The hope is that when a customer buys a product, he or she will continue doing it well into the future. After all, over the course of a lifetime, a single customer could conceivably wind up spending a significant amount of money with an organization — that is, assuming they continue to have positive experiences.
Customer retention, however, is never guaranteed. This is especially true in today’s ultra-connected marketplace, where customers have easy access to competitors. It often takes hard work on the part of the contact center to keep them coming back and making purchases again and again. Account-related issues like billing need to be dealt with promptly and professionally; Customers need to feel like their feedback is understood; and personalization needs to be used to make them feel appreciated.
Perhaps most importantly, there needs to be a system in place to track customer engagement and manage their needs. Without this structure, customers are bound to get lost in the shuffle — and swooped up by competitors.
The management system I am talking about to is often referred to as customer journey mapping, a process which involves laying out all of the different touchpoints that customers go through when engaging with your company. The customer journey starts the first time the customer interacts with the brand, and continues throughout their whole lifetime.
Customer journey mapping, in other words, is a long-term strategy. There may be breaks in the journey, where a customer explores competitors or stops doing business with you for awhile, but with a sound customer journey map in place you can ensure that whenever they do come back you will have a clear sense of the products they have purchased, passed issues they have had, and their likely current expectations.
Of course, the trick is to foster brand loyalty early on and eliminate these gaps in service. And this can only be done by being diligent about collecting data, taking notes and reviewing them during each and every customer interaction.
Remember that customer service is not magic. It’s all about being an active listener, and applying the insight that you glean from customer interactions. Customers will often tell you, very explicitly, how they feel about your company as well as what they need to keep doing business with your brand.
As you can see, customer journey mapping is no small effort. It’s also much harder in large-scale contact centers, where hundreds or even thousands of agents interact with the same data. In our experience, we have found that customer journey mapping is most effectively done by small teams of agents who can put extra effort into the process and provide the necessary oversight for high quality customer service.