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V - Thou shalt be customer-centric front to end

Optimizing your cx means not only understanding customers’ needs, but also acting on them. And to do that, you need to think customer-centric. Easier said than done, right? Thinking customer-centric means putting the customer first, front-to-end. The good news: there’s a blueprint for that.

Build your roadmap with the customer in mind

All too often, a technological roadmap is designed inside-out, starting with the business needs. Concretely, the possible investments and timing of technological innovations is defined by the business, without keeping the customer in mind. The front of a company – the part customers interact with – is often organised with the customer in mind. But the back – what happens behind the scenes – is not. The problem with this approach is that your different business processes are not aligned, which will prove problematic down the road. So from the very start, you need to identify your audience, analyse their needs and build a roadmap that answers those needs.

Aligning customer processes front to end

Designing your technological roadmap with the customer at the centre, means everyone in your organisation – from IT to the data department and every customer-facing employee – needs to be aligned around the customer journey. In other words: your internal processes need to be optimized to enable the desired customer interaction in every phase of the journey. For example, your stock management needs to be top-notch to ensure next-day delivery.

The service blueprint

Sounds abstract? Luckily, there’s a method to make this tangible: the service blueprint method. This is a technique that stems from the design world to help visualize every customer interaction that might influence the customer experience. The chart will help you map your processes front to end.

A service blueprint typically consists of these actions:

Customer actions: every step of the customer journey

Front-stage: every face-to-face interaction between your company and the customer

Back-stage: every non-visible interaction with a customer (a telephone call or e-mail)

Support processes: actions by employees who are not in contact with the customer, but have a direct impact on the customer (for instance packaging a delivery or processing an order)

Physical evidence: every element that can influence your customer’s perception, such as branding.

Add value for customers

Once you’ve mapped every process and action that can influence the customer journey, you can define your technological roadmap to create the best possible customer experience. You can then determine where and how you can add value to every customer interaction.

This is not an approach that is limited to large companies with complex customer journeys. Every company has clients, so every company has a customer journey. No matter how small the company or how brief the customer interaction, putting the customer first will greatly improve the customer experience.

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