On Wednesday FedEx reported that its quarterly profit had declined 31%. While this was certainly a noteworthy and cautionary headline by itself, what struck me was The Wall Street Journal article titled “FedEx Customers Like Slower and Cheaper” published yesterday. What IS NOT surprising is that their customers are seeking services at a lower cost. We subscribe to the theory that services in many industries are well on their way to the same commoditization issues that traditional manufacturing industries have suffered through over the past several decades (competing solely on the basis of price).
What IS surprising is that their customers are willing to accept “slower” services. A recent benchmark survey conducted by The Service Council indicated the top 3 pressures facing service organizations were all customer expectation oriented:
1) Customer Demand for Improved Asset Availability/Issue Resolution
2) Customer Demand for Quicker Response Time
3) Customer Demand for More Accurate Service Call Scheduling
The takeaway I took from this headline: customers and their interactions with you are living and breathing organisms, like a cell. Mapping your customer’s journeys step-by-step is an extremely important mechanism in identifying touch points (on stage and back stage) and the areas for potential improvement.
Who is touching your customer (direct vs. indirect)?
What is the overall experience of the touch point (good, bad, indifferent)?
When in the customer journey is the touch point occurring?
Where is the customer experiencing the touch point (face-to-face, web, etc.)?
Why is the touch point taking place (technical, education, etc.)?
How do yours customers prefer to interact with you (phone, email, social, etc.)?
Every touch point in the customer journey is a conversion point. The positive or negative nature of that touch point determines the rate of success on the conversion. According to a study conducted on behalf of American Express, which featured over 3,000 responses, 87% of respondents indicated they were willing to spend more with a company they believe provides excellent customer service. Whereas, 71% of the same set of respondents conducting a business transaction or making a purchase decided not to based on a poor experience.
With the changing market dynamics comes the change in your customer’s expectations and their journey; which makes mapping the customer journey a continuous process. Whether your industry is dispatch-centric or not, asset-centric or service-centric, B2C or B2B, best in class service organizations have looked at customer journey mapping as the key to establishing a tighter connection with its customers. Are you connecting with your world (customers)?