be as simple as clicking a link in an email to visit your website - a company has virtually no way of knowing if the techniques used along the buyer’s journey were effective or not.
An incentive for a customer might be reading an article to learn more about a topic they are interested in, sharing your post on social media to enter a sweepstakes, a referral program with rewards or discounts, and many more. No matter what the incentive, you need to find something important to your customers that keeps them reading and interacting with your social media posts, webpages, emails, etc.
This might sound like a lot to keep up with. It is. There are many options for services that will help your business automate customer relationship management. Salesforce is one such platform. They have a wide variety of metrics available, but Salesforce recommends you use the following 12 metrics to get the most out of your customer relationship management tools:
- Leads by source
Where did the customer come from?
- Open activities
What do I need to do next?
- Open cases
Which customer should I engage with next? Which cases require the most immediate attention?
- Open opportunities
When is it time to grow my pipeline?
- Opportunities past due
What opportunities am I missing? Where do I need some help to make sure we don’t miss opportunities?
- Closed opportunities
How much revenue have I already generated? How close am I to my goals?
- Sales cycle
How long, on average, does it take us to seal the deal? Are we getting better?
What stage is the customer at in their journey? Is it time to close this deal?
- Sales by closed date
How long do customers typically take to convert? What trends can we see?
- New business and upsell ratio
Are we selling enough to existing customers? How often are we upselling?
- Win/loss rate
How often are we pitching and hitting that home run? How often are we pitching foul balls? What are we doing to improve this ratio?
- Product gaps
What research needs to be done on our products? Are we delivering what we promise?
We have included below each metric some questions that they might prompt or answer for your company, to show you how these metrics can drive customer lifecycle mapping.
Overall, mapping the customer lifecycle without fully understanding the customer experience is a waste of time. Metrics are the main way you can understand their experience, at least the aspects that are essential to the success of your company.
In order to become a customer-centered organization, an organization must:
- have executive leadership that promotes cross-silo activities related to the customer experience;
- have leaders committed to modeling behaviors that deliver customer-experience goals to frontline workers;
- and have the correct metrics and incentives for optimizing the customer lifecycle.
At Cetrix Cloud Services, we are here to help you develop a plan for integrating and automating a positive customer experience. For more information, visit our Why Cetrix? page or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you!