Want to deliver excellent services through your IT service management (ITSM)? Want to start improving your customers’ experience, but have no clue where to start? No worries, because the following five actions will help you to get started. And as with anything related to your customers, it’s often best to start with the customers and their journey(s).
So, this is where my advice in this article will start.
Start with one customer journey to build many
It’s tempting, of course, to start by mapping several customer journeys at once to help understand how your customers experience your services. However, a better route to take is to nail down one customer journey first and dig in. Focusing on quick, measurable results. Perhaps even better is starting with a customer journey that often experiences challenges, is not smooth, but is critical to your customers’ success and overall experience.
In so doing, describe the customer journey as specifically as possible. For example, consider the employee onboarding process as they enter the organization. When evaluating this journey, be sure to focus on any specific issues that occur in the delivery of your service, like the trouble that newly-hired employees might have with signing in to corporate systems.
Address everyone that plays a role in the customer journey
Continuing the onboarding example above, you’ll already appreciate that many different corporate departments play a role in the overall employee onboarding process. The IT department provides a laptop and the appropriate accounts needed for the employee to be able to do their job. While the facilities department prepares a desk and even an access pass for secure areas. The human resources (HR) department handles the employee agreement and personnel administration.
So, when preparing a customer journey, make sure that you involve all the relevant departments and roles. Then your customers’ experience might become a joint responsibility.
Sometimes you aren’t dependent on a corporate department, but on a supplier. This doesn’t have to be an issue, but you should involve such vendors in the creation of your customer journey. And, because they’re further away from customers, they can’t always see their role in how your customers experience the service delivery process.
Decide what type of customer experience you’re aiming for
Here’s a quick “thought experiment.” Assume that a new employee only stays in their role for a month. Then they leave. How would you like them to look back on their employment with your organization (after this one month)? Would you prefer to simply remove their biggest frustrations and score a 7/10 in customer satisfaction? Or should the employee leave raving about how fantastic everything was?
Not every corporate department attaches importance to providing a flawless service. So sometimes scoring a perfect isn’t even a realistic goal. Whereas perhaps a 7 out of 10 is already a great achievement. The point here is that you should not begin mapping a customer journey if you haven’t decided what the desired service level is for your department.
Create a persona
If you want to better understand what your customers want, you need to know who your customers are. This is one of the holy grails of understanding the customer experience.
To do this you need to create a customer persona, a fictional person who serves as a stereotype for your client. To create this persona, you simply need to make this fictional person as three-dimensional and “alive” as possible. Give them a name, a job, ambitions, access rights and functions, and even some personal frustrations faced in their job.
While this might sound like a novelist’s job, creating a lively, colored persona of a customer will help you to answer useful questions about your service delivery. For example, would the persona prefer a ready-to-use solution or would they want to solve problems themselves? Likewise, would they prefer to communicate with the IT service desk team via phone, email, or a self-service portal? By creating and layering details about your customer persona you’re more likely able to anticipate the desires of your customers and to thus set up a seamless service.
Experience what your customers experience
There are many ways of gaining feedback from your customers about their experiences and their journeys. One simple way may be to find customers who match your persona and to ask them for a deep interview. An even better way might be to shadow your customers to gain a real-life perspective of their experience with your customer journey.
No matter what, ask your customers to describe what they expect from their journey. For example, examine how long they expect to wait for services. Attempt to determine if everything they requested is in place or if the outcomes are as they would have expected? Are they satisfied with the communication channels available to them? Are they able to access appropriate information when needed? And are they able to file a complaint when needed?
Understanding the customer journey, through inquiries and questions like these, should go a long way toward providing you with more insight into the personas you’ve created, so you can then improve the customer experience based on data and other insights you collect.