There are generally significant differences between the self-perception of a company and the image of it among its customers. Customer journey mapping is a method of analysing these gaps and systematically closing them.
The fourth Customer Experience Management Africa Summit was held in Cape Town in July 2015. At the event, which always attracts plenty of visitors, experts in customer experience management (CEM) come together with sales and marketing staff primarily from small and medium-sized companies. This year, the focus of the talks and workshops lay on optimising existing CEM projects in order to further improve customer acquisition and loyalty. As part of the event, Oracle also offered two workshops that were both fully booked.
Stops in a customer journey
CEM deals with controlling all the interactions a company has with its customers. The topic has increased significantly in importance over recent years in particular and continues to also present many small and medium-sized companies with challenges. Placing the customer at the centre of all processes is essential today in order to exist on the market. Negative customer experiences spread like wildfire and can cause immense damage to a company’s image. It is therefore necessary to occasionally ‘put oneself in the customer’s shoes’ and perceive their experience in order to analyse any reality gaps between the experiences of the customer and the self-perception of the company, and to derive the right conclusions and measures from this.
Customer journey mapping is an insightful tool here. It highlights the various steps that a customer passes through when interacting with the company in order to uncover weaknesses. Particularly in the age of the Internet, in which many interactions take place online and there is no direct feedback over the phone or through personal contact, companies must pay even more attention to ensuring the customer has a positive experience. The aim is to produce an emotional connection to the company – the customer should feel well looked-after by the company, trust it and, ideally, become a fan.
Oracle workshops for companies
In this connection, Oracle has already been offering two kinds of interactive workshop for some time now. In one version, following a brief introduction to the method, customers from various companies work on a customer journey map using a predefined real-life example. The results are then discussed and possible changes and improvements to processes are highlighted. This workshop serves as an introduction to the method and an opportunity to become familiar with it.
The second workshop version involves just two participants, namely the team from Oracle and a company, which is ideally represented by representatives from various departments (e.g. sales, HR, customer service, hotline and finance). Step by step, they work on a specific customer journey map using their own interaction processes. One after another, the representatives from the individual departments take on the role of their customer and describe their experiences at the respective touchpoints within the process. In the subsequent evaluation, together with Oracle, the problems and weaknesses identified are discussed and the opportunities are offered by making adaptations to the interaction process. At the end, the specific improvement measures for the customer experience are then planned. This workshop can and should be repeated at regular intervals in order to document progress and optimise the CEM.
In addition to this, it is helpful to have software that maps the processes with which the customer comes into contact so that the processes can be incorporated more easily into the CEM. In this regard, Oracle offers a whole range of cloud solutions for the customer experience. The Oracle Customer Experience Cloud for Midsize, specially developed for small and medium-sized companies, is a brand new addition to the range. Such flexible solutions are ideal for companies that want to further develop dynamically as the platform can grow alongside the needs of the company. The Oracle solution assists the areas of marketing, sales, service, social and commerce. (rf)