BLOG: by Helen Murray, Chief Customer Solutions Officer, Webhelp UK
Anyone who is involved in managing a customer service function knows that customer journey mapping is an essential part of strategic planning. It is impossible to manage customer demand successfully without a detailed understanding of how customers are contacting you and why.
With this knowledge, resource can be planned so demand can be managed effectively. This type of planning is even more critical in an omnichannel environment because the number of digital touchpoints increases and there may be a considerable amount of channel hopping, or even customers simultaneously using more than one channel.
For example, if a customer is on webchat and the telephone simultaneously then has that just doubled your support requirement or can your system recognise that a single agent could handle this customer?
I’m going to write about how to map the customer journey from the perspective of the business rather than just the customer’s point of view at a later date, but I want to focus initially here on how you can understand the present contacts. How do you measure the present state before making changes?
First, you need good data. You need to measure when and how customers are getting in touch and why so a pivotal data set can be created and used for analysis. It is also possible to incorporate information from speech and textual analytics to capture context in addition to just the time and frequency of contact.
Once you create a detailed record of the present state of customer interactions you can then use this as a base set of data – other data can be applied to this. These other data sets might include such additional information as customer surveys (NPS, resolution, customer satisfaction, customer effort), contact data, including interaction times from all channels, (IVR, voice, web, webchat, digital), sales data and customer demographic/value information.
Any gaps in the data then need to be identified and filled if relevant to the final analysis. This will create a comprehensive and unified database that will feed into an analytical system.
Once this holistic data picture is completed, numerous analytical techniques are deployed with contact profiling being an essential early step. This simplified table, focused on the voice channel, gives a high level idea of some of the contact profiling that may be generated.
This table has a deliberately simplified view: in a live environment the interaction types would be significantly greater in volume, with sub categorisation and the metrics profiled would be more varied, in addition to all these queries being spread over multiple channels.
With this information from the analysis process, it is quickly possible to identify the mix of your customer contact types, establish what your customers were trying to do when they contacted you, and begin to categorise and identify your areas of volume generation.
Whilst contact profiling of this nature is critical to understanding your customer’s interactions with your business, it is only part of the picture. Individual customer contacts do not exist in isolation and should be viewed as individual manifestations of a customer journey through their lifecycle with your business.
It is critical to understand the root causes within a customer’s journey of contacts, allowing focus to be applied to areas generating high volumes of contacts and related re-contacts. In order to do this, customer journey mapping should be undertaken in tandem with activity measured customer effort score analysis.
But after measuring activity, it is then essential to measure customer effort. I’ll talk about this in my next blog about understanding customer contact.