Ultimately, it helps you do two critical things: a) identify the most critical touchpoints where you should conduct bottom-up surveys so you can learn how to continuously improve and b) figure out which investments in the customer experience will provide the greatest returns.
1. Define and map customer interactions
Interactions are one- or two-way actions between a company and its customers (e.g., a customer receives a letter to sign up for a credit card, logs in to pay a bill or calls with a problem).
Create a map that shows all customer interactions, whether driven by the customer (put these on top) or by your company (put these on the bottom). As best you can, group individual interactions into complete end-to-end experiences as your customers would define them.
2. Collect or use existing data about those interactions
You’ll need to gather data on several dimensions of each interaction.
- Frequency of interaction. How often do your (target) customers experience this?
- Today’s quality of interaction. What percent of the time do you create promoters with this interaction? How often do you create detractors with it?
- Competitive performance. How does your interaction quality compare with what your competitors offer? Is there a positive or negative gap?
Before you begin collecting this data, you’ll want to consider whether to base your decisions on how well you do for all your customers, or focus primarily on performance for your target customers—often the most profitable or highest profit potential customers.
One way to develop an understanding of the impact that different interactions have on your customers’ overall loyalty is to review Net Promoter feedback. After asking customers how likely they are to recommend your product or services, follow up by asking why they provided the score they did. Categorize promoter, passive and detractor responses related to different interactions to identify the biggest causes for loyalty and antagonism.
With this data in-hand, you can create a delight vs. anger matrix to help you visualize the relative impact of different experiences on your customers.
- Rate each interaction on its potential to create promoters, when it goes right, versus its potential to create detractors, when it goes wrong. Plot each one on the chart.
- Note the frequency of interaction and the competitive gaps for each interaction
3. Identify priority interactions
Combine your interaction map, delight vs. anger matrix and some added business judgment to identify which interactions should be top priority targets for improving the customer experience.
Take the following considerations into account as you decide which interactions to prioritize or sequence first:
- Should your initial emphasis be on rooting out problems, or on differentiating your company from its competitors?
- How much should you focus on reducing detractors (by fixing interactions likely to anger)?
- How much should you focus on creating promoters (by emphasizing interactions likely to delight)?
- Do certain interactions need to be addressed before others, because they are related to each other? Which interactions will your organization be most ready to tackle and change in response to feedback? Are there organizational, technological, skill-based or other challenges that need to be addressed before real progress can be made?
- Where are the improvement priorities obvious? Where do you need to gather more operational data or customer feedback before you can really understand how to drive improvements?
You will find it valuable to have a formal process for addressing these types of issues as you encounter them, and will also benefit from having all relevant departments take ownership for their roles in improving the customer experience.