Turning complaints into compliments
In the words of Charles Dickens, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” While this sentiment was initially intended to express revolutionary-era Europe, it feels fitting for today’s competitive market. In fact, even if you live with your customers and understand their daily skincare routine, you’re still bound to have the “worst of times”, sometimes.
Customer complaints are a fact of life. But while they’re annoying, they’re also a valuable source of information. Think about it: if you understand what they’re complaining about, you’ll know how to improve the customer experience (CX).
So how can you understand and reduce customer complaints?
Mapping the road less travelled
According to Gartner, 82% of organisations have a customer journey map, but only 47% use it effectively.
In the grand scheme of CX, journey mapping is like the GPS that traces your customers’ route, from their first interaction with your brand to the ultimate purchase (and hopefully beyond). But it’s not all rainbows and butterflies; it also shines a light on the darker corners where customers stumble and fall (AKA, pain points).
You may think you know your customers after all the focus groups, surveys, and feedback. Surprise! You’re not quite done yet. Without journey mapping, you’re reading the book of your customers’ experiences – but without a plot. It’s like watching a movie with non-sequential and confusing scenes (hey, Quentin Tarantino?).
A customer journey map is a visual representation that captures your customers’ experiences in a structured way – providing valuable insights into their needs, emotions, motivations, and the barriers they encounter.
You may find that the villain isn’t the competitor or the market shift but a convoluted purchasing process or a lack of post-sale support. (Just spit-balling here.)
A journey map typically consists of:
- A customer persona: A fictional character that represents a segment of your target audience (demographic, psychographic, and behavioural characteristics, etc.)
- Phases: The general stages of the customer journey (awareness, consideration, purchase, retention, and advocacy)
- Touchpoints: The specific contact points between the customer and your brand (social media, email, phone call, store visit, website visit, etc.)
- Actions: The customer’s actions at each touchpoint (browsing, clicking, subscribing, buying, etc.)
- Emotions: What your customers feel at each touchpoint (happy, frustrated, confused, etc.)
- Pain points: Problems or challenges the customer faces at each touchpoint (slow loading time, unclear information, poor service quality, etc.)
Why go through the mission? Because you don’t need a Harvard Business Review study to know that customers with positive experiences are more likely to repeat purchases, refer others, and stay loyal.
Your battle strategy: A customer management framework (CMF)
So you’ve identified the pain points – whoop-de-doo. You’re not quite there yet.
CMF methodology strategically aligns your business strategies, processes, and resources to improve client satisfaction and loyalty.
Imagine a group of musicians playing different instruments with varying styles and tempo. Without a conductor, they’d end up sounding like a preschool concert. A CMF is that conductor, ensuring that all parts of your business play coherently.
Why do it? Because it:
- Defines customer segments and value propositions
- Establishes customer goals and metrics
- Designs customer processes and policies
- Deploys customer resources and capabilities
- Monitors customer performance and feedback
- Improves customer outcomes and relationships
Like an orchestra, a CMF consists of several instruments:
- Customer strategy: The vision, mission, values, objectives, and business positioning from the customer’s perspective
- Customer segmentation: The process of dividing your customers into groups based on their needs, preferences, behaviours, and profitability
- Customer value proposition (CVP): The statement summarising the benefits you offer each customer segment and how you differentiate yourself from the competition
- Customer metrics: The indicators measuring the effectiveness of your customer management activities and the impact on your business outcome
- Customer processes: The rules and guidelines governing your customer interactions and expectations
- Customer resources: The people, technology, data, and assets enabling you to execute your customer processes
- Customer feedback: Information you collect from your customers through various platforms and methods to evaluate their satisfaction and loyalty
An unbeatable duo
Journey mapping and customer management are like Batman and Robin, Holmes and Watson, mac and cheese… Better together.
Journey mapping helps you to:
- Identify pain points
- Understand customer emotions
- Visualise the end-to-end CX from the outside-in
Customer management helps you to:
- Address pain points
- Enhance customer loyalty and behaviour
- Optimise CX from the inside-out
Get it? Customer management is the action to journey mapping’s theory.
Dealing with customer complaints and loss is more about putting yourself in customers’ shoes than anything else. When you understand their journey, you’re not just putting out fires but preventing them from starting in the first place.
Not having the best of times? Give InteractRDT a call to help you create a journey map and CMF.
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