October 31, 2014

Don’t lead your client away from the journey he has chosen

Valtter Rajakannas

Lead Architect, Tieto

There is a lot of work left to be done to ensure that the services, processes, and applications you have blend in smoothly with your customer’s journey. It is all about customer experience management (CEM).

One day, I decided to buy a new shirt. Before making the decision of which shirt to buy, I familiarized myself with the store’s offerings, both online and mobile. I first searched online store for a suitable product and then visited the manufacturer’s homepage. Once I was done, it was time to visit the actual brick-and-mortar store to try on the shirt and look for more suitable accessories.

But, after entering the shop, did I easily find the product I was searching for, pay, and walk away smiling? Well, that’s not exactly how it went.

I wandered around the shop for the shirt first by myself and then with a sales representative. In the end, we discovered that the product had sold out over two days ago.

A bit annoyed, I decided to order the shirt to be fitted. One week later I returned, tried on, and made my purchasing decision to buy that shirt.  At the sales desk, however, I had a final debate with the sales representative because the original price advertised on the online shop was less expensive than the price in the shop.

The sales representative didn’t agree to give a discount, but luckily as a regular customer, I received a ten percent discount that would not have been possible on the online shop.

As I was entering my credit card PIN I wondered if I made a sensible purchase.

This anecdote shows just how fragile a customer’s journey can be. There is always room for very unpleasant customer experiences.

The most important factors in the customer’s experience are those associated with product information, availability, and customer service.

For example:

  • Product prices and selections should be same in the online shop as they are in the brick-and-mortar.
  • Store stocks should be kept up to date.
  • The customer’s shopping experience should flow seamlessly from the mobile to the brick-and-mortar so that the personal customer service could be enabled most effectively.

The flow of multi-channel solutions is usually a complicated matter. When taking a closer look at the customer journey, we encounter the organization’s older structures and older services, along with processes and applications that are currently in use. We are often faced with a bundle of overlapping functions, operating within their own silos.

The problem cannot be solved only by setting up or changing an online store platform, but by having a more comprehensive approach. The main focus should be on the needs of the business - not on the specific requirements of the systems or processes.

We need a multi-channel solution that supports both mobile and browser endpoint presences and can be extended with market automation and analysis services. The solution should act to help outline the customer experience. It should also leave a room for the planning, implementation, and management of any technical solutions so that they can be delivered in the most agile and effective way.

At Tieto, Valtter designs multi-channel solutions from a business activity standpoint without neglecting processes and systems. You can follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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