While both design and technical teams tend focus on making sure that your digital touch points have great UX (user experience), business teams want to additionally make sure that the CX (customer experience) results in new and recurring profitable business.
So what’s the difference between UX and CX?
Very simply put UX defines how the customer interacts with your site/app when they use its functionality for its intended purpose. CX defines how the customer engages with your company through your site for business/commercial purposes – such as buying, delivery tracking and support.
Why is this distinction important?
Because you risk losing customers and opportunities if you don’t offer a great Customer Experience.
In the business world users and customers are often different people. It can also be true in a consumer world when someone is engaging with your business on behalf of another – such as parents for children or spouses and partners sharing a product or service. While you may have a great UX, if you aren’t pleasing the people who are actually paying the bill then you have a potential risk of losing the customer.
Even if they aren’t different people, if it’s too hard or messy for the customer to engage with you as a business through your site/app then you risk losing customers.
So how do we look at this?
One tool is to define a Customer Experience Map. Experience Mapping – whether on behave of the user or customer – is a relatively new concept . So there aren’t a lot of automated tools out there to do this. What you do find is that this is often offered as a consulting service or done as an occasional exercise by internal teams.
In many ways this is storyboarding your customer’s experience on your site. As someone with project management experience, it has always amazed me that the movie industry will successfully storyboard a multimillion dollar production project. And do it manually. Storyboarding is a very effective way to map out a journey, process or plan.
Regardless of the tools or methods that you use to achieve this recording of your customer‘s story, here are some key points to keep in mind:
What will you do with the information?
When building a customer experience map you should be open to actually outcome – the map – taking its own shape. Though it helps to have a purpose or reason as to why you are doing this task and what you will do with the information once you achieve it. Are you trying to fix a customer engagement issue and this map will be information that will highlight when and why these issues arise? Or are you trying to find out what is working for successful process you want to emulate elsewhere in the business? Is the information going to be provided to the executive team or functional managers? Deciding some of these questions up front may guide your approach to the exercise.
Define segments or a user persona upfront.
Different types of customers will engage with you differently. Rather than try to come up with an all singing all dancing story that fits everyone, limit your focus to a particular customer segment or persona. Choose them for a reason. It may be a segment where you know you can achieve higher sales, or a segment that has high costs to service.
Define parameters around the experience
In truth your customer’s journey may be endless – and extend out both ends to areas that are outside of your influence or control.
Let’s take an example of a customer choosing to download a personalized APP you provide to customers of your store or service.
The journey to download is not simply the funnel that they visit the iTunes App Store and download it. The journey may have included reading a review on 3rd party sites, becoming a registered customer, viewing your website a few times on different devices and finally clicking a link on your page that takes them to the APP store to make that download.
You might want to set parameters that your map will focus on the visits on your website on any type of device. So you map that customer’s journey through repeated visits and then the exit point to the APP Store. You don’t map the visits to 3rd party sites or the experience on the APP Store itself.
Decide where you will get your information
There are several ways that you can build a map; the point is to decide on your method. It may be that you select a focus group and observe them physically. It may be done through interviews of existing customers. It may be that you use some analytics tools to observe customer onsite visits. Or possibly even a combination of activities. You may need to decide what is doable with the time, resources and tools available.
Decide how you want to present the information
How will this report be presented to your audience? Is it a presentation, an infographic, or a detailed report?
Customer experience mapping helps define business processes from the outside –in. An inside-out approach would be to define your business processes and then create your site/app around these. Though this may be necessary as a baseline for a new offering, the customer experience map is built up when customers use the site/app. Then in a continuous improvement approach you can refine your view through actual customer use of your site, and make changes. In truth your business process should actually be agile and change with this feedback from your customers.