The Relationship Dynamic: Mapping Customer Interactions

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Researchers, psychologists, and scientists of all types continually study relationships, but what happens when you start connecting things seemingly unrelated (like diseases) or start mapping customer interactions? Charting the associations among things that are disconnected often reveals a new perspective and a fresh insight that may have never been considered before. So, what if you mapped out the customer experience, testing the response and mood of your customers at every interaction with your brand? What would your map reveal?

Customer journey mapping is the art of studying your customer experience, the relationships among all the touch points within the customer lifecycle, and the ways in which those touch points affect one another. Journey maps (just like this Exploring Data infographic) can be stunning and often expose unknown relationships simply by visualizing the data. These maps show which events are linked by association and offer a framework to explore your customer experience ecosystem in depth. But, the best insight comes from understanding the moments that matter most to customers and the common “genetic” origin and relationships among them.

When companies take this outside-in perspective, they start to recognize key moments that customers care about. These are the relationship-building moments that offer enormous opportunities for companies to ultimately gain a competitive edge and beat their competition through superior customer experiences. But, without studying the entire customer ecosystem, companies never get to read the map that ultimately becomes the roadmap to transform their customer experience.

Here’s a real world example.

A major international shipping company was failing to compete on price, so they wanted to compete on customer experience. But shipments are always vulnerable to weather—something that the company can do nothing to control, yet it severely impacts the customer. So, they mapped the customer journey including the things they couldn’t control (like the weather) and everything in the ecosystem that seemed to remotely touch the customer experience. As a result, business leaders gained an important insight. If customers knew early that a shipment was going be late, they could take action to mitigate the situation. In response, the company built a process to inform customers when things went wrong, and that action alone raised the value proposition as well as the customers’ perception of that delayed shipment and that bad customer experience.

From the weather to the product experience and the contact center experience, the customer ecosystem is everywhere. When executives figure out how to wrap their arms around the entire ecosystem, that’s when they really recognize the improvement opportunities and the extended financial benefits of creating a superior customer experience.