Follow the Customer’s Sentimental Journey

By: Lisa Sigler

February 18, 2015

Customer Feedback

The Temkin Group recently released a new Insight Report titled, “The Future of Customer Experience Insights: Five Trends That Will Redefine the Role and Value of Customer Feedback and Insights.”  The trends outlined in the report give organizations a roadmap to follow to get the most value out of their Voice of the Customer programs.  We’ve already looked at the first two trends: Empathy vs. Metrics, and Continuous Insights.

Trend #3: Customer Journeys, Not Isolated Incidents 

How do you feel at the beginning of a journey to a place you love? Nearly everyone can relate to that excitement and nostalgia. That’s probably why artists from Ringo Starr to Emmy Rossum have done covers of Doris Day’s 1945 hit “Sentimental Journey,” about a long-awaited train ride home.

Your customers, too, are on a sentimental journey as they interact with your brand. Each time they research your offerings, look at your website, see your ads, walk into your stores, talk to your support agents, or use your products, they are creating lasting memories colored by positive or negative emotions. They then express this emotion to you through channels including emails, twitter posts, comment cards, reviews, and calls to your support staff. This is a valuable source of customer information; once you’ve captured their feedback, you can use sentiment analysis to understand it and make improvements that prove you value your customers’ feelings. Each of these interactions creates part of the context that will frame how customers feel about you.

It is common for organizations to focus their customer experience management efforts on finding solutions to specific problems, or concentrating only on complaint resolution. This approach ignores the rest of the context and doesn’t provide insight on how to improve every part of the customer’s journey.

The recent Temkin Group Insight Report cautions against this, highlighting ways that organizations should instead gather feedback and take action all along the customer journey to ensure that every interaction leaves customers with pleasant memories.

Assess the journey for common interactions. Understand when, and why, customers reach out to you for reasons that are not related to problems. These interactions don’t require you to solve an issue, but you may be able to make them more pleasant, memorable experiences.

Uncover critical emotional moments. Figure out which customer experiences have the biggest impact on customer loyalty. If you find out that your slow website causes minor aggravation but your rude customer service agents cause customers to churn, you’ll know how to prioritize your corrective actions.

Discuss insights across company silos. Customers typically don’t care about your internal org chart. To them, you are one company, and they expect that each experience they have with your company will be consistent.  Remember, each interaction is part of the overall context and speeds them along their journey – either to loyalty or to dissatisfaction.

Create customer-focused success measures.  Ensuring a good customer experience is everyone’s responsibility, and instituting feedback goals is one way to make sure the customer’s voice is heard throughout the organization.

Close the loop with customers, employees, and partners.  Involve everyone in your efforts to improve the customer journey – ask customers what they want through surveys, inform them of your efforts through blogs, newsletters, or twitter posts, and make sure that you respond when they have issues. Partners and employees, too, need to be aware that you are making the entire customer journey a priority, so that they can contribute their enthusiasm and their good ideas.

If you remember that customer experience includes the entire customer journey and act accordingly, you can ensure that your customers think of you fondly and look forward to getting back to you again.

Gonna take a sentimental journey
Gonna set my heart at ease
Gonna make a sentimental journey
To renew old memories.