The best way to think about the customer experience is as a story. This is how your customer experiences it. The story starts with their first contact with your brand, whether directly or indirectly. The plot thickens as they learn about your products or services and begin interacting with you.
The plot takes a major turn when the customer decides to buy something from you, and the story continues as the customer's relationship with your business moves forward to future purchases.
Think of the Customer Experience as a Story
When we're evaluating the efficacy of our methods, we tend to look at data. This data can come to us in the form of statistics like sales data or web analytics, or from customers themselves in the form of survey results. But this data can't fully convey the customer experience as the customer lives it.
This data isn't useful because it doesn't convey the totality of the customer experience, and that's exactly what it is – a totality. Rather, this data gives you only the specific data it can, such as how much web traffic you're getting or whether or not your customers think your response time is fast enough. If you're lucky, you'll get a few sentences of feedback, but even this isn't enough.
The customer experiences their journey with your company as a story. Like a novel or movie, each scene plays a part in the overall story. In order to understand what's working well or what's going wrong with your customer experience, you need to know this entire story and how all of the small parts fit into it.
Know Your Customer's Story
The best way to learn your customer's story with your brand is to put yourself in your customer's shoes and write out this story. We do this through mapping the customer experience. A customer experience map starts with the first contact you have with your customer and works its way through all of the story's "scenes," which are the individual touch points you have with the customer.
A customer experience map is something like an infographic which shows the entire story. You can take in the big picture at a glance, but it also shows you all of the relationships between the different parts. You can more easily see where problems might occur and areas where you can make improvements in order to maximize the experience.
There are many different ways to approach mapping the customer experience, but it should always be in story form. You should understand your company's customer experience through the customer's eyes.
About The Author
Pat Simes is a Business Strategist, blogger and Founder of Innovative Business Solutions and Innovate Academy. She currently resides in the Midwest and is committed to inspiring and empowering entrepreneurs to transform their vision to reality.