Customer ExperienceCustomer experience journeys focus teams across an organization around the common goal of helping people become successful and happy. Successful and happy people, as we all know, stay as customers, spend more money and may even share the love within their social circles. If that’s the aim, then what can go wrong?

A recent customer experience report by industry analyst Forrester described how customer experience is responsible for loyalty by 55% of bank customers and 46% of retail customers. These figures are enormous – half of customers only stay loyal because of the customer service experience, so getting it right is absolutely vital.

So mapping the customer journey is now essential because the relationship between brand and customer has become more complex. It is no longer just a purchase and then complaint.

Customers are asking for support more than ever, they are engaging in online dialogue, they are even complimenting and recommending your products.

The mapping process is now essential because the number of channels customers can use to interact with a brand has proliferated. Customer service is no longer just a call to the contact centre, it could be a letter or call, but now is more like to be an IM chat, email, or message on a public social network.

If you have not mapped the journey a customer takes from initially finding information to purchase to post-purchase support then how can you design the best possible customer experience?

Now we’ve entered the age, which we call the age of the customer. In this age, past sources of competitive advantage have been commoditized: Now every company can tap into global factories and global supply chains. Brand, manufacturing, distribution, and IT are all table stakes. And with online reviews, social networks, and mobile web access, it’s easy for your customers to know as much about your products, services, competitors, and pricing as you do.

In this age, the only source of competitive advantage is the one that can survive technology-fueled disruption: an obsession with customer experience.

Evidence is that customer experience correlates to loyalty. Specifically, it correlates highly to willingness to consider for another purchase, willingness to recommend, and reluctance to switch to a different provider. So if you want that next sale, if you want good word of mouth, and if you want to keep your customers, it’s unlikely that anything else you do matters more than delivering a superior experience.

Will your business be one of those that profits in this the age of the customer by mastering the business discipline of customer experience?

Ultimately that’s up to you.