If a customer buys a product, this is the result of a long journey that the customer has already taken. Despite all your efforts to make this trip as enjoyable as possible, a small negative experience along the way can make you lose the customer. Mark Bednarski, VP of Product at iGrafx, explains how Customer Journey Maps can help us understand customer preferences and behavior, and how BPM can help.
A Customer Journey Map is a visual and easy-to-understand account of a customer’s interaction with a business or website. It helps to illustrate where the customer has or should have points of contact with the company and whether these points trigger a positive or negative customer reaction, all with the goal of improving the interactions to deliver an optimal customer experience. Very simply, businesses should develop an understanding of their customer’s preferences and behavior, and then align the business activities to it. What has been completely normal for B2B interactions for years, namely to map the points of contact within the framework of an overall process, now also finds its way into very individual processes that only affect the end customer. As a software vendor, it’s important to represent both equally, and to make the cohesive capabilities simple and understandable. Typically, journeys are less standardized than processes, and provide for more flexibility and behavioral considerations.
Of course, a journey can not only be illustrated for customers, but also for employees, products, partners, suppliers and much more. Our customers can define their own types of journeys, for which they would like to capture the characteristics of the customer interaction.
The customer does not really care about the company’s processes, and the company’s employees often see only the processes that affect them, not how they affect an outsider, such as the customer. Even process optimizers tend to focus only on internal processes. In short, the customer’s view and business processes can be very far apart. However, which business processes contribute to the success of the journey from the customer’s perspective is something that can be learned. Ideally, the process can be adjusted to positively impact the journey.
With the help of business process management, it is possible to model a customer journey as well as the systems, processes and risks required to strengthen customer focus and optimize the customer experience, rather than just internal processes. Companies that put their customers at the center must therefore also adapt their central business processes – and the customer benefit should always be the focus of the business processes.
Business Process Management holds the strings together, so to speak. It matches the customer journey with the individual processes and integrates them into the process landscape. In other words, every single customer interaction is linked to the underlying processes. This provides an overview of the impact of a process change on the customer journey, as well as what needs to be changed to improve the journey.
A BPM tool provides an overview of systems, resources, risks, controls, and requirements, and helps to customize the journey and its processes. Modern BPM software should not focus solely on the inside of the company, but rather on ultimately improving the customer experience.