In my book, Driven to Delight: Delivering World-Class Customer Experience the Mercedes-Benz Way, I detail how Mercedes-Benz leaders transformed their customer experience through a clearly defined set of strategic objectives. One of their focus areas was exploration and improvement of customer interactions; particularly, at high-value touchpoints.
As a consultant who worked on Mercedes-Benz customer experience transformation, I shared the following in Driven to Delight:
“In the mid-1980s, G. Lynn Shostack, then a senior vice president in charge of the Private Clients Group at Bankers Trust Company, was among the first to champion the concept of touchpoint assessment. In a 1984 article in the Harvard Business Review titled “Designing Services that Deliver,” Lynn referred to the mapping process as a service blueprint in which processes, fail points, time frames, and profitability are all outlined on a single document. In Lynn’s argument for the importance of dedicating time and resources to “blueprint” the customer journey, Lynn noted that such a process “helps cut down the time and inefficiency of random service development and gives a higher-level view of service management prerogatives. The alternative—leaving services to individual talent and managing the pieces rather than the whole—makes a company more vulnerable and creates a service that reacts slowly to market needs and opportunities.” Journey blueprints have gained considerable traction since Lynn’s writing because most companies (probably yours included) typically aspire to offer well-designed and seamless customer journeys while quickly adapting in accord with their customers’ changing wants, needs, and desires.
Since the mid-1980’s these customer experience blueprints have evolved to typically include:
- A systematic view of actions a customer takes as they move through their brand experience,
- The goals and needs experienced by customers throughout their journey,
- Identification of the high-value touchpoints (often referred to as moments-of-truth) where customers place great importance,
- The gaps, pain points, or service challenges faced by the customer,
- The level of customer satisfaction, as well as the emotions customers experience,
- The processes, departments, and systems of the business that interface with customers at each touchpoint, and
- Identification of opportunities to enhance the current customer journey.”
Specifically, at Mercedes-Benz, the customer experience team mapped various customer journeys. For example, the team took the perspective of a buyer who sought to lease their first Mercedes-Benz automobile and mapped that journey from product consideration through post-purchase aftercare. In the pre-sale portion of the journey, the mapping team explored an approximately six-month period in the customer’s life cycle addressing the question, “What car should I buy?” Team members and participants from departments like marketing then populated the map with discreet customer stages involved in answering that question. These stages included an initial period where the customer researched automobile and brand options. Customers then generated a list of viable considerations. Those customers narrowed that list and ultimately decided on the car that they wished to buy. The mapping process uncovered many touchpoints as customers moved from brand awareness to product choice during the pre-sale phase.
Similarly, these mappers outlined purchase and post-purchase contact points, identified moments of truth, located where the customers experienced pain, and reviewed all business processes and departments responsible for addressing customer needs at each contact point. Mercedes-Benz leaders widely circulated various customer journey maps and had cross-functional teams identify scalable solutions that removed pain and enhanced customer delight.
Given Mercedes-Benz approach to customer journey mapping, here are this week’s challenge questions for your consideration:
- Do you have a systematic view of your customers’ actions as they move through their journey with your brand?
- Have you identified gaps, pain points, and service challenges faced by your customers?
- How have your shared your systematic view of the customer journey and encouraged cross-functional teams to remove pain and enhance customer delight?