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I - Thou shalt focus on the journey, not the interaction

Every customer interaction counts. But you should never lose sight of the overall journey. When Moses led the Hebrews into the Sinai, they wandered through the desert for three months. Had he focused on the tired ponderings of his fellow travelers, they would surely not have reached their goal. Instead, Moses kept his mind on the big picture. Just as you should focus on the customer journey, not solely on interactions.

What not to do

The customer experience is defined throughout the entire journey, not just upon embarking. One of the most common mistakes is when a company invests heavily in the customer experience during the pre-sales and sales phases, but fails to do so in the customer service phase. And few things are more frustrating for a customer than to discover they’re not as important after they paid for a product or service.

One example are telecom companies, which are all too often easy to contact during the sales phase. But once you become a paying customer, it suddenly gets much harder to find help insolving issues. This is an excellent way to lose the clients you’ve worked so hard to get on board.

How to focus on the journey

If the example above hits a little too close to home, it may be time to revamp your strategy. But that’s not an easy fix. It’s... well, a journey. Two aspects are essential to taking this commandment to heart.

1. Cultivate a client-focused mindset throughout your company

Employees who deal with clients directly are expected to have a customer-centric mentality. But this mindset actually has to be shared by all colleagues. For instance: customer satisfaction is not the main goal for operations personnel, who are mostly driven by internal objectives. Make sure everyone in your organization –from custodian to CFO – is committed to and held responsible for the customer experience.

2. Make sure the customer’s data is central and available

As a customer interacting with an organization, have you ever had to explain the same issue twice to multiple people? This should never happen. Organizations are responsible for optimizing their data use and distribution so that every bit of customer information is presented to the right employee at the right time. Customer data should be available throughout the journey. Using the right dashboards and reporting tools are a good starting point to achieve this goal.

Customer data central

Who got it right?

Coolblue is a prime example of a company focused on providing the best possible customer experience throughout the entire journey. When getting in touch with the call center, for example, employees are immediately presented with an overview of past interactions with that customer, even those that occurred via different channels.

If significant customer information on the customer is available (a birthday or some customer loyalty landmark, for instance) employees can add a personalized message to the shipment. This is a small but significant gesture that asssures customers that the purchase flow is personalized and adapted throughout.

How do they achieve this level of attention to customer experience? Both examples indicate that Coolblue embodies both the mindset and the data approach to ensure an exemplary customer journey. The company also organizes training sessions for their employees–from pre-sales to post-sales professionals – that highlight and reemphasize the customer-centric DNA of the company.